Despite the inevitable panic stories and doom-mongering from certain quarters, the roll out of 5G is an inevitability over the coming months.
You only have to think about the advances that 4G, and even 3G brought to understand just how significant next-generation connectivity will be – remember using WAP in the pre-3G era?
Given our modern-day obsession with mobile tech, the implications of 5G in our personal lives go without saying. Higher speed and reduced latency will make streaming movies on Netflix or going up against a live dealer at the Betsson online casino blackjack table as smooth a process on mobile as it is on your home broadband connection. However, 5G is going to be about more than fun and games. It could also have a profound effect on the way we do business in the 2020s.
Latency is concerned with the time lag between a command being issued and a response received. With 4G, it’s around 50 milliseconds, but in a 5G environment, this will be reduced to around one millisecond. Gamers are celebrating at the thought, as it will make it possible to play live action games like FIFA against opponents anywhere in the world as if they were in the same room. But it will also have valuable commercial applications.
Any business that uses drones, robots or other remote systems will have dramatically improved control. For example, we could soon see surgeons performing operations remotely using robots or search and rescue agencies sending drones out into hazardous environments.
Another key property of 5G is that it utilises a wider frequency range than previous generations. The result is far more capacity – it can be likened to suddenly being able to increase the number of lanes on a busy motorway from three to 300. Just imagine the effect that would have on the rush hour.
The result for businesses is that network efficiency will go through the roof, while struggling for bandwidth at major events and conferences will be consigned to history.
The move towards smart offices
5G is going to be about more than just smartphones. The above factors relating to latency and capacity will make cellular technology the go-to for all sorts of other devices. These might include plants, drones, autonomous vehicles, stock management systems and lots more.
In other words, the IoT revolution that is already happening in our homes will inevitably spread to the workplace. Connected factories and smart cities might sound like science fiction, but they will be a routine part of life as we move through the decade.
VR and AR
On the subject of science fiction, augmented and virtual reality are technologies that have been around for a while but have yet to live up to the promise of the Star Trek holodeck. 5G won’t necessarily achieve that, but it will provide the necessary ecosystem for VR and AR to fully develop.
Faster connection speeds will enable cloud-based processing, thereby reducing the need for bulky, expensive headsets. The possibilities for customer-facing businesses such as estate agents, car manufacturers and travel companies are immense, and the AR market is expected to grow from $6 billion today to almost $200 billion by 2025.