What is 5G, and what does it mean to your business?Leave a Comment (0) ↓
5G – the 5th Generation of mobile communications – will soon be upon us. And of course we have seen 3G and 4G bring much greater speeds and play a huge part in allowing internet access to migrate from the desktop to smart mobile devices. Hence our creation of ‘responsive’, social websites for clients.
5G will work on very high frequencies and will need a lot of masts close to each other – but they will be much more inconspicuous, able to be attached to the likes of good old-fashioned telegraph poles, and rooftops. 4G will no doubt need to fill in the rural gaps in the early years.
Gigabit LTE 4G delivers great speed anyway and that will be the foreseeable future for many of us – its speed, and backwards compatibility from 5G, will continue to make it very appealing. But there is a shortage of capacity to deliver its full potential, and 5G will have capacity in spades.
One drawback of the high-frequency 5G is its inability to see through solid objects – so pundits see it being deployed in discrete public environments such as coffee bars, sports stadia etc.: 4G will seamlessly step in when 5G cannot deploy.
More than Mobile
The really big news about 5G is that it has the potential to take over your home, with a wireless modem delivering data at speeds unheard of even if you have fibre optic cable in your house. No cables required – no digging up the streets. It is planned that 5G will enable existing cable systems to extend into houses and people on the move, without further physical network expansion.
Mobile data will no longer just be about mobiles – it’s going to be your new home and business internet.
The ITU (International Telecommunication Union) is the body that is responsible for defining the final 5G specification, and it is due to pronounce on this between late 2017 and early 2018.
But hardware makers and telecom providers are not holding back – they are already building prototype 5G devices and trialling services.
How will 5G affect me?
We have heard a lot about the Internet of Things, but this could really be where it starts. The networks will be embedding computing power that will be able to do much of the processing, meaning that your washing machine, fridge, energy meter and so much more will be able to connect to you and to suppliers, using less battery power than with current mobile data.
And suddenly, wearables like the Apple Watch will be able to multi-task – they already are starting to receive calls, but they will also be able to become GPS devices, connect to networks, receive alerts, prompt users with suggestions of where to shop or eat nearby, and so much more. How will your business be able to exploit these capabilities?
Cloud capability will expand exponentially and you will be able to forget about running out of memory or storage.
When will it happen?
The current official introduction year is 2020 but many insiders are expecting a mid-2019 launch.
And if you are cynical about the UK’s early adoption of 5G, then know that we have been at the forefront of this development from the start. Back in 2012, the Government assisted with the setting up of the World’s first Innovation research centre for 5G mobile research at the University of Surrey. BT is likely to be a big supporter of this technology, with its ability to plug the gaps in its slow old copper cable networks and to deliver new superfast services to users at home and on the move.
None of this will be cheap to bring into being. And just like the internet in general, 5G suppliers will be looking to recoup much of the cost through commercial enterprises, including advertising. Will you be ready to assess the opportunities, and maybe threats, in relation to your current business model?
One thing is for sure: we at Hannon Digital will continue to monitor this and every other significant development in the digital landscape – and find new ways to advance your business through our digital marketing consultancy services. Let’s talk about the future – today.