August 9, 2021

Guest blog: 5G fuelling the future

EV Car Charger

With a career based in the energy and utility industry former director of Energy Utility and advisor to government and business, Niall Riddell has a specific interest in smart supply and decarbonisation. His current focus is in the electric vehicle sector. His start up business, Paua, will provide a support ecosystem for business and residential customers looking for public electric vehicle (EV) charging solutions.

There are so many possibilities which can now become reality with the increased processing potential offered by 5G networks.

Edge computing

5G will be closely linked with edge computing as the need for transfers of large amounts of data becomes a part of everyday life as we have increasingly more connected devices sending data backwards and forwards.

There are going to be many thousands of connected devices sending small packets of data and this will add up to much more data transfer. In my sector, as an example, electric cars will have batteries, tyres and motors which are all connected to the internet. They will each be capable of sending small amounts of data about usage, performance and wear and tear.

Instead of relying on central servers, edge computing systems will be able to process data closer to the generation source. This capability, combined with the lower latency and faster speeds of 5G means we will be able to operate many more connected devices at the same time.  For example, imagine getting the latest Microsoft upgrade installed on an Edge on the street near your house to provide super-fast downloads and reduce bandwidth congestion in the future. When everyone logs on and attempts the update there is no congestion and we get on with our lives not aware of the huge dataflows in the background.

Computers on wheels

McKinsey refers to ‘ACES’ - the autonomous, connected, electric and shared trends are the four biggest disruptions shaping automotive. Each is driven by increasing complexity, data and in car software to handle data in the car as well as that from increasingly complex street furniture such as traffic signs and temperature monitors.

Our cars are essentially enormous data processing computers and this will increase the more EVs we have on our roads. They will increasingly require a large flow of data in and out to keep them up to date and running. This regular transfer of information will require connection to a reliable network source. However, our communities are not set up to facilitate the number of EVs we will have in coming years.

For instance, people in flats won’t be able to easily connect to upgrade their vehicles when they have a software upgrade or data transfer (a bit like when you are promoted to install a mobile phone update).

5G can provide a solution. We will be able to use a 5G mobile network to connect locally and transfer data to a nearby fibre cabinet in the street. 5G will enable the data to be transferred or downloaded over the last few metres where a local connection is not possible.


As we move to a greener driving solution with EVs we will need to rethink how we recharge cars. That’s where my business comes in. We have created an EV fuel card for companies to manage their fleet vehicles. They will need a way to enable their staff and drivers to ‘fill’ up or recharge when on the move efficiently and quickly as possible to keep everyone moving. All the chargepoints are connected to the internet so we can provide real time information on their availability. We connect to car and chargepoint to make the drivers experience simpler. Knowing where the charge points are and being able to access them when you arrive will be crucial.

Our mobile app provides the insight and the payment mechanism and 5G will be a future cornerstone to providing the transfer of fast data in real time and instant updates on the move. The Department of Transport is working towards expanding the charging network but every charge point will have to have a minimum latency. 5G will be essential part of the ecosystem in providing the infrastructure in time for the Government’s ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars.

Niall Riddell

This guest blog was written by Niall Riddell, co-founder and director at Paua. Learn more about this author via LinkedIn.

About Building Mobile Britain

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Building Mobile Britain is a campaign created by Mobile UK seeking to work with national and local government, as well as interested industry groups to overcome the challenges we face with expanding the existing mobile networks, while also developing innovative services for customers.

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