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A CNET 2021 panel: Searching for 5G solutions to the coronavirus mess

As part of CES 2021, the panel dives into how 5G can help address the problems exposed by the global pandemic.

The coronavirus upended our lives in ways we never imagined possible. The push to stay in our homes, all while keeping the world running and connected, exposed vulnerabilities we didn't know existed. Patients couldn't, or wouldn't, see their doctors, many afraid of exposing themselves to COVID-19. Parents struggled to help their kids focus on remote learning even as they re-learned how to do their jobs from home. And that's if they had adequate broadband to begin with. 

Enter 5G. While the next-generation wireless technology is no magic bullet for these problems, the idea of delivering a speedy and responsive connection over the air holds massive promise for some of the problems highlighted by the pandemic and lockdown. 

To discuss some of the ways 5G can offer society benefits beyond a speed boost to your phone, I gathered three experts for CNET's 5G panel for CES 2021: Cristiano Amon, president and soon-to-be CEO of Qualcomm, Tami Erwin, CEO of Verizon Business and Dr. Steve Ommen, medical director for the Mayo Clinic's Center for Connected Care. 

We discuss how 5G can help:

  • Improve the telemedicine experience, ensuring patients are comfortable seeing a doctor remotely. 
  • Create more engaging remote learning sessions than simple Zoom calls with teachers. 
  • Allow for more AR and VR applications for both learning and work sessions. 
  • Close the broadband gap in a country where 18 million Americans still lack an adequate internet connection. 
  • How 5G can help with drone deliveries and autonomous driving.