The fifth generation of mobile communications, also known as 5G, promises to lower energy consumption, maintenance costs, and latency, and have higher data rates and system capacity. These may seem like some enticing benefits, but it may not justify the huge cost, which Bloomberg estimates to be $200 billion a year. However, 5G technology has the capability to massively impact the Internet of Things (IoT).
While there is considerable buzz about 5G, it appears that large scale implementation is still a while down the road. We may start to see some 5G capabilities begin to roll out sometime next year, with full-scale 5G deployments around 2025. The adoption rate of 5G solutions ultimately depends on the business values of each case as well as how fast the capability can be developed. Each solution will have varying conditions of speed, reliability, density, data rate, latency, coverage and location accuracy.
Analysts such as Gartner are predicting about 20 billion connected things by 2020 and Research and Markets, is reporting the global 5G market will soar to a whopping $277 billion by 2025, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 111% between this year and 2025.
Benefits of 5G
As each new generation arrives, more capabilities and faster connections come along with them. Benefits are forecasted to include:
- Better Connectivity: 5G cell towers will have increased connectivity over the 4G/LTE towers, which means that more devices can connect at the same time.
- Reduced Latency: Lag time will be drastically reduced, enabling fewer delays in data being sent and received.
- Faster Connection: 5G speeds are predicted to be about 10x faster than is possible with 4G.
5G Impact on IoT
One of the most significant benefits of 5G connection is the impact it has on the Internet of Things (IoT).
IoT can enhance the safety and security of people, monitor our health, streamline operations and enable more efficient use of power. In our previous blog post, Top IoT Adoption Challenges we mentioned that it is predicted there will be more than a trillion connected devices in use by 2020. According to Bain & Company, it is estimated that next year the B2B IoT market will surpass $300 billion. Additionally, IoT spending overall is predicted to reach $1.2 trillion in 2022 according to data from IDC.
With IoT’s increasing growth and 5G’s promised benefits, it may seem obvious for companies to upgrade to 5G. However, many IoT businesses don’t need to incorporate 5G because its benefits will not increase their current performance on 4G networks, hence there is no business case for the cost of an upgrade. The areas that will benefit the most from 5G require low latency, such as robotic surgery or autonomous vehicles.
Another big impact for businesses is the ability for 5G to handle huge data volumes with large transaction rates from remote or mobile locations. Enterprises are likely to see the most significant early benefits from 5G because of the increased ability to secure data from remote sensors and move it to large data centers. Applying AI and machine learning techniques to that data will enable real-time analysis.
Industries and Sectors Most Affected by 5G and IoT
The major 5G network deployments expected by 2020 and the related technologies will create opportunities across many industries, according to CB Insights. Here are the sectors expected to feel the greatest impact from the emergences of 5G and IoT.
- Sensors are used in factories to monitor supplies, equipment health and speeds, the supply of power to the machines, and environmental conditions such as extreme heat or cold, humidity or unusual vibrations. Currently, many of these sensors are connected with wires, but 5G will make it possible for these sensors to be connected wirelessly. Manufacturers will also benefit from related opportunities to build new 5G products.
- 5G speed will enhance remote robotic surgery, thus improving patient results while at the same time lowering costs. Additionally, 5G can help improve population health and welfare by predicting possible medical problems and constructing early interventions.
- Smart home technology is becoming ubiquitous with many homeowners installing smart products such as speakers, motion sensors, and thermostats. The emergence of 5G would allow for the number of IoT devices to grow providing many with greater security, safety, and health at home as well as the workplace.
- 5G and IoT can help push along the development of smart cities powered by millions of sensors placed in every imaginable way to produce actionable data in real-time.
The mobility revolution sparked improved citizen engagement and accelerated the government’s transition to more digital-based services. With 5G, we can expect greatly enhanced and new forms of citizen engagement to emerge.
5G is the foundation for realizing the full potential of IoT
Mobile 5G-enhanced connectivity will make sharing video nearly as fast as sending text messages is today, enhancing the power of video as a tool to exchange information – whether for critical public safety issues or mundane pothole repairs. 5G will impact nearly everything government touches — school safety, management of the homeless population, public health matters, voting registration and processes, census taking and all manner of public works. The relationship between businesses and government will also be transformed by digitized permitting and tax and compliance tasks.
Although 5G may seem daunting and expensive, with a well-thought-out plan in the right industry, 5G is worth the investment. The connected future has great potential.