Japan-based NEC supported field trials of remote medical examinations using 5G network technology, which enabled real-time communication and sharing of images taken by a 4K close-up camera, HD echocardiographic video and MRI images.

The images were transmitted using a 4K video conference system between Wakayama Medical University and Hidakagawa Kokuho Kawakami Clinic, around 30km from the university.

NEC set up a base station system using the 28GHz band as part of a 5G demo conducted by NTT Docomo with support from the Wakayama Prefecture government and the university.

Wakayama Prefecture is a mountainous, sparsely populated region, with limited access to advanced medical facilities. In addition, the medical offices located there are often understaffed and doctors are frequently required to see patients who are outside of their expertise, NEC said in a statement.

Jun Mashino, senior research engineer for 5G radio access at Docomo, said: “The trials showed us 5G can play a role in solving social issues, such as reducing regional disparities in the delivery of healthcare. We plan to create new business models and value by continuing to take advantage of 5G technologies in collaboration with ICT vendors, and a wide variety of companies and organisations in the near future.”

NEC used a massive-element Active Antenna System (AAS) with a fully digital control system to enable simultaneous beamforming in multiple directions from a single massive-element AAS unit. The vendor said this efficiently implements high-speed and high-capacity communication without interfering with adjacent users through spatial multiplexing.