Belgian research supports emergency services with 5G-technology. 

Antwerp, 24 May 2019 –  The advent of 5G unleashes a revolution in multiple industries, such as the security and emergency services. That is one of the conclusions of 5GUARDS, a two-year research project on the opportunities of ‘5G network slicing’. The Belgian research team, a multidisciplinary group of universities, technology companies and network providers, is presenting its results today.

The need for a performant and stabile communication network is continuously growing: the ever-increasing number of Internet-of-Things projects in industrial sectors, self-driving cars, etcetera. But in contrast to 3G and 4G, the relevant scopes of application for 5G are researched prior to rolling out the new technology.

Imec, Accelleran, Ericsson, Orange, Rombit, KU Leuven, VUB, Universiteit Antwerpen and UGent are partnering in a two-year research project on the possible applications of 5G technology. The project not only reveals the technical possibilities of 5G but equally its impact on the security and emergency services industry.

Network overload

When large calamities, such as terrorist attacks or natural disasters, occur, the current 4G network is easily overloaded by the sudden peak in smartphone use. This complicates the operations of emergency services as they are dependant on that same 4G network for communication. 5G solves this problem.

5G network slicing

Olivier Lelièvre, project leader of 5GUARDS explains: “5G, the long awaited successor of 4G, allows splitting up the network in several layers. This technical concept is calles ‘5G network slicing’. Emergency services can switch to an additional layer when the network is getting close to an overload. Consider it to be an virtual emergency lane: if all traffic is stuck, emergency services can still communicate via an extra ‘network slice’ that is being freed up at that particular moment. They get a priority treatment if you will.”

Livestream camera images

Matthieu De Block, Captain of the Fire Brigade Zone Antwerpen confirms the importance of a reliable network for emergency services. “Efficient communication and coordination are essential for successful interventions. A livestream of video images can’t falter at the moment it matters most. We are convinced that 5G will have a very positive impact on our entire operations.”

About 5GUARDS 

The imec.icon research project, supported by VLAIO and Innoviris, creates a consortium of scientific and industrial partners to develop a digital solution based upon a specific need for innovation. Partners within the 5GUARDS project are imec, Accelleran, Ericsson, Orange, Rombit, KU Leuven,VUB, Universiteit Antwerpen and UGent.