What is 5G and how will it affect your business?
For the past few months, 5G has been in the headlines as something that is concerning world leaders, disrupting trade agreements, and forcing industry to consider new ways of operating. So, what actually is 5G? How is it going to affect businesses, from global corporations to individual start-ups?
We’ve all heard of 4G, 3G and LTE, these are prior generations of broadband cellular network technology. 5G however is something very different – with 5G there is no single type of technology that is being introduced. Instead, 5G will be a continually evolving and developing network of networks which include a much more diverse number of devices, not just mobile phones and tablets. This new, interconnected evolution of network technology is known as the Internet of Things, or IoT.
What differentiates 5G
There are a number of key features that set 5G apart, including:
- Reliability – 5G is said to be extremely reliable. This means that calls are less likely to be dropped and connections will improve.
- Flexibility – with 5G, network flexibility will increase and, as a result, networks will be able to divide a single network into multiple virtual networks.
- Battery life – one of the key benefits of 5G is that, with all of the improvements, battery life will be improved drastically for devices and could be increased up to 10 times.
- Latency – 5G will offer lower latency for devices. This means that the delay that exists when using your phone will be decreased from 40-50 milliseconds to 1 millisecond or less.
- Capacity – 5G will allow for networks to have greater capacity. The result will be that networks are able to host a large number of high-demand applications simultaneously.
- Speed – 5G will drastically increase the speed of network. Anyone stuck on 3G understands how much of a difference speed makes, and some have predicted that 5G could be up to 100 times faster than the 4G networks we have today.
5G and business benefits
Clearly all of these new features will benefit us in our everyday lives as we use and engage with technology. However, 5G is also set to have a massive impact on business going forward.
A recent study by Qualcomm found that, by 2035, 5G could provide the foundation for up to $12.3tn worth of goods and services in a diverse range of industries. The report found that the 5G value chain alone could generate up to $3.5tn in revenue and create up to 22 million new jobs. These figures alone are staggering, but 5G will have an international impact – Qualcomm found that 5G could also increase the global GDP by $3tn from 2020 to 2035.
Furthermore, PBS Research also found that 5G could have a momentous impact on the future global economy, by surveying over 3,500 professionals in the space. The study found that 89% of the respondents expect there to be an increase in productivity and 91% expect new products and services to arrive on the market.
Statistics aside, there are a number of concrete ways in which businesses can benefit, including:
- Flexible working – with improved mobile network access, more individuals will be able to work remotely and still remain just as connected to their work through improved online connections and faster speeds
- AR and VR – improved and more efficient augmented reality and virtual reality systems provide opportunities in a number of different industries to engage with consumers, improve industry processes, and enhance entertainment and gaming experiences
- Decreased costs – the transition from a network based on hardware to one based on software will decrease the costs for mobile operators
- Bespoke networks – due to the flexibility of 5G, businesses will be able to almost own their own 5G network
- Rural innovation – faster speeds, increased connectivity, and better flexibility will allow for improved development and increased digital opportunities in rural communities
5G and industry-wide shifts
As 5G evolves, it will become increasingly clear just what is possible with the improved network. However, it is already clear that it will have a massive impact on a wide range of industries.
For example, in manufacturing, companies will be able to develop digital twins and analyse exactly how they can increase productivity, improve manufacturing and develop new products and processes. In the transportation industry, self-driving cars, smart drones and hyper-efficient traffic lights and systems will reduce emissions and decrease commute times. Finally, healthcare is set to benefit from better digital diagnostic services, robotic-assisted surgeries, and improved patient monitoring and health tracking technology.
To conclude, 5G deployment will be a slow process and some of the benefits may not be noticeable for a few years. However, 5G will benefit every industry and every business, and potentially usher in a new technological revolution. The first step to being prepared for the changes ahead is to learn more about 5G and how you can harness its power to improve and increase your business.