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5G positioning represents a significant step forward in communication and geolocation technology. It is still in the early stages of development, but it has enormous potential: to create new services as well as transform the industry and our daily lives.

We are all used to GPS navigation. We also know that it is not perfectly accurate in determining where we are; it can, for example, locate us on the wrong side of the road. For the safety of autonomous vehicles and a number of other applications, much greater precision is required. For example, robots in a factory need an accurate position in order to be able to move in a complex environment without colliding and/or getting damaged. In this context, with the development of 5G technology comes a significant innovation in the field of geolocation services: 5G positioning.

Unlike GPS, which offers positioning services exclusively in outdoor areas with limited precision, a correctly dimensioned 5G network enables much more precise and reliable positioning in indoor and outdoor areas. Using a process known as beamforming, the signal is directed directly to a specific device instead of spreading out in all directions. By routing the signal, the network can reduce interference and increase the accuracy of location data, which is particularly useful in urban areas where buildings and other objects interfere with the signal. In order to realize the advantage of 5G networks for the purpose of positioning, it is necessary to build a dense network of base stations.

Besides, 5G networks can use very high radio frequencies. Shorter, millimeter waves allow more accurate measurement of the time required for the signal to reach the device. Therefore, based on the signal reception time, it is possible to accurately calculate the distance of the device from several base stations, and it is also possible to determine the direction (angle) of the signal arrival. By combining this data, the network can determine our position. Since the data transfer time between the device and the network is extremely short, the location can be updated almost instantly. The price we pay for increased precision at high frequencies is an extremely large number of base stations because it is desirable to cover the same location from several directions.

Massive MIMO technology also plays an important role. It enables simultaneous communication with multiple devices using the same frequency, which is useful in densely populated areas where a large number of devices access the network at the same time. All the above elements, in addition to the small size of the cell, form a sophisticated network that can locate and track 5G devices within its infrastructure with a precision of less than one meter.

Thanks to the speed and ability to process large amounts of data in real time, 5G positioning can enable new types of interactive services and improve various aspects of our activities, from industrial operations to security, comfort and entertainment. Locating people or property is important in many places: post offices, railways, supply chains, airports (locating passengers and luggage), security services (positioning firefighters, police, HGSS), exhibition halls, shopping centers etc.

In industry, production lines will become more efficient, warehouses will automatically track inventory, and workplace safety will be greatly improved. Less time will be wasted searching for tools and materials. In smart factories, the exact locations of machines and components will allow process optimization and reducing downtime. In logistics, tracking the position of cargo in real time will improve the organization and management of the supply chain. In mines and quarries, 5G positioning can be used to determine the exact location in the event of an accident, to broadcast emergency messages, to monitor or remotely control equipment, as well as for warnings in dangerous zones. In hospitals, positioning can be used to track medical equipment and ambulances and report the location to the operations center.

In a world where natural disasters are becoming more common, 5G positioning can play a vital role in public safety and emergency services. In the event of storms, floods, fires, or earthquakes, accurate and quick location of victims can accelerate rescue operations. Also, this technology can improve the deployment of resources in emergency situations so that help arrives where it is needed most.

In the field of entertainment, 5G positioning enables the creation of new experiences in augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Precise user tracking within 3D maps and similar environments enables a rich interactive experience, whether it’s games, educational apps, or virtual tours. At concerts and sporting events, this technology can provide a new experience for the audience, offering detailed real-time information about players or performers.

Further development of 5G positioning could lead to even wider application of this technology. In the future, we could see integration with autonomous vehicles, where positional accuracy will enable more worry-free and secure road networks. Integration with the Internet of Things, i.e. IoT devices, could enhance smart homes and smart cities – everything will work in harmony, for the purpose of maximum energy efficiency and comfort.

5G positioning also entails social changes. This technology can improve access to public services and serve as a tool to connect people at social events and gatherings. Precise navigation tools will make it easier for people with disabilities to navigate urban environments and access services. Elderly people will be safer knowing that they can be located quickly if the need arises.

Notwithstanding the advantages, this technology also brings certain challenges. One of them is related to energy consumption: positioning drains the batteries of mobile devices faster, so the technology will have to advance in this area as well. There are also privacy and data security concerns because it is a technology that tracks our location in real time. The implementation of strict security protocols and appropriate transparency must guarantee that our data is protected and that we know how it is being used.

With the expansion of 5G networks, precise location accuracy will improve as well, and an important factor for the acceptance of this new technology will solving the challenges of energy consumption and user privacy protection. The industry, government, and society must make a concerted effort to ensure that the benefits of this technology are equitably distributed and that the risks are kept to a minimum.


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