Connectivity is going through a growth spurt that is outstripping modern capabilities, with 4G’s suitability gradually fading. So 5G is the solution, right?
Earlier this week, Siliconrepublic.com detailed what 5G is all about, with speeds 100 times faster than currently achievable through 4G promised in the coming years.
However, despite 4G (and 3G before it) leading to speed improvements above all else, 5G’s emergence will be a whole different ball game.
“It will mean not just faster speeds, rather more devices communicating with high bit rates but with low latency and low power,” said John Kennedy.
“5G will underpin the future of vital services from transport to healthcare and energy, media and entertainment.”
Structurally everything will change, with even the towers transmitting 5G a world apart from what came before.
Near and far
Traditional mobile cell towers were usually miles apart, but 5G cell base stations will need to be anywhere between 500 metres down to 50 metres apart to provide users with low latency speeds.
What will all of this mean for industry? 451 Research recently produced a report on the industry, highlighting several quirks that many assume will just be natural improvements across the board.
It found that implementation will be patchy, with uncertainty set to reign. While many governments, especially in Europe, want to get ahead in 5G and digital living, 451 Research thinks operators are concerned with shareholder returns. This conflict could lead to the creation of private-public partnerships to raise financing.
However 5G is coming, and it’s coming soon.
“IT players need to think about IoT now and 5G soon,” said Ken Rehbehn, analyst at 451 Research. “Whether it is real-time analytics, data centre design, location-based web services, or social networks and digital currencies, 5G will affect demand patterns as early as 2018.”
According to a report from Ericsson, where it surveyed 650 C-level technologists, a large majority indicated they intend to make significant changes to their businesses in order to take advantage of 5G when it arrives.
“Emerging technologies, such as the internet of things (IoT), are becoming integral parts of our economy and lifestyle, and this is driving major change across industries,” said Ericsson’s Rima Qureshi.
“5G will accelerate this transformation and create new uses, new revenue streams, and new business models for industries and consumers alike.”
In the report, eight themes emerged:
Increased performance, security and device-to-device communications are expected to be the areas where 5G provides real business value, according to the report.
“The connected car is the major trend in the auto industry, and while many are looking ahead to self-driving systems, enhanced GPS with instant traffic and map updates is the most favoured use for 5G globally.”
The turnaround time getting products to market through faster, more efficient production will be a major driver of change.
“Remote monitoring and maintenance through sensors is seen as the top benefit, as many utilities look to protect valuable assets located in distant and sometimes hazardous locations.
- Public safety
5G is expected to bring greater security, and lower cost, to citizens. 96pc of those surveyed said they were already investing in this space.
“They look to new networks to expand capabilities in connected devices and for network slicing through 5G to provide secure priority communications during an emergency.”
- High-tech manufacturers
Productivity, productivity, productivity. Citing growing threats from disruptive competitors in the high-tech manufacturing space, the report cites 5G’s role in productivity as a primary impact.
It will also “improve the customer experience and introduce new products and services to consumers faster”.
“Many expect 5G to help manage risks through monitoring of assets and improving remote site safety and security.”
- Internet/digital natives
“The online stores, social networks, digital organisation and collaboration tools, and travel and ride-sharing services included in this category seek out cutting-edge technology to help them stay relevant, attract new customers, and build brand loyalty.”
A new focus on customer experience is on the way.
New services and products to improve quality of life are naturally in the offing, though one finding was that an increase in security capabilities was a big thing.
- Financial services
“The financial services industry expects 5G to boost real-time mobile trading and high-frequency trading,” according to the report. Again, though, security is primed for a major focus.
- Media and gaming
Bringing today’s leading, immersive capabilities like ultra HD, virtual reality and 360-degree content to mobile devices, the introduction of 5G will up capacity levels significantly.