LIVE FROM MWC21 BARCELONA: Verizon executives Hans Vestberg and Rima Qureshi (pictured) focused on the transformational potential of 5G, explaining the technology goes beyond simply delivering headline-grabbing demonstrations by pushing innovations which could improve, and even save, lives.

Chief strategy officer Qureshi highlighted the role of 5G in robots and drones, which she noted were just two examples of use cases for the technology Verizon is currently focusing on.

Drones, for example, had already improved safety during natural disasters, enabling a “single operator and a drone equipped with specialised sensors” to “gather crucial information not seen by the human eye and offer lifesaving insights to first responders”.

In 2020, a remote pilot operated a drone in a wildfire in the US State of Washington, with the device transmitting data to a command centre 1,600 miles away on Verizon’s 4G network.

“With 5G connected to the drone’s camera we can do so much more, like stream 360-degree video that allows recipients to simultaneously focus on different aspects depicted in the feed”, Qureshi explained.

The next-generation technology is also solving a key problem in the field of robots, enabling units deployed in a range of industrial applications to communicate with one another to improve efficiency and, in turn, safety for personnel.

“From mining to manufacturing, from warehouses to ports, we are seeing a growing demand for systems that can handle production or distribution traffic safely and efficiently.”

CEO Vestberg focused on the technology itself, noting the Covid-19 (coronavirus) crisis had provided first hand evidence to the world “that 5G isn’t simply the next G”. Instead, features including ultra-low latency and “unparalleled” upload and download speeds had proven the technology is the “innovation that makes other innovations possible”.

The pandemic provided a fitting backdrop for a hybrid MWC21 premised on “transformation and impact”, Vestberg explained, noting the outbreak had “accelerated trends we have long seen coming” by highlighting “that access to mobility, broadband and cloud isn’t just nice to have, it’s essential”.

Vestberg (pictured, right) noted the past 18 months had “marked the true arrival of 5G” as a transformational force, “with an immense impact on the way consumers learn, work, play and enjoy entertainment”.

He explained a recent record-breaking auction of C-Band spectrum in the US was a key element in Verizon’s strategy to deliver new services to consumers and businesses. Combined with multi-access edge computing (MEC), Vestberg explained the operator was positioned to deliver “incredible” services through a “transformative, high impact, multi-layered infrastructure of mobile networks, broadband and cloud”.

“We see several business opportunities on the same multi-purpose network for 5G: mobility; FWA; and MEC”.