How 5G can help UK realize productivity gains?


Cities in the UK can realize productivity savings of £6 billion a year from 5G, says a new report from O2.

5G, which promises latency as low as 1 millisecond and peak data rates estimated at 10Gbps, promises huge opportunities in key sectors like transport, healthcare, retail and energy.

Estimates say that train cancellations or delays resulting in employee lateness or absence, cost the UK economy £10 billion per year in lost productivity. 5G sensors on railway lines will drive improvements in predictive maintenance, reclaiming an estimated £440 million in lost productivity for the UK economy and regaining the average rail commuter 2.6 hours a year.

With 5G-enabled road management systems, the time spent stuck in traffic can be reduced by 10 percent for the UK’s 5.6 million city workers who commute in private vehicles. With this, UK can save approximately £880 million a year in lost productivity caused by congestion.

In terms of energy consumption, £91 million savings can be facilitated by the adoption of smart LED street lighting. Another £145 million will be shaved off household energy bills through the introduction of 5G-enabled smart grids.  Car owners could save an additional £1,600 in annual fuel costs through the introduction of electric cars with 5G-proofed energy grids.

In healthcare, replacing just 5 percent of GP appointments with telehealth video conferencing will reduce physical GP visits by 4 million per year. Waiting times for GP appointments will fall, as 1 million hours of GP time is freed up, creating productivity gains of £1.3 billion through less employee absence during the working day, according to the report.

5G will enable the widespread adoption of wearable monitoring devices that will reduce 30-day NHS hospital re-admissions by 30 percent through aftercare monitoring, saving the cities £463 million per year and decreasing overall bed occupancy rates by 6 percent.

Derek McManus, O2’s chief operating officer, added that while 5G promises a range of unprecedented benefits, these won’t be achieved without collective investment and collaboration. “That means complete alignment from operators, public service providers, local authorities, landlords and technology companies to explore new opportunities for better connectivity and denser coverage.”

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