Perhaps one of the highly anticipated developments in the tech world next year is the widespread rollout of 5G.
5G isn’t just an incremental upgrade from the current standard connectivity 4G. Advanced 5G connectivity can reach up to 20GBps—anywhere between 100 to 250 times faster than 4G. Not only that, it has lower latency, a bigger bandwidth, and a much more reliable connection.
Right now, all four major carriers in the US have already started limited rollouts of 5G in various cities across the country. Other countries like South Korea and China have also followed suit. However, in India the debate on whether to let Huawei service 5G in the country may push back the timeline by up to two years.
Even though the technology is still in its nascent stage and use cases are still being developed, the benefits of 5G are truly revolutionary. From potentially eliminating traffic to changing the way our data is governed, we’ve rounded up five ways in which 5G will change the world.
It will change the way we live
Apart from lightning speed connections, 5G will enable a smarter way of life via the Internet of Things. These interconnected devices and sensors over a wireless network are what we see in our homes through innovations such as smart speakers. With 5G, smart cities with thousands of sensors exchanging real-time data will be feasible. Sustainable solutions like smart power grids that regulate city power output and consumption can now be implemented widely.
It will accelerate productivity increases
The real-time connection and outstanding network reliability of 5G will make self-driving cars and fleets possible. With broader bandwidth, 5G sensors can connect up to a million devices over a small distance. Traffic congestion could be potentially eliminated as cars will be able to use sensors to regulate traffic flow using location data. In agriculture, 5G can implement precision farming. Sensor enabled drones can be automatically activated to tend to the needs of farms while reducing fuel and water waste.
It can create a whole new world
Anticipating the 5G shift, The Verge reports that Google has recently updated its ARCore augmented reality platform with a “save button”. This feature known as persistent cloud anchors can leave virtual objects in specific locations—creating a mixed reality layer in the world. 5G’s instantaneous connectivity opens up a world of possibilities for AR and virtual reality. The education sector will also be a huge beneficiary of AR and VR applications that 5G will enable.
It can change how we govern data
With an increase in capabilities for end-point connectivity, the technology will create what Datanami calls the 5G data crush. This will result in a surge in the amount of data that will be readily available, which in turn will significantly impact organisations and how they accommodate this larger volume of data at a much high speed.
An example of this is how it will affect the legal industry through applications like eDiscovery. A feature by legal experts Special Counsel on ‘What is eDiscovery? 4 Common Questions for Beginners’ describes it as the collection of evidence in the form of electronic data, which comes from servers, phones, computers, social media, and many other sources. This data is then uploaded to electronic databases for processing and to be reviewed. 5G will make the collection of this data much faster. As more cases are decided using data retrieved from devices, 5G is set to have a big impact in criminal cases.
5G’s expansion of data will also become a global issue. India’s 5G adoption is currently at the middle of geopolitical tensions between US and China. This includes key issues of surveillance, sharing intel, and cross-border data flow. Both countries are fighting over who would control the data with the US wanting to develop a system that excludes China. This shows how 5G will most probably be at the centre of geological issues going forward.
It can save lives
With virtually no latency at up to 1 millisecond, 5G can deploy precision robotics where it matters. Aside from preventing car collisions with connected fleets, it can also enable robotic surgery. In fact, a surgeon in China has already performed the world’s first remote operation. Tele-presence and tele-surgery are just some of the applications where 5G’s real-time connectivity will matter the most.
As seen with 4G, the wide rollout of 5G will definitely help drive global innovation and disruption.