Thanks to 5G: Remote surgeries, classrooms in every village all on the way

How many times have you enjoyed a live music concert at two places but stitched into one by the use of technology? Never, right? 

Yet, one such technological surprise was on display at the India Mobile Congress, which showcased a global push on fifth-generation (5G) technology, besides the usual telecom galore.

Siddharth Mahadevan, son of renowned singer and music composer Shankar Mahadevan, performed live at the event’s main hall, after the opening ceremony. The guitarist and keyboard artists gave him company from the exhibition hall but, to the audience, it looked like one performance. All thanks to 5G.

As far as what the technology can accomplish, this is the tip of the iceberg. From remote surgeries to smart city management to virtual classrooms, all this and much more was on display at the third edition of thee Congress.

A live demonstration of the functioning of a digitally-controlled smart city quite literally transports you to that very model. Qognos, a Bengaluru-based start-up, came equipped with its demonstration that takes you to a particular (showcase) smart city and how routine functions such as lifting of garbage, de-clogging of road arteries to make way for smooth traffic and surveillance are managed.

The 5G demo also virtually transports you to a spot in that city where an accident has taken place and how with the press of a button an ambulance is called, which arrives in almost no time and the victims taken to the nearest trauma centre. One witnesses this with 5G virtual reality glasses. Don a pair and if in a virtual school, it feels like being in a classroom full of students and being taught by someone who could be in the next room or the next continent.

The technology gives a 360-degree view of the interactive classroom, where one can communicate with the teacher and the classmates, all in real time. The experience is no different from sitting in your conventional classroom and attending a lecture — but, with the help of the virtual camera.

The concept of a virtual classroom is one of the most fascinating ones, throwing open endless possibilities in a country where taking education to the hinterland is herculean. Finnish company Nokia was among a clutch of companies that displayed the virtual classroom at the IMC. According to a company executive,  these products can become game changers in education.

“A student from the remotest part of India can be schooled by the best teachers and professors and within his village. It may take time but it can happen,” he said.

If a virtual classroom can change the way schools function,  drones can change the way we farm. A drone can monitor a farm, detect any threat to the crop from animals, birds or any other attack, and establish the progress of the produce, giving the minutest of details.

Health care is another area with great 5G potential. At the meet, companies displayed the use of technology for conducting surgery with robots. Once 5G is in full bloom, robots can manage to execute this cumbersome clinical procedure with the ease and precision of an experienced surgeon. A breakthrough in the world of rural health care, where a robot can be installed and made to perform a surgery, with the surgeon giving the needed instructions from elsewhere. 

A virtual exhibit of this, with a virtual patient (regulations do not allow experiments on human bodies) was at the IMC and could be tried by visitors. Whether or not you are so technologically inclined, 5G and its immense potential has the capability to suck you into its virtual world, which could become a reality sooner than later.

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