T-Mobile teams on 5G research for nursing tools

T-Mobile is starting a 5G research initiative this fall, working with University of Kansas students to develop new training tools for nursing through a combination of technology and distance learning principles.

The multi-year effort is a Capstone Research Project with the KU School of Nursing and the KU Center for Design Research (CDR).

“With the onset of COVID-19 we quickly moved to a virtual nursing education program and now more than ever see the need for creative new approaches using advanced technology to educate nursing students at all levels,” said Cynthia Teel, PhD, RN, FAAN, Associate Dean, Academic Affairs, KU School of Nursing, in a statement. “We’re incredibly excited about the future of our educational programs and we also see a tremendous opportunity to advance how nursing is taught in this country.”

With the emphasis on distance learning, the program is primarily virtual right now, but students do have access to T-Mobile technology labs. CDR students are also work with technical experts at T-Mobile.

T-Mobile said the aim of the program is to develop innovative ways to teach and train nurses across a range of settings, be it in a university class, performing research in a lab, or working on site at rural clinics or large metro area hospitals.

The program will emphasize creating tools that use VR and AR, as well as propel ways that artificial intelligence can serve a clinical environment.

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Once the semester wraps up, students will present their 5G research, with ideas for new products and services, potential business models and go-to-market strategies. Additionally, T-Mobile plans to offer a research internship to one or more students. The selected interns will join a working group to continue research on 5G nursing and digital healthcare solutions.

“Our nursing education has to be expanded. Students must learn their profession with ease and with tools that don’t currently exist. They must utilize the knowledge learned from having to improvise. Its means of delivery is essential - it must be quick, reliable and easy to implement,” said Gregory Thomas, professor/director, Center for Design Research, in a statement. “The School of Nursing has the need, T-Mobile has the 5G technology, and KU CDR will work collectively in the collaboration to bring about a paradigm shift in nursing education.”

John Saw, former Sprint CTO and T-Mobile’s current EVP of Advanced and Emerging Technology, in a statement cited healthcare as one of most exciting industries for 5G to “literally improve lives.”

“Augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence, robotics and more will radically improve how we train healthcare workers and bring better care to people in communities of all sizes,” Saw stated.

T-Mobile, as well as other operators, have looked to partnerships in recent years as a way to develop new applications for 5G technology as they continue to roll out next-generation networks. T-Mobile's low-band 600 MHz 5G network covers 250 million people. The operator's moving to light up 2.5 GHz spectrum, which can deliver faster speeds, at thousands of sites by the end of the year. 

T-Mobile’s 2020 Accelerator program gives companies the opportunity to work directly with the operator and other mentors to develop and commercialize 5G products and applications. This year’s six-company cohort included Aware Vehicles, Homebase, Orbi, SeersLab, Unmanned Life, and Zoi Meet.

T-Mobile, alongside Intel and NASA, founded the 5G Open Innovation Lab in Seattle, providing developers access to platforms, enterprises and markets to test and deploy new 5G use cases.