Posted on November 8, 2017 by staff

5G transition will have ‘winners and losers’


Businesses should embrace 5G and be part of the transition in order to thrive says Dr Kevin Kettler, CTO of communications and enterprise compute business group at Flex.

The next generation of cellular technology will bring increased bandwidth offering over a gigabit per second in data transfer rates, speeds usually only available through things like a direct fibre connection.

It will also allow lower latency meaning 5G can respond to requests much faster.

The changes will affect a number of different industries, which will all have winners and losers, believes Kettler.

“Winners will be those that embrace the new technology, deliver services in a ‘time-to-market’ fashion and lead the transition to 5G,” Kettler told BusinessCloud.

“There will be some that aren’t able to cope with that – maybe their business model is not aligned properly – but there are always winners and losers in these transitions.

“Translate this to the wider impact on businesses and the thing that will emerge is a lot of businesses will have the opportunity to participate in a wider range of services that might not have been possible with 4G.”

These services will be around things like the Internet of Things (IoT), which will have the opportunity to add more devices with far longer battery lives to networks.

“It’s not just a case of moving bandwidth ahead a bit and saying your phone will be a bit faster,” said Kettler.

“It’s opening that up and saying you can add thousands of devices on a network that can work and will be active for five years on a single battery.”

5G will also benefit businesses by removing physical infrastructure costs, says Kettler.

“The cost to go and outfit a building with Ethernet which is then fed to fibre and then to whoever your ISP is can be costly, especially for start-ups,” he said.

“The model you have with 5G might be a single piece of equipment at the premise.

“You now have wireless cellular capability to the building and within that you can use Wi-Fi to distribute it so you’ve eliminated a huge part of the cost of wiring the building.

“Whether you’re a small or big business 5G can bring cost saving to the market because the bandwidth is sufficient that people can be productive at 1GB per second.”

All this means that the advent of 5G is a very significant moment for technology, says Kettler.

“This will be a very distinct jump,” he said.

“Historically the big jump a few years back was moving to data enablement. When cellular first came out it was just phone calls then data capabilities were added to cellular service. This to me is as big as that.

“What you’re enabling, especially with the low latency and high bandwidth combined, is such a magnitude of new application areas. It will make a pretty drastic difference.”

These changes will also signal a change in the role of service providers as boundaries become blurred says Kettler.

“Who will you pay for automobile services?” he said.

“Will you be paying a telco operator so your autonomous vehicle works? Are you paying Netlfix directly or paying your telco operator for media coming into your home?

“A lot of traditional dynamics that were self-contained will now have crossover of connectivity and business models will shift.”