We have already talked in detail about the nature, traits, and inner workings of the 5G network standard in a previous article. As this new technology spreads across the globe, people often wonder where it will prove to be the most relevant. Based on current industry trends, the greatest impact of 5G on business will be in services and automation. This infrastructure aims to facilitate the deployment of transformative services and integrate vast amounts of data with consumer-oriented products. Let’s see in which tech aspects we can expect the biggest opportunities and how they might manifest in practice.
The Need for Speed
A decade ago, people considered 3.5G completely sufficient to cover all consumer needs for mobile bandwidth. People accessed the internet via mobile devices in a relatively modest manner. Video streaming was just becoming popular and social media was yet to take off. The quality and latency were solid for that state of the market, but technology evolves. Take a look at just a handful of industries: gaming, video content production, and streaming, telemedicine. All of these rely on increasing bandwidth, low latency, interconnectivity, and ever-growing capacity. If you couple these trends with global events like the Covid19 pandemic, the need for fast and reliable information sharing becomes even more apparent.
Many are looking to work from home, but also increasingly from areas where they might not have wi-fi access. Imagine you want to work from a cabin in the woods, but you have no infrastructure apart from electricity. 5G would allow you to easily secure all the bandwidth you’d need for completing an important job function and for 4K video streaming. Big video conferences and resource sharing? Check. This opens a huge window of opportunity for augmented and virtual reality, where 5G will serve as a catalyst. These industries have to deliver seamless user experience, and increasing the attention to detail plays a key role. The richer the animations and the more lifelike the models, the higher the chance for market success. The same goes for large-scale event organization and the entertainment industry in general.
Besides the bandwidth boost, another advantage of 5G will be incredibly low latency. This plays a crucial role in developing new types of business applications and greatly improving existing ones. Low latency is paramount in any situation where we need rapid coordination between devices. This specifically impacts machines and devices which operate in physical space. For example, drones and other unmanned vehicles are able to communicate in rescue missions. Robotic surgeons would be able to conduct extremely precise and delicate procedures with a very low tolerance for errors.
Even more importantly, humans will be able to use these devices from any location with no fear of delays. Imagine a surgeon from Singapore using a remote laser to operate on someone in Oregon in real-time. Low latency also allows for the design and implementation of devices whose functioning needs to be instantaneous for maximum effect. Thus, hardware manufacturers are looking at new possibilities in various domains, but mostly focusing on sensors. Add to this a host of new control apps and you can expect a ton of new business startups opening in response to increased demand.
Greater network capacity doesn’t just mean that we can serve more devices at the same time. It also translates into an ability to communicate between these devices and create even more valuable data. Using 5G, we could accommodate millions of sensors per square mile and enable even more IoT devices. This will allow better services in rerouting traffic, managing air pollution, and improving emergency responses. Companies with fleets or complex machinery could leverage this to speed up processes in their asset management activities. The impact of 5G will also extend to traditional jobs such as warehousing, stock management, and supply chain logistics. Increased connectivity further benefits small businesses as they will get access to cheaper and more effective service niches as 5G progresses.
Industries Looking to Benefit the Most
Based on current trends, 5G will eventually reach every single mobile user on the planet. The industries that will benefit most are:
Healthcare – 5G will facilitate remote surgeries from across the globe. Moreover, it will change the way people look at diagnostics. Patients will be able to upload complex patient data in real-time. This includes high-quality images, videos, and various other data types. On the other side, AI-powered algorithms will be able to process them in the cloud and provide rapid responses.
5G and Automotive
Self-driving cars used to be reserved for sci-fi novels and movies. Now, they’re being tested and perfected as we speak (Tesla, Waymo, etc.). This is one of the industries where close-to-zero latency plays a pivotal role. 5G will not only impact personal cars but freighters and heavy-duty trucking as well. Along with healthcare, autonomous vehicles are part of a huge industry where human safety is always a concern. 5G will also allow smart cars to monitor passenger health and simultaneously contribute to user wellbeing and resource efficiency.
5G and Retail
This industry is already undergoing tremendous changes as more and more people are buying online. However, there are still active limitations, almost universally related to items one would have to try on or customize. Retail could see a huge Augmented Reality (AR) boost which would help customers see how these products look in physical space. It would also allow for authentic virtual browsing and groundbreaking multi-sensory shopping experiences.
5G and Entertainment
Cloud gaming is already becoming a thing, and it is highly dependent on low latency. If latency is negligible, someone using 5G can easily enjoy games without the need for buying expensive hardware. The gaming-as-a-service sector is therefore poised to increase drastically. The expansion of socially driven AR/VR games is all but guaranteed in this sphere. Having tens of thousands of users being able to simultaneously communicate during events such as concerts will create new communities and bring a whole new layer of value.
Rest assured that this is just a glimpse of things to come. As with any new infrastructure, we expect the full impact of 5G on business to generate a host of new entrepreneurial ideas.