September 26, 2020 – The next wave of 5G has the potential to revolutionize education and democracy, said Jonathan Solomon, solutions architect for Amazon Web Services, in a question and answer session at the Broadband Communities Summit on Wednesday with Bob Knight, executive vice president of Harrison Edwards.
“There is a basic connectivity problem that needs to be overcome,” said Solomon, speaking of the digital divide. “But when we do overcome this, classroom experiences will go to the next level.”
Solomon said that virtual reality, augmented reality and so-called “mixed reality” would be a large part of this change.
For example, instead of dissecting a real frog, which can be messy and make some students sick, a virtual dissection could be performed by students remotely using special glasses, and without needing a frog and the dissecation equipment.
”Glasses are a good way to start, but I think there needs to be more than that,” he said.
Just as many people have been clearing rooms in their houses for Zoom calls, Solomon projected that “an immersive room could be in the future.” If this were to happen, Solomon said broadband providers would need to support it, which would include making graphics processing units more ubiquitous, as they are required for these immersive experiences.
These experiences will be enabled by multiaccess edge computing, which allows for synchronous interaction even if parties are far away from each other – and Solomon highlighted this as a core competency of AWS Wavelength, Amazon’s newest up and coming technology.
Wavelength, an extension of the Amazon Web Services cloud, is fully managed within a carrier’s network, as opposed to a more remote region. Wavelength allows developers to “deploy applications directly in the network, connected to the network itself, and also leverage the capabilities of AWS and the resources back in the region,” explained Solomon.
The two also discussed broadband’s impact on democracy.
While government can be slow to adapt to new technologies, the pandemic has fostered greater civic engagement. In the move towards a more virtual society, feeling secure to vote has become a major concern.
Solomon responded that Amazon would continue to participate in democracy by providing governments with the tools and technology needed to do “whatever [they] want to do.”
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