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In many countries today, the 5G launch is getting ready or has already started. Many businesses and some consumers in the US or China have started to benefit from faster device connections, low latency, ability to connect billions of devices, big increases in data handling and better battery time.
As Wikipedia defines it, 5G is the fifth generation technology standard for cellular networks, which cellular phone companies began deploying worldwide in 2019, the planned successor to the 4G networks which provide connectivity to most current cellphones.
The main difference between 3G, 4G and 5G is that 3G and 4G use lower radio frequencies (around 6Ghz for 4G). 5G frequencies are higher (in the 30 to 100 and more Ghz range). For 5G technology, the use of higher frequency is purely to allow higher speed to ensure you can watch high quality (4K, 8K or higher) video streaming for example or to ensure Internet of Things (IoT) or connected objects could benefit from more bandwidth. It will not only help with speed but also lower latency (the waiting time for data to be processed) which is essential for real time activity such as autonomous cars.
5G is helping and will continue to help all industries. I do not believe you can find an industry that would not benefit from its key features.
5G is an evolution, not a revolution. The technology is evolving because our needs are evolving. We are now used to 4K or even 8K quality video streaming. We are starting to see autonomous vehicles to start operating. With pandemics, medicine advancing fast and lack of doctors, e-health is requiring more and more robotic use and remote surgeries. Let’s have a look at some examples for businesses and consumers that will hugely benefit from this evolution. 5G is here because 4G is reaching its capability and either we stay in the past or we move forward.
In the health market, remote surgeries have started to show that for some countries, patients can really benefit from a wider bandwidth and use of robotics. For example, a doctor based in the US could perform surgery in Australia if the country lacks the specialty. Robots will be used, and video surgery will be in place. Because 5G has low latency it allows real time reaction without any delay. The amount of data needed for video calls or tele-consultation will be managed by the 5G infrastructure. Very often today with the 4G network, in a video call, you can see people “freezing” for sometime and this would not be acceptable for a surgery for example.
As the world car manufacturers are moving towards developing autonomous cars, 5G will allow the infrastructure to operate autonomous cars. They need real time reactions to a situation and wasting time is not an option when you have someone crossing the road in front of the car. With more bandwidth, no delay in operating the car and mobility at the center of the equation, 5G will allow the AI algorithm behind the car intelligence system to run smoothly and efficiently.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The internet of things is about connecting everyday objects to the internet. Connected objects today represent more connections than humans. We can find connected objects in every industry. In the agriculture world for example, they are using IoT to help find weeds, drive tractors and spray week killers with an unbelievable precision. Thanks to large bandwidth and the ability to connect many more objects than ever before, 5G is the technology for IoT devices. Companies will see huge benefits in terms of availability, cost and easier to deploy infrastructure for IoT. One of key 5G feature is higher throughput which will see higher individual user peaks, but more importantly increased overall system capacity to handle growth in users, devices and resulting traffic demands. 5G will then allow IoT to develop fully and to optimize this industry.
Gaming is also an area that will benefit from 5G. Extended Reality (XR) is meant to encompass Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR). Most people have probably tried VR or AR with games. As 5G becomes more and more available it can help make VR/AR/MR even more engaging. Another angle of gaming that will see a huge impact from 5G is immersive gaming. Gamers are continually looking for more realistic play. Because games will need to be rich and available in real time, it will require 5G key features such as connectivity and very low latency. Moreover, these games will see the increased use of different wearables such as sensors and IoT devices.
Video streaming in high definition (4k-8k and UHD – Ultra High Definition) will benefit greatly from 5G.
Ever since full HD was invented and the rise of Blu-Ray and HD video streaming came, there has always been a continual interest in higher definition content. It is the same for 360 videos. It is being used to give people the possibility of being in some unusual location or see some activities that they might never experience. As 5G bandwidth allows 360 videos to stream in ultra-high definition, the viewer experience will greatly be improved.
I could go on and on about the various applications that 5G will enhance. I wanted to give you some concrete examples of activities that we experience every day. Our journey and experience as a consumer will be improved and companies will optimize their infrastructure and offering to their customers.
As a conclusion, I hope you will understand with these few examples what 5G can bring to our lives. As our requirements are evolving so does the technology around us. 5G is the way to ensure our style of life is the same at home as it is on the go. With confinement we have seen how we needed to have efficient and effective technology. 4G is at the end of its fantastic life (remember how impressed we were when we could download a video on the go). 5G is now the answer to ensure we move into this next step of progress and innovation.