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5G in Ports will Protect the Environment and Foster Efficiency

It seems as if every self-respecting member of the online community has an opinion on 5G as a benchmark of progress or, on the contrary, a mythical threat. It is unlikely that this vociferous debate will be resolved any time soon, but in the meantime trials are currently being conducted in the world’s ports, including the Port of Riga, which will enable this technology to be used for very specific solutions that facilitate environmental protection and are thus vital to human health and safety, as well as the efficiency of port operations. This, in turn, is the basis for competitiveness and the higher economic welfare of society.

It is worth reiterating that 5G is currently the latest generation of mobile communications solutions, which will provide a wireless internet experience equivalent to optical internet. 5G entails more than just ten times faster mobile internet. It will be able to serve the rapidly growing number of Internet of Things sensors, making it possible for up to one hundred times more connections to operate simultaneously in one place than was possible with previous mobile communications generations. In developing 5G technology, the stability and security of data transmission has also been improved so that mobile internet can be more widely used in industries, where the continual operation of service is of decisive importance.

One of the biggest projects in the world right now is taking place in the Port of Hamburg, where in collaboration with Nokia and Deutsche Telecom, several scenarios are being tested in regard to how to use the new capabilities of 5G technology. The Hamburg project is significant in that the tests are taking place in a real, complex and changing environment, as opposed to under laboratory conditions. Every day, over 10,000 heavy goods vehicles arrive at Germany’s biggest port. Almost 2,000 employees work there and 9 million containers "pass" through the port annually.

At the Port of Hamburg, 5G technology regulates traffic light signals in order to ensure continual and safe movement of transport. Hamburg’s team of engineers now has the opportunity to use augmented and virtual reality tools to obtain clear and precise information – using so-called digital twin solutions that make it possible to avoid errors in project development or in making improvements – this information transmission capacity is solely provided by 5G mobile infrastructure. Specialists can also connect remotely to solve technical problems, using virtual reality glasses and video streaming. Environmental sensors fastened to ships measure the level of carbon dioxide emissions, while other sensors monitor the lighthouse, the technical condition of lighthouses and buoys and information about the need for maintenance. By 2025, the Port of Hamburg plans to use more than 100,000 mutually connected Internet of Things sensors. This would not be possible using a fixed network. 5G Internet of Things hardware makes it possible to support the operation of tens of thousands of devices, to ensure their battery life for over 10 years and transmit and analyse the resultant data efficiently.

At the Port of Riga in Latvia, work is also being conducted on 5G solution tests. One of the first is a project implemented in collaboration with LMT - a drone with artificial intelligence to determine pollution. The project uses a nascent drone traffic management platform being developed by LMT and Lufthansa Systems.

With their relatively compact territory but simultaneously complex infrastructure and intensive logistics, in all probability, ports will be one of the first sectors in which solutions based on 5G will be developed. Together with its partner LMT, Riga also has the ambitious goal of maintaining a position among the leaders in this field.