As you are probably quite aware, 5G is heading our way soon. There is a lot of hype that the power of 5G will ‘change the world’. Is all the fuss just overly enthusiastic marketing or a new reality about to unfold?
5G is the 5th generation of mobile network, following the progression of 2G, 3G, and 4G. It is sure to have an impact on our lives and businesses as we step into this faster mobile internet era, so here we’ll look at how much of an impact is coming and whether it will be positive or not.
Worrying about sharing or downloading large files will mostly be a thing of the past. It will allow for more freedom and better connectivity. However, how will this actually affect people and business?
Key Features of 5G
The main features of 5G mobile networks are:
- Faster speeds.
- Reduced latency.
- Better coverage, with more consistent speed.
- More simultaneous connections in the same area.
- Lower battery demands.
- Improved coverage.
Down Sides of 5G
5G networks also have drawbacks. We can say that the main downsides of the 5G network are:
- Many devices will need upgrading or replacing to be compatible.
- Countries will have to invest large amounts of money into the infrastructure and control implementation closely.
- It is likely there will be ongoing development and improvement to the early technology.
- Security will need to be considered, as data breaches could take far less time or be far larger.
How does 5G change things for Business?
If you are in a business that relies on data, and large amounts of it, then 5G means your business and employee locations become far less of a factor. The fast download and upload speeds allow for amounts of data that would previously take a long time over 4G, to be transferred in a matter of seconds or minutes. In fact, reports suggest that 5G will be up to 100 times faster than standard 4G.
It is likely that entirely new industries and niches appear as technologies develop around this new level of data. Startups and SMBs will also have more opportunity to become global and compete against larger companies.
Reduced latency in industries that require fast response times and communication, could potentially reduced the costs of market entry. An example of this would be the financial industry, where companies invest millions into infrastructure to be as close to the exchange as possible, as delays in communication can cost millions.
Combine all of this with better coverage and less battery usage, employees could work faster and for longer in remote locations. Medical services could potentially become much more mobile, students could study from anywhere without delays during video conferences, and freelancer’s freedoms are sure to expand further.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is likely to explode, not literally like in the Terminator movie, but in size and power. AI requires massive amounts of data to learn and to communicate across platforms. It will evolve rapidly, able to learn faster and to use that information to provide the services and technology that we desire. Mobile and home devices will become smarter, more intuitive, and easier to interact with.
This new level of connectivity is likely to lead to smarter devices and solutions across the board. AI has already been used in the Google platform, Android, to intuitively make devices work better according to usage. As AI develops, there will be improvements in many areas. Even medical procedures, cures, and innovations are presently being developed by AI.
In the health industry, 5G will allow for wearable monitoring devices and life support devices to provide more information to the doctor, or the monitoring AI system. This could lead to early diagnosis of illnesses, improvements in cures and treatments, and life saving assists when there is no-one else nearby to help raise the alarm. Much of this will help people live better lives. AI is already starting to be introduced as a ‘companion’ option for those who live by themselves and doctors are starting to use AR to help people remotely.
Cellphones and tablets will be revolutionised, as apps will be able to work in different ways. Ever since mobiles and tablets connected to the web, people have been concerned about downloading large applications or apps that receive large amounts of data. This will no longer be such a concern, allowing apps to develop in a new and interesting way, both in the cloud and on the device. This in turn will also put demands on mobile device developers and likely lead to faster development in mobile tech.
Things will communicate with other things in an intelligent and real time way. An example of this would be self driven cars communicating with a smart road and other items (requiring fast response times), smart shops communicating with suppliers and authorities, and even remote AR/VR applications. Faster, safer transport that’s hands free would allow for easier commutes that are productive.
5G could also be great for areas that currently can’t access high speed fiber-optic internet. Once in place, it will allow all those in the area to access better internet. This could potentially help people and businesses in more rural areas to expand and compete.
Will 5G replace Wifi?
Although the features of 5G make it appear that it is likely to replace WiFi, opinions at this stage are still mixed. Price will be a major determining factor, both in user plans and setup costs for companies/governments. At least for the near future, WiFi is almost definitely here to stay.
Some features are also currently in WiFi’s favor, such as internal networks, smart home functionality, and controllable security.
At the end of the day, most countries will roll out 5G in 2019-2020 and for many it will open up new ways to work, to communicate, and a range of new services and opportunities. How will your business adapt to 5G?