5G-based traffic light management is just one of the use cases set up in a new testbed between Deutsche Telekom, Nokia and the Hamburg Port Authority.
The three partners are seeking to trial 5G applications in an industrial setting. Virtual reality will be used to monitor critical infrastructure such as watergates and constructions areas, which the companies said would enhance safety.
The Port Authority will also use mobile technology to collect and process environmental measurement data in real-time.
Network slicing will be used to offer the different services across dedicated virtual networks. The technique is seen as a central feature of future 5G networks, allowing operators to dynamically control and adapt to the needs of different services.
The test area, which covers 8,000 hectares and was six months in the making, is powered by an antenna at the top of the nearby Hamburg television tower.
The trials form part of the 5G Mobile Network Architecture (MoNArch) project, which was launched last year as part of the European Union's Horizon 2020 Framework Programme.
The telcos said the two-year Hamburg project aims to transform 5G concepts into real-life applications so they can improve the technology behind it.
A second testbed will be set up in Turin and trial multimedia applications, although no further details were given.
Claudia Nemat, Board Member for Technology and Innovation at Deutsche Telekom, said: "This testbed in Hamburg is an important development step along the road to 5G. We need practical experience which we can get in the Port of Hamburg. Our goal is to understand how we can best adapt our network to customer requirements.
"The production industry and the logistics sector in particular are going to reap the benefits of 5G as a powerful lever for many applications."
Peter Merz, Head of End-to-End Mobile Network Solutions from Nokia Bell Labs, said: "The 5G field trial in the Port of Hamburg is thrusting open the door to a new world of business applications, with the potential to drive change in many areas. This is about making industrial processes much faster and more flexible.
"For the first time, all of this is going to be tested under live conditions in Hamburg - the importance of this project cannot be rated highly enough."