The arrival of 5G is imminent but what effect will it actually have on businesses in the UK?
5G is the next generation of connected technology requiring lower energy cost to connect to a network. Using less congested, higher radio frequencies will enable information to be carried more speedily and networks will be capable of coping with more high demand applications at once.
The technology will also enable a new approach to how virtual networks are used, with the ability to divide the physical network into slices so only the amount required will actually be used. This will further speed up response times as network speed is currently defined by the number of users, hence the rush hour slowdown when the majority of commuters are trying to look at Instagram or do their online Tesco shop.
Rollout is due to begin this year across highly populated areas and will be continued across the rest of the UK over the next five to six years. Once 5G is widely available, it’s predicted that there will be an increase of around £15.7 billion in business revenues by 2025.
The fourth industrial revolution
In many respects 5G is a game-changer. Consistent and uninterrupted connectivity will make the ‘Internet of Things’ a far more significant part of people’s daily lives, with reliance on WiFi no longer necessary. 5G-enabled tools such as smart fridges will save householders £450 a year through lower food and energy bills while we can expect to see the rise of ‘smart cities’ where energy grids, traffic signals and emergency services are all linked. (Source: 5g.co.uk)
The advances in technology will also have an effect on all avenues of industry, from healthcare (ie robotic surgery and remote patient monitoring) to manufacturing (smart factories), leading to efficiencies in time and cost savings.
For the marketing world too, 5G will offer up a myriad of possibilities from smarter ad hoardings to instant and interactive behind-the-scenes footage at sports or music events. With rapid improvements to video streaming (a full HD movie with take less than 10 seconds to download), VR and AR, uptake of these enhanced channels is likely to increase dramatically in line with the shorter latency times.
The sticking point in the 5G revolution is that a 5G-enabled phone will be required to take advantage of the benefits. The first devices are likely to be expensive and won’t be able to be used to their full potential in many places – Apple isn’t likely to launch such a device until at least 2020. Nevertheless the dawn of the fourth industrial revolution isn’t far away, and a world characterised by connectivity and digitalisation is well within our reach.
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