With tons of recent news coverage, we don’t have to tell you that 5G networks are just around the corner. But while you might have heard of it, do you really know what it is? Do you know what the new technology will do beyond creating faster high speed connections and promoting lower latency? Do you know what 5G will mean for the mobile industry? Some of you might not. And we’re here to answer a few of these questions and tell you that surprisingly, what happens to your smartphone will be the least interesting thing of 5G.
Ad Age, a leading global source of news, intelligence and conversation for marketing and media communities, published an article that discusses how 5G, the next generation of mobile, could make smartphones the least interesting thing in the mobile industry.
For marketers, the arrival of 5G networks couldn’t be more exciting. Not only will 5G help push the digital takeover agenda by promoting autonomous car and virtually trying on the latest fashion trends, but it will also bring millions of rural customers into the high-speed data lanes. In other words, marketers are ready to start increasing sales of their products to a new batch of consumers. Furthermore, it is predicted that 5G could be the necessary factor to disrupt the digital duopoly of Google and Facebook by arming telecom companies with unprecedented data for ad services.
In other words, 5G will likely push the boundaries of our already technologically led society towards a more advanced digital age, where just about anything can be made into a mobile device. In fact, Julie Coppernoll, VP of global marketing at Intel, believes that within the coming years the term ‘mobile’ will be dead. “I think nothing will be ‘mobile’ anymore because everything will be mobile,” she comments.
When 4G technology was introduced nearly eight years ago, wearables and a majority of the mobile technology on the market today were still distant ideas. But just as 4G ushered in the Internet of Things, 5G is predicted to bring about far more connected devices, wearables that churn through data at astonishing rates, self-driving cars and improved augmented and virtual reality. But in it’s push to create a ‘smarter’ version of everything, the smartphone may be left behind in the dust of other devices.
“IoT today and even in the future, won’t consume tons of data,” said Andrew Sherrad, chief marketing officer at T-Mobile. “ If you start thinking about wearables that also use video, that’s where you’re going to see lots of data needs.”
Not having to worry about network congestion means that designers can rely on connectivity in a way they can’t today, and low latency means that real-time computations can be made with the assistance of services running in the cloud. And that means a huge boost for artificial intelligence software and all of its associated technologies, such as autonomous cars; voice-controlled systems like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant; and robotics.
5G will be “the equivalent on what the browser did for the Internet,” Sherrad added. “I really think it is going to explore with IoT and all kinds of other things and innovation we haven’t even imagined yet. When you get people out there working on new tech, and creating new content and integrating it into our lives in new ways, I feel we’re all going to be surprised by it.”
But this doesn’t mean that 4G networks aren’t dead just yet. “5G is not ready, and it is maturing quickly, but it is not real today and I can’t go deploy a 5G radio to serve my customers with and give them a handset. But my goodness, can I deliver a tremendous network experience with [4G] LTE,” T-Mobile Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray comments.
Another exciting feature of 5G that will revolutionize the mobile industry is the fact that an estimated 29 billion connected devices will be on the market by 2021, according to Ericsson, a Swedish multinational networking and telecommunications company headquartered in Stockholm. In an age of more connected devices, many experts are calling 5G the “post-smartphone era”. Instead, it will be an age where machine-to-machine talking will take over the market.
Rob Topol, general manager of 5G at Intel comments that these devices, “won’t necessarily communicate up through a network. There is no need for them to congest the network with the information they are sending. Instead, they can just communicate to each other.” Through sensors hooked up to devices like robots, bumpers, windows, clothes, appliances, and just about anything else you can think of, machines will be able to communicate with one another without the use of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The cost of this type of connectivity, and the freedom it will bring with it, will likely be baked into the product at the point of purchase, similar to the way Amazon includes the cost to download a book to a Kindle without a paid connection.
Many other technologies are likely to be enhanced by 5G, including the Internet of Things and applications we haven’t yet conceived of, but which could soon become vital to our lives. 5G is likely to become the glue that binds many of our critical technologies together, which will put mobile carriers at the center of modern global civilization in a big way.