The promise and potential of the 5G era - How to realise maximum value?
The promise and potential of 5G has captured the attention of business leaders, telecommunication giants and technology policy makers alike. With the first band of 5G services already out in the market, this article explores more about what is 5G technology? Research on digital evolution has shown that advances in 5G technology deployment in mobility, healthcare, manufacturing and retail alone could boost global GDP by $1.2-2 trillion by 2030. We discuss some strong underlying trends boosting the 5G adaptation.
In the decade ahead, a combination of connectivity technologies will take important strides forward
Connectivity technology is expanding more and more in geography as well as usage density as adoption is on the rise. In parallel, there are upgraded versions of connectivity technology that are on the rise. So a combination of these factors gives rise to what we call as “advanced technology”, a frontier where all these technologies interact to create a connected ecosystem.
In the network, providers are upgrading existing 4G infrastructure with low - to mid-frequency “non-standalone” 5G network overlay. The results of these upgrades will vary significantly depending on the spectrum used and density of supporting infrastructure such as cell towers. But in general, these low- to mid-frequency 5G networks can offer significant improvements in speed and latency while supporting a greater density of connected devices. In the last mile of access, the next generation of Wi-Fi (Wi-Fi 6) will improve speeds while supporting many more connected devices.
The advances described above are occurring alongside an expansion of hardware and software capabilities. Cloud computing will provide a processing backbone and storage capacity for use cases that require significant computational power. Edge computing will do the same while removing latency limitations. The new architecture of connectivity will also include private corporate networks. These connectivity and computing advances will enable cheaper and much more efficient “thin” devices connecting with the cloud and localized servers; they could become mainstream at the end of the decade for both consumers and businesses.
Advanced Connectivity can open new commercial opportunities
Connectivity will enable businesses to do more in the next decade as well. Enhanced broadband will make streaming, downloads, and data exchange lightning fast. Because they require less power, LPWANs can extend the battery life of the devices and sensors they connect, making it viable for the Internet of Things to scale up like never before. Ultra-low latency and strong security will create the confidence to run “mission-critical” applications that demand absolute reliability and responsiveness. Here are some illustrative use cases depicting the commercial applications of 5G technology:
- Mobility: Connectivity will be the foundation for increasingly intelligent mobility systems. While the automotive industry is at the heart, mobility is a broader concept that includes car-sharing services, public transit, infrastructure, hardware and software, and more — in short, all of the actors and enablers involved in moving people (and goods) from one point to another on the ground.
- Healthcare: Low-latency networks and high densities of connected devices and sensors make it possible to monitor patients at home in real time, which could be a major boon in the treatment of chronic diseases. Data can flow seamlessly throughout entire medical systems to smooth operations and coordinate care.
- Manufacturing: Manufacturing and other advanced industries can run highly precise operations using low-latency and private 5G networks. Smart factories powered by analytics, artificial intelligence, and advanced robotics can run at maximum efficiency, optimizing and adjusting processes in real time—not only on select assembly lines but across multiple plants.
- Retail: Retailers can use sensors, trackers, and computer vision to manage inventory, improve warehouse operations, and coordinate along the supply chain. Connectivity can support frictionless in-store experiences—for example, eliminating checkout and adding augmented reality for better product information.
The use cases that we discussed in the above section alone can increase the global GDP by $1.2-$2 Trillion USD by 2030. This would be a 5 percent increase in the GDP contribution by these sectors.In the four domains we studied, advanced connectivity can enable some 70 to 80 percent of the economic potential. As connectivity improves and hardware and applications become more affordable and mainstream, there is much more room for adoption to spread across domains, driving bigger productivity gains.
While the potential impact and the impending disruption of 5G cannot be ignored, it is critical first to develop relative ecosystems of networks that shall seamlessly integrate and upgrade the existing network systems. Technology service providers, with various competencies such as Internet access, compliance, data and log storage capabilities shall be critical to this upgrade. Anyways, the 5G revolution has already commenced, are you on board?