5G is expected to deliver speeds that are 100x faster than 4G. It will revolutionize the consumer smartphone market and will lead to a radical rethinking of all applications. 5G service could also transform the fixed-line internet service at our homes and could be a great alternative to wired internet service. But, 5G could have its most impact on industries across the globe. Every single industry is about to experience radical change. Until now 2G, 3G, and 4G had its most impact on the consumer side of communications. For example, 4G enabled video streaming services that are continuing to have its impact felt across the entertainment industry.
When Steve Jobs announced the first iPhone, it revolutionized and disrupted multiple industries. The smartphone revolution opened the floodgates to massive growth in mobile traffic. Some of the current and future forecasts for mobile traffic are simply staggering. According to data from Ericsson, the average traffic from a smartphone in North America was 7.1 GB per month in 2017. It is expected to grow to 48 GB per month by 2023. In India, which is the second largest smartphone market in the world, next only to China, there is going to be an exponential growth in mobile traffic.
(Data Source: Ericsson)
5G’s Impact on Industry
5G could accelerate the pace of change in the manufacturing industry allowing for real-time control of equipment across a plant from almost anywhere. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality could help factory managers visualize the performance of their factory. Maintenance of industrial equipment that is deployed in remote, far-flung areas could be made easy by 5G-enabled communications. For instance, manufacturers of off-shore wind turbines could get gigabytes of real-time operational data that can be used to assess every aspect of its performance in relation to the environment in which it operates.
Network equipment makers such as Nokia and Ericsson are completely transforming their organizational structure to be in the best position to capitalize on 5G. Verizon is already rolling out both fixed wireless service for homes and beginning its trials of 5G mobile service. The company selected Houston, Los Angeles, Indianapolis, and Sacramento for its initial deployments. The company is expected to spend approximately $17 billion each year to maintain and upgrade its network for 5G speeds.
How Can You Take Advantage of 5G?
Given the vast expense related to upgrading the network to 5G, the pace may seem slow, but your organization needs to start planning now to be in the best position to take advantage of 5G. Your organization needs to start imagining, planning, experimenting and architecting new applications that could take advantage of the data deluge, real-time nature, and, in the long-term, the ubiquity of 5G networks.
To kick things off, assemble a group of entrepreneurial employees and ask a few initial questions under these categories to get the conversation rolling:
- What are the primary sources of data for our application?
- Is that data gathered from Internet-of-Things sensors, or consumer devices, or a combination of both?
- How much data do we collect today?
- How often do we collect data today?
- What are the pros and cons of our data collection tools?
- Where do we store all this data?
- Do we currently store any data at the edge of the network?
- How long do we store this data?
- What are the pros and cons of our data storage technologies?
- What are the questions that are answered by the data that we collect today?
- How often do we do the analysis to seek answers?
- What tools do we use to do the analytics?
- How much data can our analytic tools handle?
- What insights does our data produce?
- Who are the primary consumers of these reports?
- What actions do these reports and insights enable?
- What are the real-time actions enabled by the insights?
Once you have a good grasp of your current capabilities, ask similar questions from a 5G perspective. Then work on demonstration applications that would simulate the handling of vast amounts of data at greater speeds. Integrate these demo 5G applications along-side your current production applications to assess the impact on the workflow. Use the lessons from the 5G demo applications to help architect a robust production 5G application. These steps would help you better plan and prepare your organization for the 5G world.
5G will be a key change agent in enterprises across the globe. But you need to start planning today. If you wait for wide-spread availability of 5G, it will be too late.