Nokia and Verizon claim another 5G first

Nokia and Verizon has teamed up to congratulate themselves on achieving another 5G first; the first successful transmission of a 3GPP New Radio (NR) 5G signal to a receiver situated in a moving vehicle.

With the self-imposed deadlines for launching 5G services edging ever closer, Verizon has completed another incremental step in making the bufferless cat video world a reality. With two antennas set up in Nokia’s New Jersey campus, Verizon whizzed past the building with receiver and measurement equipment in the boot of a Ford KA (maybe, maybe not) and managed to successfully hand off the signal from one radio sector to the other, on 28 GHz spectrum.

“Unlike some of the incremental 5G technology announcements we’ve seen lately, tests like the one we conducted are significant advancements in the development of 5G technology,” said Bill Stone, VP of Technology Development and Planning for Verizon. “By taking these tests out of the lab and into the field, we’re replicating the experience users will ultimately have in a 5G mobility environment.”

“We are pleased to showcase the acceleration of the mobile capabilities in 5G,” said Marc Rouanne, President of Mobile Networks at Nokia. “Enhanced mobile broadband is one of the first services being delivered on Nokia’s end-to-end 5G Future X portfolio. As a result, we can help our customers meet their early 5G deployment schedules and initial coverage demands.”

It might not seem like the most exciting of tests, unless Carly Rae Jepson was on the radio, but these incremental steps are important. The last thing anyone needs is to be driving from Boston to New York, cream cheese bagel in hand, only for your passenger to fly into a fit of rage because the video of a panda farting didn’t work properly.

Next week the dynamic duo will be testing whether it is possible to tweet Elton John while climbing the stairs to the third floor as the lift is broken.

Uber introduces taxis for patients in the US

Uber has unveiled its latest initiative which will be known as Uber Health in a bid to bring mobility to the health sector.

The theory is relatively simple. The team claims 3.6 million Americans miss doctor appointments each year due to unreliable transportation, while no-show rates in some corners of the US could be up to 30%. Healthcare organizations will be able to order rides for patients going to and from the care they need.

“We’re unveiling a new service focused on an issue vital to all of us: health,” said Chris Weber, GM of Uber Health on the company’s blog.

“Every year, 3.6 million Americans miss doctor appointments due to a lack of reliable transportation. No-show rates are as high as 30% nationwide. And while transportation barriers are common across the general population, these barriers are greatest for vulnerable populations, including patients with the highest burden of chronic disease.”

Coordinators working for the healthcare organizations will be able to schedule individual appointments for patients, caregivers and staff, or repeat rides for those who need it. All the tasks can be managed from a centralized platform, while there is also the option for patients to communicate via text. This is an important note, as it is not guaranteed older patients will have a smartphone.

While this is certainly an interesting idea, it might have limited success. Firstly, it would be limited to markets where the healthcare is driven by insurance. Any healthcare organization will order the rides and will most likely include it in the customer’s bill at the end of the procedure or treatment. It is tough to imagine organizations like the NHS, which is already pretty cash-strapped, forking out for Uber rides for its patients, unless there were exceptional circumstances.

Secondly, if one of the basic ideas for the service is that public transport is rubbish, this might be a bit of an oversight. How many of those in the US who can afford healthcare insurance are reliant on public transport? They will have their own vehicles, or able to order their own. This might be a service reserved for the caregivers or as a value add service, as opposed to becoming a standard and integral part of the healthcare experience.

It is an interesting idea which might make Uber a bit of money, but we can’t see this having more than a very minor impact on the healthcare space.