Verizon will open four 5G labs by year-end that will focus on developing applications for different 5G use cases. The labs will be located in Washington, D.C.; Palo Alto, California; Waltham, Massachusetts; and Los Angeles.
These new labs will build on the success of the New York City 5G incubator the carrier opened last December. That lab was opened in partnership with Alley, a co-working community, to encourage collaboration in developing 5G technologies. Among the list of initial participants in the incubator were the NYU Future Reality Lab, Columbia University’s Graphics and User Interfaces Lab and startups such as Arvizio, BriefCam, and Mapfit.
Similarly, the new labs will rely on local partnerships, developers, startups, universities, and technology companies to develop, test, and refine these 5G applications. Each lab will contain a live 5G network and offer the needed resources, namely applications and hardware, to test cases of high speed, large bandwidth, and ultra-low latency applications.
Each lab, including the incubator in New York, will have a specific focus on industries and technologies based on the local expertise. New York City will focus on media and financial tech; Waltham on robotics, healthcare, and real-time enterprise services; Palo Alto on emerging technologies, education, and big data; Washington, D.C. on public safety and first responders, security, and hospitality; and Los Angeles will focus on immersive experiences, including augmented reality and holograms.
Verizon followed a similar strategy with LTE, opening “Innovation Centers” in Boston and San Francisco to help companies develop applications that took advantage of the capabilities of the company’s LTE network.
The carrier plans to launch 5G residential broadband service in four U.S. markets — Los Angeles and Sacramento, California, Houston, and Indianapolis — in the second half of 2018. These initial markets will use Verizon’s proprietary pre-standard 5G equipment. It plans to quickly move to standards-based 5G New Radio (NR) technology in 2019 as soon as manufacturers can make customer premises equipment (CPE) available.
Recently, Verizon CFO Matt Ellis said that these 5G markets will be used to refine its customer experience and “stress test” the network in a real-world environment. Additionally, its launch of 5G fixed wireless in these four cities will include residential broadband and content, including bundled Apple TV and YouTube.