Verizon Exec Highlights Advantages of C-Band Spectrum for Public Sector Applications
Tuesday, May 04, 2021 | Comments
The recently auctioned C-band spectrum can provide advantages to public sector applications, a Verizon executive said.

“The C-band spectrum is a critical component of our 5G broadband strategy and provides us an opportunity to help build out a full portfolio of services that help us extend the use cases that we’ve been talking about,” said Maggie Hallbach, vice president of business development for Verizon Public Sector.

In the C-band auction, which concluded in February, Verizon was the top bidder, spending $45.45 billion for 3,511 licenses in the spectrum. With the C-band auction, Verizon doubled its mid-band spectrum holdings, Hallbach said. The new increased spectrum allows the carrier to reposition some of its other spectrum and densify coverage in areas around the country, she added.

Verizon expects the higher capacity and stronger throughput that comes from the increased spectrum holdings to help open up new use cases within the public sector environment, Hallbach said.

One use case that the carrier has been testing as part of the Emory Healthcare Strategic Hub is providing more diagnostic capabilities to ambulances. These increased diagnostic capabilities can help provide better and faster care to patients who are experiencing time-sensitive emergencies such as a stroke or heart attack.

“Oftentimes in those scenarios, you need to be able to do a greater level of diagnostics on those patients on the route and that can oftentimes provide a higher level of care at the hospital,” Hallbach said.

A key part of that patient care environment is securing the personal information of those patients. To that end, Verizon is also working to improve 5G security, including investing in constructs around zero trust.

“You’re actually ensuring that patient, and those applications and data is only accessible by someone who has the proper credentials,” Hallbach said. “That environment is essentially invisible to people without the credentials.”

The other key application for the C-band that Verizon is testing is what Hallbach described as a “fusion center.” The carrier is currently executing a proof of concept with a law enforcement partner, where it established a private 5G and multiaccess edge computing (MEC) environment that brings in a different streams of video data from thousands of cameras around an area.

The center then leverages machine learning to help comb through all that data to help predict crime trends and aid in investigation. For example, Hallbach said, the machine learning algorithm could analyze a variety of factors to help determine where robberies are likely to happen, allowing an agency to place resources in those areas. Additionally, the algorithm can pore over video data looking for key suspects or events related to an incident.

“It is not possible for a human being to watch all of this data that is coming in,” she said. Hallbach pointed to the manhunt for the suspects of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. The Boston Poilce Department received hundreds of thousands of tips about the bombing, and it took the department around three days to go through all that information and apply it to videos.

A concept like the fusion center could help greatly reduce the time needed to comb through tips and then use that information to help locate suspects. For example, if there was a notification that a suspect was wearing a yellow shirt and green shoes, the machine learning algorithm could go through all the videos from a specific time period and try to find that person.

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