It’s impossible to avoid the buzz around 5G networks as governments, telecommunications providers and vendors vie over who will lead the next generation of mobile internet connectivity. 5G promises to offer significantly faster speeds and more reliable connection to mobile devices than any network before it. That said, 5G is about more than fast internet. The exponential growth in the capacity to carry more data faster will push unparalleled growth in Internet of Things (IoT) technology projects.
The shift from gigabits per second to megabytes per second
When 5G is fully implemented, the network of smaller, more densely-deployed antennae will have a speed that is immensely disruptive. The digital transformation will be more widely felt than any preceding network shift thus far. Early tests exemplify the the magnitude of the impact. These tests have suggested that 5G networks will be as much as 100 times faster than today’s mobile networks. Bandwidth will be measured in gigabits per second rather than megabytes. This provides less strain on batteries and computers. 5G will also have a much higher capacity for how many devices and sensors it can manage at scale.
Today, network coverage is typically optimized around people with smartphones on the move. And 5G is primed to connect every object by combining new technologies in new ways. By leveraging Beamforming techniques, mid-band spectrums (1-6 GHz), and smaller cells, the coverage benefits 5G delivers will expand the power of the network to cover exponentially more users, devices, sensors, and connected vehicles.
Some industries will adapt faster to 5G networks
In time, there won’t be any industry left untouched by the increased speed and capacity of IoT and 5G networks. However, there are several areas that will be able to adapt earlier than others and feel the benefits faster. Smart buildings, cities, agriculture, and infrastructure, with their increasing initial adoption of IoT projects at the Proof of Concept project level today, will find that the increased capacity and speed will empower them to expand their use cases beyond initial wayfinding implementations. 1 We will see greater deployments of automated drone operations, enhancements to automated building energy efficiency optimization, increasingly contextual and personalized proximity messaging, strategic uses of geofencing in large facilities, and more.2
As a testament to the anticipated industry growth, analysts at the IBM Institute of Business Value estimate that by 2035, the 5G value chain will drive upwards of USD 3.5 trillion of new economic output, supporting 22 million jobs.3 5G networks will enable IoT implementations in our daily lives. It will go beyond the gimmicky and use location-aware technology to meaningfully alter our experience of place forever.
5G will accelerate innovation to forge a new reality
Full 5G network deployment will depend on the way that hardware and connectivity issues are addressed by regulators and vendors. But it will likely still be several years before we feel its full effect. Enterprise organizations that want to be ready for the 5G jump can start preparing today by laying the foundation for IoT use cases. Regardless of application, location-awareness and geospatial context will be integral to project success. Digitized indoor maps of large complex facilities provide the necessary location information to give sensor data meaning. For example, indoor maps are key to enabling hospitals to track high value assets like insulin pumps and their statuses throughout their buildings. And without indoor maps, warehouses won’t be able to successfully designate parameters for machine learning in drone navigation.
According to the MIT Technology Review, a major independent study found that 5G will have the potential to “unlock up to $12.3 trillion revenue across a broad range of industries”4 and accelerate innovation and growth across all industries for those who embrace it early. When we are eventually living in a 5G IoT-enabled world, the organizations that made the first move, will thrive. They’ll actively change the way we experience this new reality and interact with our world. These are the organizations that had an open architecture and laid the foundation with indoor maps and digital twins of their facilities in 2019.
3 IBM, How 5G can spark an electronics revolution, IBM Institute of Business Value
3MIT Technology Review, The 5G Economy: How 5G will Impact Global Industries, The Economy, and You