Optus preps network for 5G wearables in Australia

Optus has opened the door to the development of 5G watches, video surveillance and other smart devices passing a significant milestone while working with major industry stakeholders. 

Optus, Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) and MediaTek have today announced Australia’s first over-the-air data-call using Ericsson’s pre-commercial Reduced Capability (RedCap) software on Optus’ 5G network.  

With this advancement, Optus can now enable 5G in simpler, low power, and low-cost RedCap devices in the future.  

The small device size, long battery life, and substantial throughput of RedCap devices would make it ideal with many mobile consumer applications such as wearables (eg. smartwatches), health monitors, augmented reality (AR) devices (eg glasses) as well as industrial applications such as video surveillance, and industrial sensors.    

For instance, Ericsson’s RedCap software can power the smart city of the future with applications in smart grids, environmental sensors, predictive maintenance, utility meters, and more. 

This milestone has been made possible through Ericsson’s advanced Reduced Capability (RedCap) software using any available 5G spectrum, with both time division duplex (TDD) and frequency division duplex (FDD), in low and mid frequency bands. With RedCap’s broader applicability, Optus can further innovate various use cases such as new applications for consumers, industries and enterprises.

For industrial applications, RedCap can also improve operational efficiencies with optimised cost structures for the robust industrial IoT, accelerating the industry 4.0 transformation with 5G private networks. Ericsson’s RedCap brings reliable wireless connectivity and seamless mobility to the devices used in industry and enterprise. It can connect more equipment with fewer cables, process monitoring sensors for deeper operational insight, smart surveillance cameras for personnel safety, and handheld and wearable devices for richer human-machine interaction. 

Lambo Kanagaratnam, Managing Director of Networks at Optus, said: “Optus is always pushing the boundaries on network technology to find ways to improve the experience of our customers. This announcement is about catering for 5G for wearable devices, like watches, so customers can benefit from accessing the most up to date technology in their daily lives. With this Australian-first data call on RedCap, we are paving the way for future 5G wearable devices.”    

Martin Wiktorin Head of Ericsson’s Global Customer Unit, Singtel, said: “We are pleased to be working with Optus and MediaTek to bring the benefits of Ericsson RedCap to Optus’ customers. With this advancement, Optus can offer enhanced 5G connectivity for everything from consumer wearables to industrial sensors in a way that is both cost and energy-efficient, unlocking a whole range of new use cases.” 

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