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Previous Columns

June 29, 2021
Nvidia’s Aerial Brings GPUs to AI on 5G

June 23, 2021
Samsung Networks, Intel And Ericsson Driving 5G Network Transformation Efforts

June 17, 2021
IoT for 5G Could Be Next Opportunity

May 19, 2021
Qualcomm Extends 5G Efforts With New Modems

May 10, 2021
Amazon’s Sidewalk Unmasks Hidden Value of Mesh Networks

April 6, 2021
Intel Strengthens 5G Network Infrastructure Offerings

March 31, 2021
Arm Lays Out Vision for Next Decade of Chips

March 18, 2021
Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T Lay Out Vision for Future of 5G in US

March 4, 2021
Qualcomm Highlights Mobile Audio with Snapdragon Sound

February 23, 2021
New T-Mobile Plan Highlights the 5G Service to Come

February 11, 2021
Latest Modems from Qualcomm and MediaTek Highlight 5G Progress

January 27, 2021
C-Band Auction Points to Dramatic Shift in 5G

January 21, 2021
GeForce Now Alliance Growth Shows Opportunity for 5G Gaming

January 21, 2021
Economic Analysis of mmWave 5G Highlights Potential Benefits

January 14, 2021
Latest Samsung Phones Highlight Evolution of 5G

January 12, 2021
5G Makes Waves at CES 2021

2020 Forbes Columns

2019 Forbes Columns

















Forbes Columns
TECHnalysis Research president Bob O'Donnell writes a regular column in Forbes and those columns are posted here and archived on this site.


July 14, 2021
Samsung Working with US Military on 5G AR Testing

By Bob O'Donnell

As compelling a technology as 5G has promised to be, the unfortunate truth is that we have yet to see a lot of applications that take advantage of it. Sure, there are a few interesting apps in sports arenas that promise to leverage the faster connection speeds, but we’ve witnessed little of the more revolutionary usages we were led to believe the technology would enable.

Thankfully, the situation seems to be changing, and fairly quickly. Last week, T-Mobile made an announcement along with autonomous vehicle startup Halo about a 5G-powered car service in Las Vegas that delivers a car to your location and lets you simply walk away from it after you drive to your destination.

This week Samsung, both the Networks division and its Electronics group, along with defense contractor GBL Systems, announced the initial deployment of a new 5G-powered test bed for augmented reality (AR) applications. Part of a larger $600 million-dollar 5G testing-focused initiative that the Department of Defense announced in October of 2020, this testbed is one of the US military’s numerous efforts to leverage advanced connectivity technologies to improve its training efforts and operational effectiveness.

In particular, Samsung Networks and GBL Systems are helping the Army to create a private 5G network that uses both millimeter wave and mid-band spectrum to power 5G-connected devices that are connected to AR headsets. The headsets provide visual overlays of critical information such as virtual obstacles, instrument readings, and more that are essential for simulated combat scenarios. Though the Samsung and GBL news didn’t specifically mention other technology partners, a recent announcement from Microsoft about how the US Army is using a modified version of its HoloLens for a program they call Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) suggests they could be part of the effort as well.

On the network side, Samsung is providing all the pieces necessary for the testing, including Massive MIMO radios and cloud-native 5G Standalone core hardware. Samsung is also providing 5G-capable Galaxy mobile devices that are likely to serve as the connectivity point for the headsets. Amongst other things, GBL Systems is expected to provide the technology integration tools necessary to make all the various components and technologies work together.

The initial tests will be done in an indoor environment and will later expand to outdoor environments in order to more realistically simulate real-world scenarios. The companies plan to test the various frequency spectra in order to quantify their effectiveness in different physical environments, different area sizes, and with different numbers of participants.

What’s interesting about the applications is that it highlights some of the benefits that 5G promised, including low latency—particularly for 5G SA (standalone) deployments—as well as throughput, simultaneous data streams, security, privacy, and more. In addition, it’s a very interesting example of the power that the combination of 5G, AR, and edge computing can offer. Being able to provide soldiers with real-time situational information in context will undoubtedly be a huge improvement over any existing training applications and will help lead to safer, more effective missions. In fact, it’s yet another example of how the real benefits of 5G can only truly be achieved in conjunction with other technologies.

For people in other industries who are interested in more compelling training tools that can be used in mobile applications or other real-world environments, these test examples hint at the kinds of capabilities that could soon be mainstream. It likely won’t be long, for example, before 5G-equipped AR headsets become commercially available, making these types of solutions accessible to a much wider range of customers at a significantly lower cost.

There is little doubt that 5G can have a transformational impact on a broad array of industries and applications, so it’s great to see some of the potential applications that we’ve been promised for years finally start to come to life.

Disclosure: TECHnalysis Research is a tech industry market research and consulting firm and, like all companies in that field, works with many technology vendors as clients, some of whom may be listed in this article.

Here’s a link to the original column: https://www.forbes.com/sites/bobodonnell/2021/07/14/samsung-working-with-us-military-on-5g-ar-testing/

Forbes columnist Bob O'Donnell is the president and chief analyst of TECHnalysis Research, a market research and consulting firm that provides strategic consulting and market research services to the technology industry and professional financial community.