“This is where technology comes to life”

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“This is where technology comes to life”

From self-driving cars to smart heat pumps: Minister of Economic Affairs Micky Adriaansens saw with her own eyes in the 5G Hub how the world can look with 5G technology. And she was enthusiastic: “Smart connectivity makes our way of life, work, and production better and more sustainable. It is very important that these initiatives remain possible and are expanded.” The 5G Hub at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven is buzzing with activity this afternoon. Entrepreneurs and collaborators are bustling back and forth, tweaking their presentations. They all have one thing in common: everything revolves around 5G technology. Like a weed-killing robot and a tool that gives ships real-time insight into their energy and fuel consumption. And a camera system that can independently film a hockey game by accurately detecting everything on the field. It’s the power of 5G in practice.

Super-fast switching

The 5G Hub is a breeding ground for new 5G technology. “Characteristics of 5G are the high speed at which data is transmitted, ultra-short response times, and a reliable connection,” says Sander van der Zande, Technology Strategy Manager at VodafoneZiggo in his welcome speech. “With this, we can develop the applications you see here this afternoon. Applications for which a fast and reliable network is essential. For example, a remotely controlled car that needs to check if an area is safe. For this, a super-fast, stable connection is needed between the car and the remote driver. One that sends the images directly, so you don’t crash into anything. With 5G, that’s possible. Those qualities are also essential for applications related to augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and the Internet of Things.”

The state of digital Netherlands

To make all this possible, a strong digital infrastructure is indispensable. And according to the minister, more attention should be paid to this in the Netherlands. She recently sent the report ‘The State of the Digital Infrastructure’ to the House of Representatives. The report maps out why such a digital infrastructure is important and what is being done to make it work optimally now and in the future. Not enough, according to the report. That’s why the minister advocates for investments that stimulate initiatives and product development, for sufficient capacity on the energy network, and for physical spaces where companies can develop and offer digital services. Like the 5G Hub.


 

Thinking heat pump

Within the 5G Hub, partners VodafoneZiggo, Ericsson, Brainport Development, and High Tech Campus work with companies on innovative applications. They are happy to show the minister this afternoon what is possible with 5G technology. For example, WeHeat is working in the hub on sustainable and smarter heat pumps, with the technology doing the thinking. Tijs van Elzen, commercial director of WeHeat: “Through 5G, we can read a pump remotely and solve problems remotely. For this, you need to send a lot of data back and forth simultaneously and you need a reliable connection. 5G is ideal for this.”

In addition, WeHeat makes heating simple. “We are developing a system where the heat pump learns how to heat a house as efficiently as possible based on the desired temperature. The pump adjusts itself based on the behavior and preferences of the user. That is even more sustainable and saves a lot of work for the user and installer.”

Maintaining a leading position

After a tour of the initiatives, the last word goes to the minister. She is impressed by everything she has seen. “In the 5G Hub, you can see what is possible with the technology: it truly comes to life here. With our Dutch digital infrastructure, we belong to the absolute top in the world. That leading position makes a major contribution to our economy. We need to maintain that and so it is necessary to continue investing in it. Consumers, companies, and the government cannot do without it. The initiatives I have seen this afternoon are great examples of what is possible, now and in the future.”

Jeroen Hoencamp, CEO of VodafoneZiggo: “Technology is one thing, but here you experience what it means when partners come together and innovate together. That’s what really makes a difference in the Netherlands. We need to keep the focus and keep investing, otherwise we’ll fall behind in no time. What is needed for that: investments and space to further develop the network in the Netherlands.”

Photos: Tim Meijer (c)

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