Imagining the Art of the Possible with 5G

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Presented by Verizon

For those cities yet to embrace 5G, what can they expect and how can they prepare? In a recent interview, Verizon Wireless Managing Partner of Federal Government and Public Safety Bryan Schromsky offered some recommendations.

Fifth-generation wireless technology has the potential to revolutionize how cities and states provide services to their constituents. For example, 5G technologies can help keep firefighters safe during a fire or augment the speed at which citizens can renew or apply for permits. The benefits of 5G are immense, but agencies are only scratching the surface of what’s possible.

“We’re just getting out of the starting blocks in terms of 5G,” said Bryan Schromsky, managing partner of federal government and public safety for Verizon Wireless told GovExec Senior Vice President of Programs Anna Pettyjohn during an interview at the Route Fifty Tech Summit. During the session, titled Why 5G Matters to Public Safety Agencies, Schromsky and Pettyjohn chatted about what state and local agencies can expect from 5G and what they can do to prepare. Here are a few takeaways from their discussion.

1. 5G Offers Enhanced Capacity for State and Local Agencies

5G wireless relies upon several important factors. Of which small cell radio access nodes and baseband unit pools play a critical part. Both segments of the network work together to allocate resources to wherever the greatest number of devices and greatest network requirements are. By definition, this means 5G networks will sport greater capacity than previous iterations of the network. But what does greater capacity mean for cities?

Simply put, it enables more devices to connect to the network.

Take Singapore, for example. The Asian city-state deploys thousands of 5G-connected sensors to collect real-time information on air quality, traffic, urban density and pedestrian movement patterns to create a highly intelligent model.

Built using edge compute technologies, this model is referred to as Singapore’s “virtual twin.”  City planners, elected officials and public safety leaders can all leverage the platform to plan for development, test safety procedures and ultimately make the city more accessible. 

“[When] we talk about 5G, it’s not just [about] the network,” said Schromsky. “But you’ll see a lot more integration when it comes to things like cloud computing or edge computing, which is a hallmark of 5G technology.”

2. State and Local Governments Can Look to 5G for Improved Connectivity

While state and local agencies have long relied on 4G for their broadband needs, it is becoming increasingly clear that today’s communities need more resilient and reliable networks, Schromsky said. After all, 5G UWB networks are up to 100x faster than 4G with 10X lower latency.

“We’re going to see a huge drop in latency,” said Schromsky. “One of the cool things that we’re looking at [regarding] 5G is not only providing a traditional mobile aspect in terms of mobile devices . . . but also looking at what we call fixed wireless access, where we’re using 5G technology to provide last-mile connectivity.” 

For public safety agencies, last-mile connectivity and lower latency can enable rapid data sharing between devices on 5G networks. In the public safety realm, these capabilities can help save lives: first responders rely on reliable networks to share information and updates in the face of an emergency.

“[With 5G] we can do a lot more in terms of video analytics and pushing information out to the edge,” said Schromsky. “Agencies can get more data today, and more importantly, start streaming some of that video back to those particular departments, so they can ingest that information and actually make critical decisions in real-time.”

3. Custom-Built Solutions Can Enhance 5G Security

In 2021, state and local governments were a popular target for malicious actors, with attacks aiming to significantly impede the ability of public safety agencies to deliver on their mission of protecting the general public.

For instance, the Washington D.C. metropolitan police department was the victim of an attack by malicious cybercriminals, who threatened to leak information on confidential informants.

To protect against future security threats, agencies and industry will need to work together. Verizon is doing its part, dutifully working around the clock to create secure solutions matching current public sector use cases.

Verizon’s 5G network takes a multidisciplinary approach to security. At the hardware and software level, devices run on hardened key infrastructures. At the administrator level, meanwhile, access management tools help managers verify and vet users against potential threat actors.

4. Unlock the Art of the Possible with 5G

Despite the buzz surrounding 5G, the technology is still in its infancy.

“I think one of the things that people have to do is sit back a little bit on 5G,” Schromsky stated. “It’s very exciting. Everybody wants to dive right in, but [you] wouldn’t want to dive in with [your] eyes closed, right?”

To prepare for 5G, Schromsky recommends a “crawl, walk, run” approach. State and local agencies should look at current 5G use cases and determine how 5G might benefit their own communities.

For example, at the Department of Defense, key stakeholders devised the “DOD 5G Strategy Implementation Plan,” outlining the benefits, risks and methods by which they plan to test and deploy 5G within their organization.

“When we look at 5G technology, it’s not just looking at the cellular aspect,” said Schromsky. “It’s [about] looking at the applications that you have today and what applications you want to enable in the future.”

Uncover how Verizon can help your agency unlock the art of the possible with 5G

This content is made possible by our sponsor. The editorial staff was not involved in its preparation.

NEXT STORY: Harnessing Data and Technology for a Future-Facing Workforce

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