The Air Force and the far-reaching Department of Defense expect 5G to change games in the way it provides information and connects platforms.
James Beutel, the Air Force’s deputy director of technology, says 5G will be the fabric that will open up fast data paths to enable everything from artificial intelligence to aviator header screens.
“5G will really allow for a lot of the things we see in today’s science fiction movies, where pilots, airmen, and other people have screens or virtual reality,” Beutel said during a Verizon-sponsored Federal Insights discussion. “Troops will be able to see data and sensors in real time extremely quickly. You talk about how much force multiplier is when a person can see so much data at once and be able to share it and talk to leaders in real time. “
Beutel said 5G’s ability to deliver information quickly opens the door to what the military and civilian world can achieve.
One of the things that 5G will be able to expand is AI, which needs to digest large amounts of data to make complex suggestions and decisions.
“At the heart of AI is the data, and most importantly, for the machine learning perspective, it’s just as good as your data and the amount of data you have,” Beutel said. “5G will be able to get you a lot more data and much more timely data. This will make your AI much more effective, because no matter how good this AI algorithm is, if you don’t have the data to train and understand what to do, it won’t be as effective. Instead, because now 5g is no longer about hardware, it’s software on the back, it’s a virtualized environment, you’ll have cutting-edge data centers everywhere based on that, and having this AI will be a huge enabler to make the 5g be more effective “.
However, the Air Force and the Department of Defense are still a bit far from realizing that dream.
DoD has about a dozen test bench facilities where it is just beginning to experiment with 5G.
The Air Force also awards leases to companies to bring 5G to the necessary areas.
“We hope to have 5G fully publicly available on all bases and also to have figured out how we will incorporate private 5G for things like warehouses, depots and things along that line,” Beutel said. “In these leases, the Air Force has nothing. In this case, what we are doing is giving the provider a 25-year lease to contract a real estate lease to enter and build their towers. We are doing this for couple reasons. One is that the Air Force does not want to engage in the maintenance of cell towers. Second, it encourages suppliers to enter these bases. “
Beutel said the Air Force also encourages suppliers to sublease so that suppliers have the opportunity to increase coverage as much as possible.