By Austin Rowlands
You may have heard 5G is not just about phones. No, it promises to usher in the era of self-driving cars, robotic surgery, smart cities and, a phrase we will be hearing a lot more of over the next few years, the “Internet of Things”… but more about that later.
Don’t worry if this all sounds a bit overwhelming, we’re still at the very beginning of the 5G era. A lot of these big changes are probably still some way off into the future – especially when you consider there are some areas of the country still without 4G connectivity.
But while we might still have some way to go before we see the real business transformative effects of 5G, it’s worth knowing how 5G will change your business, so you can start preparing.
Here are the 5 ways 5G will transform your business . . .
Of all the benefits that 5G will bring to your business, the most noticeable one will be speed.
There is some disagreement over exactly how much faster 5G will be than 4G. While 4G turns out 100Mbps, according to EE, with 5G it will be 10 Gbps. However, an Opensignal report using data collected by users from April- September 2019 found that the real-world 5G speeds were around 599Mbps.
But as 5G evolves and becomes less dependent on current 4G infrastructure, and more spectrum becomes available, it is expected that 5G download speeds will be 100 times faster than 4G.
Whatever the speed, one thing is clear: 5G will allow companies to move huge volumes of data in minimal time – freeing up more time for your staff to focus on tasks that require human attention.
However, you might not notice a huge difference in the early days as it will depend on which spectrum band your operator runs on and how much your area has invested in new 5G transmitters. The signs are that the rollout of 5G could well be a bit of a postcode lottery.
2. Real-Time Enterprise
How much of a change this will really make is up for debate, but there is often a lag in time from when data is sent to when it’s received. Currently, with 4G it is believed the delay is around 40-50 milliseconds, whereas with 5G it will be 1 millisecond.
This means for the first time ever businesses will be able to respond to information, actions and events at the very moment they occur – allowing for real-time enterprise. Maybe you think this won’t make a huge difference to your business, and, depending on your industry, you might well be right.
But for some industries, this feature will be highly significant, or even essential. For example, a maintenance engineer on an oil rig or in a remote factory could get “real-time” help from an expert back in the office using 3D reality goggles or transmitting HD video imagery.
3. Greater Capacity for Data
Yes, when it comes to the capacity for data, size matters, but you already knew that. Today’s businesses are fuelled by data, and the amount we are consuming is growing too quickly for existing bands and networks to cope with.
In the case of 5G, the bit pipe will be bigger allowing for a greater capacity for much more data than ever before. 5G will be able to support up to a 100-fold increase in traffic capacity and network efficiency compared to 4G in order to cope with simultaneous high-demand applications.
The opportunities for business is that this means more information will be more accessible to help with important decision making. This will be known as the era of Big Data (another phrase to remember). Many tech experts are predicting the true 5G revolution will be about data capacity rather than speed.
4. Automated Vehicles
5G is expected to usher in the use of technology that makes self-driving cars a reality.
Ok, now we’re entering the realms of a sci-fi fantasy. Sounds nice but what does it mean for your business?
The theory is that because employees won’t have to drive themselves, they will be free to work as they travel to work. Instead of getting frustrated with the slow-moving rush hour traffic, your staff will be able to utilise this time more productively by finishing off that report or going over plans for that project.
If you work in an industry that relies on the transportation of goods, you may have already guessed this will eventually mean driverless vans and lorries – experts even predict this could be a reality within the next ten to fifteen years.
Good for saving costs of hiring drivers, but perhaps not so great for the lorry driver workforce. One potential flaw with all this is, as we mentioned, not all areas will have great 5G connectivity so quite what happens if one of these automated vehicles goes off grid isn’t quite clear –just don’t be in the car behind it when it happens.
5.The Internet of Things
Maybe you’re not overwhelmed by the changes mentioned so far but the best has been saved for last.
It would be fair to say the most revolutionary change 5G will bring for businesses is that it will mean our devices and machines will be able to connect to a base station from which they can all be operated from.
This is going to be the age of the Internet of Things, where our devices and machines start talking to and working with one another. There is no doubt this will open up endless possibilities for businesses.
For example, a factory may well become fully self-sufficient with robotics. An office will be able to monitor occupancy and adjust lighting and temperature accordingly. In retail, customers will be able to view information about a product simply by pointing their phone at it, thus removing the need for sales assistants. Whatever industry you’re in, there is no doubt this technology will increase productivity and reduce costs.
As you’re reading this, you may have picked upon the fact, the introduction of 5G may well mean a lot of our currently existing jobs will be done by machines and quite what implications this will have on the job market is still unclear – the theory is that the age of the “Internet of Things” will create new jobs and industries we haven’t yet considered.
Is Your Business Ready for 5G?
5G is going to mean big changes. In fact, there probably won’t be an area of your business that won’t be affected. But there’s no need to panic just yet. The shift to 5G won’t happen overnight , in fact you can expect a gradual process as 5G will continue to run alongside 4G as the changes are slowly implemented.
That said, now would be a good time to begin preparing so your business. You might want to consider updating all your devices and equipment to make them 5G compatible. The first step would be to start transferring systems and services essential to your business into the cloud before 5G arrives.
If you have the resources, we would recommend hiring a 5G implantation expert or team as every area of your business will have to be considered as these changes come into force.
About the Author
Austin Rowlands is a content writer at leading exhibition company Quadrant2Design, with extensive experience in the exhibition and events industry. He writes exhibiting guides for Quadrant2Design – to help businesses with all their exhibition needs. In addition to this, he writes press releases to promote exhibition events, as well as exhibiting feature articles for various industries.