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How Will 5G Affect Business?

– Contributed content –

Abstract network graphic

(Pexels.com)

12 Oct. 2020. 5G is already being adopted around the world as we speak. This technology will likely have a huge impact on businesses in the next few years. Below is a brief guide to 5G and what to expect from this new generation of mobile network.

What is 5G?

Since the very first cellular network was introduced back in the 70s, wireless technology has constantly been improved upon. Each technological leap has been referred to as a ‘generation’ – shortened to as ‘G’.

With each new generation, the frequency and bandwidth has been increased, allowing more information to be transmitted at faster speeds. This has resulted in huge advances in technology as a whole. For instance, it was 3G that first enabled smartphones to come into existence, while 4G made it possible to watch videos on the move.

5G is the fifth generation of cellular network and it is expected to unlock even more technological potential. Things you might not have dreamt of ever being able to do on a smartphone could become possible in the next few years. Meanwhile, many other devices reliant on this network could also evolve drastically.

What are the key benefits of 5G?

Understanding the benefits of 5G can be useful when understanding its application in the business world. Below are some of the main advantages of 5G compared to previous generations.

Faster speeds

The fastest 4G networks are currently capable of managing 1GB per second. 5G could theoretically achieve speeds of 20GB per second – which is ridiculously fast.

This could drastically affect download speeds. Large files such as HD videos that currently take minutes to download on a 4G network could take seconds to download on a 5G network. For businesses that deal with large downloads, this could speed up work dramatically.

Ultra-low latency

One of the biggest benefits of 5G is its ultra-low latency. Latency refers to the delay between a command being issued and a response being made.

4G currently has a delay of 40 to 50 milliseconds, while superfast fixed broadband has a delay of 10 to 20 seconds. 5G beats them all with a delay of just 1 millisecond.

This means that there’s virtually no delay, allowing commands and responses to be made in real time. This could allow businesses greater control when operating remote machinery. Surgeons may be able to carry out operations from remote locations using robots, carrying them out with necessary precision. Remote-controlled emergency drones will be able to react to changing environments instantly. It could create many new possibilities as to what can be carried out remotely.

Greater capacity

5G networks will be able to handle more data usage at once. Many high demand applications will be able to be operated simultaneously.

At big events, users may no longer struggle to get a signal because of this. Consequently, it could be a key technology in the events industry with businesses creating mass AR experiences.

This greater capacity is also thought to be the catalyst for ‘smart cities’. Everything from street lights to trains will be able to be controlled remotely.

Stronger connection

5G promises to be a much more reliable form of network connection. Connection dropouts will be greatly reduced to the point that they may never be a problem again.

This will make a big difference to everyday businesses when it comes to tasks such as video-conferencing. However, it could also have a big impact when it comes to tasks like conducting surgery remotely or remotely operating vehicles – no connection dropouts will be essential if these tasks are to be carried out safely.

Which technologies will boom as a result of 5G?

5G will lead to many modern technologies becoming more mainstream as they become easier to implement. A few of the technologies that are likely to boom include:

Videoconferencing

The pandemic has prompted many of us to give video conferencing a go. 5G’s stronger connection could mean no more awkward connection dropouts and a much smoother video transmission. This could make videoconferencing a much more favored form of communication for many professionals on the move. Video conversations will feel closer to real life conversations and the amount of traveling that is currently necessary for meetings could be reduced.

Virtual reality       

One key technology that is thought to boom as a result of 5G is VR (virtual reality). This technology is going to have its biggest impact in the gaming industry – it will be possible to create multiplayer VR mobile games that have little to no latency. Businesses may be able to use VR to create virtual tours. Already, some businesses like hotels and realtors have started embracing VR – we may see more of this emerging as 5G makes it easier to deliver to customers.

Augmented reality

AR (augmented reality) involves combining virtual elements into the real world. The most notable example is Pokémon Go, which allows you to visualize Pokémon in real world locations using your camera. The potential of AR in business is likely to be greater than that of AR. Already, companies like Ikea allow you to visualize different types of furniture within your living room using AR to see how they would fit. Businesses may start introducing this technology in other industries such as allowing you to virtually try on clothes, as well as bringing historic exhibits to life. 5G’s greater capacity may involve mass AR experiences – which could transform experiences within the entertainment sector such as theatre, concerts, re-enactments and escape rooms.

Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things is also expected to boom as a result of 5G. Greater capacity, greater connection and low latency will affect what can be controlled remotely. In emergency response occupations, drones will be able to be remote-controlled more easily and will be able to make real-time responses to threats. Meanwhile, in your everyday office, it may pave the way for better smart security allowing business owners to monitor their offices remotely on a camera from home and control features such as turning of lights and locking doors. Smart cities may also come into existence – trains and buses will be able to be controlled remotely, braking instantly if necessary.

Concerns with 5G

There have been a few concerns surrounding 5G, many of which have been based on false information. Here are some of the common concerns answered:

Will the cloud become defunct?

There’s been some talk about how 5G may render certain elements of the cloud obsolete, but in most cases this will not be the case – the cloud will serve as a necessary technology for unlocking 5G’s full potential. Cloud-aligned networks such as the Oracle 5G core network are likely to be commonly used by many larger businesses. In other words, the cloud isn’t going anywhere.

Will 5G destroy millions of jobs?

There are fears that 5G’s potential combined with the rising capabilities of automation could result in millions of job losses. Many manual jobs involving maintenance, transportation and construction will have the power to be done using robots – however there’s no guarantee that this will happen across the board. 5G will likely create new jobs as well as rendering certain jobs obsolete. It is too early to say what the full impact will be.

Does 5G carry health risks?

There have been some outrageous health claims surrounding 5G – including the fact that it is responsible for coronavirus. The most common concern is that 5G’s radio frequency radiation could increase the risk of developing cancer from exposure. While certain studies have linked radio frequency radiation to cancer, the risk is extremely low – in fact, 5G is likely to be no more dangerous than using talcum powder or eating pickled vegetables.

Making the move to 5G

Businesses all around the world are going to be taking advantage of 5G’s potential in the next few years. In many industries, it will be a case of adapting or falling behind. Below are some ways in which your business can prepare for 5G.

  •         Work out which tasks will be able to benefit from 5G. For many businesses, this is likely to include tasks like video-communication and controlling processes remotely. Having a company app will likely become more commonplace – if your business hasn’t got an app already, you may want to start by considering what app features you could benefit from.
  •         Work out the costs associated with developing new technologies. The cost of implementing robots or developing an app could be high – so make sure that your budget extends to this. Certain technologies may be able to make you a return in the long run, making them worthwhile investments.

·         Take inspiration from other businesses. Once 5G becomes widespread, we will start seeing some of the creative and lucrative ways in which it can be used. By paying attention to what competitors are doing and adopting some of their methods, you can avoid falling too far behind.

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