High-speed mobile networks have already made it possible for companies to bring a wide variety of innovative devices to market, which helps people with disabilities to lead more independent lives. The humble smartphone itself has proved to be a wonderfully useful device for people who find it hard to get around on their own or who sometimes need assistance at times. As the 5G network is introduced to more locations across Australia, it will pave the way for even more useful devices that can make life easier for millions of people. Below, we look at how 5G technology will improve accessibility in the future.

5G opportunities for accessibility improvements

5G presents many possibilities for technological advancements that could improve the quality of life for people with disabilities.  Let’s take a look at some of the most eagerly anticipated. 

5G self-driving cars 

We already have partially autonomous cars on the roads, with adaptive cruise control, assisted steering, and automatic emergency braking features. Some manufacturers have tested fully autonomous cars, and 5G is the technology that many experts believe will help speed them to market. With high-speed, low latency 5G connectivity, self-driving cars will be able to communicate with other vehicles and with city infrastructure without any network delays, making them a viable proposition in well-mapped areas of the country.

Enhanced geo-location and navigation services 

Although there are already numerous advanced geolocation and navigation technologies powered by existing mobile networks, most of them still don’t function quite in real-time. Latency issues tend to mean there’s somewhat of a lag, small as it may be. 

But in the future, the greater network capacity and higher speed of 5G should make it possible for enhanced devices and software to be developed with far more accurate real-time response. This can be designed especially for people who are either blind or visually impaired, helping them navigate the world around them safely. 

Improved video conferencing capability

Video conferencing is already commonplace, but the greater speed and access enabled by 5G should be able to create an experience that’s faster, more responsive and capable of supporting many more devices in any given area. With greatly enhanced video conferencing, it will be easier for those who rely on sign language for communication to participate in business and social calls alike across the globe.

Connected appliances 

Many internet-capable devices can make life much easier for people with disabilities by automating common everyday tasks. Voice-controlled appliances are a valuable asset to visually impaired people and can help to make potentially dangerous environments, such as a domestic kitchen, a much safer place to be.

IoT devices for monitoring health  

When you’re looking at how IoT technology will improve accessibility, monitoring health has huge potential, thanks to a proliferation of wearable devices that monitor vital health signs. These devices can transfer large amounts of data over 5G networks, making it easier for medical professionals to observe vulnerable patients remotely. People with severe disabilities who may otherwise have needed to stay in a hospital or care home will potentially have the opportunity to lead more normal lives with 5G connected IoT technology.

Glasses-mounted broadband cameras 

With these 5G connected cameras, assistants can see the world around a visually impaired person and guide them to their destination. The low latency, reliable connections provided by 5G will ensure that the wearers are alerted to any hazards in adequate time to avoid them. 

Over the coming months and years, more cities and regions will likely gain access to 5G. Opportunities for accessibility improvements will potentially become available in all areas of the country, improving the lives of many people in the process. 

Vodafone 5G is now rolling out in selected areas of major Australian cities. For more information about 5G, head to our support page.

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