Shaping society: Advanced connectivity for now and tomorrow
Connectivity is an integral part of modern daily life. Since the release of the World Wide Web (WWW) in 1991 (the internet’s official birthday is generally considered to be January 1983) digital connectivity has seen a staggering increase in global speed, leaving an almost unrecognisable landscape in its wake.
Between 1991 and 2022 the world witnessed changes from 14kbit/s (0.0145Mbps) to 100mbit/s (12.5MBps) across worldwide average, and global speed trends are still growing. It is estimated by up to 20% per year.
In 2024, this has left some consumers asking, ‘why do I need more?’, ‘what is the point of super advanced connectivity?’. This may well be true. It presents valid questions to consider when the recommended speed for streaming TV is 1.5Mbps for regular streaming, or 5-8Mbps for HD video.
So, with less of us facing the buffering wheel as we watch our favourite programmes, what are the wider implications and uses of high-speed ultra-low latency connectivity, and why should we care?
The answers are far reaching and surprising. The power of these use cases poses an exciting ability to transform societies; fuelling economies and driving progress.
The Digital Connectivity Forum had the opportunity to visit BT’s research and development centre at Adastral Park earlier this month as part of the work on an upcoming project focusing on FTTP take up and use cases for 5G standalone and FTTP. As part of this we were guided through their technology showcase rooms. These covered areas such as:
- and Smart World and Cities
These showed the real-life benefits of high-speed ultra-low latency connectivity. But what are some examples?
Aside from the obvious benefits of greater levels of homeworking having wide reaching effects, ranging from increased access to quality talent for companies, greater work/life balance for employees and decreased commuting emissions. Advanced connectivity presents further opportunities for technology in the home.
These could range from home monitoring for patients using connected medical devices, connected home technology that allows for greater remote control of the home, or helping to safeguard elderly or vulnerable users via integrated AI home systems. Allowing them to retain independence whilst providing peace of mind to their loved ones.
Advanced Connectivity has already proven itself as a powerful tool for the equitable availability of quality healthcare access. In addition to this, connected devices and sensors make it possible to monitor patients at home in real time. This critical information could be transformative in treating those with chronic illnesses. Improving both quality of treatment and resource efficiency.
Digitisation and improved effectiveness to the flow of data will also be instrumental in improving resource use and maximising efficiency.
Smart cities run on data, and this can be facilitated with high powered, fast connectivity. The benefits of this could result in the improvement of quality of life and delivery of services for its residents.
When devices connect, they serve as both a user and a provider of critical information. This could be used to monitor elements such as footfall (how busy is somewhere right now, helping people make informed travel choices), parking availability (live updates minimising wasted journeys and providing critical information on whether current infrastructure is suitable to support city needs) and traffic levels and flow (this could build information regarding congestion, emissions, and air quality).
The DCF’s upcoming report: Advanced Connectivity take-up and use cases
The Digital Connectivity Forum’s report will investigate take up levels of FTTP, as well as 5G standalone and FTTP’s use in a flourishing, future thinking society. The project will feature analysis of FTTP deployment, including key barriers and drivers of adoption, as well as the consideration of potential policy interventions.
In addition to this it will look at 5G Standalone and FTTP use cases, conducting an overview of a small select number of use cases to demonstrate how 5GSA and FTTP connectivity could be utilised in specific sectors of the economy, including manufacturing and agriculture.
The report will launch in March this year and form part of the DCF’s exciting plan of 2024 activity.