As you’d expect, the advent of 5G mobile communication generated a lot of excitement out of Mobile World Congress about snazzy new smartphones as well as new and improved telco services.
Improved communication has always been about increased network capacity since the beginning of time. One example is the replacement of the Pony Express with the Transcontinental Telegraph. That was a huge capacity upgrade because the message delivery time decreased from 10 days to 10 seconds. The advent of the 5G mobile communications network is the next step of increased capacity in our day.
The speed and reliability of 5G networks will make new applications feasible that we’ve only dreamed about and make them possible at an affordable price point. Think of applications that involve augmented reality, artificial intelligence and huge data volumes gathered from flotillas of Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
Lower 5G cost
5G promises to be cheaper to install than fiber. In high-density urban settings, deployment costs could be half that of fiber. A lot of these savings are attributable to avoiding the cost of digging the trenches required for fiber.
In low-density rural settings, the reduction in deployment costs won’t be as dramatic. However, 5G will be economical in many places where high-speed Internet is currently an oxymoron.
Higher 5G capacity
We’ve all experienced highly variable Wi-Fi connectivity and performance in diverse retail settings. Don’t get me started talking about horrible Wi-Fi experiences on airplanes. These problems are increasing in frequency as almost everyone now owns a smartphone and content consumption is moving more and more to capacity-hungry video.
Similarly, we’ve experienced wired network performance issues in our homes or at our offices. These problems are caused by our content consumption growing more quickly than our network capacity provider can upgrade.
Also, there are no longer any small, simple web pages. Web pages have grown in size and complexity to:
- Adapt to various screen sizes.
- Personalize content based on end-user profile information.
- Maintain support for various brands and versions of browsers.
- Accommodate rich media.
- Serve up ads and pop-ups.
- Capture end-user usage information.
5G promises to fix the capacity limitations of previous generations of mobile technology.
5G handles enormous IoT data volumes
We’ve all heard about or experienced the explosion in the number of connected IoT devices that is occurring in industrial, military, government, business, and household environments.
Together these IoT devices generate huge data volumes that must be gathered and analyzed before the data can add value to an organization’s decisions and its performance.
5G promises to reduce the cost per unit of capacity that limited applications using previous generations of mobile technology.
New 5G applications
5G mobile communication will enable innovative IoT applications that depend on a high-capacity network. Consider these examples.
Industrial facilities, long the home of expensive SCADA systems, have adopted lower-cost IoT devices en masse to lower operating costs while improving quality. Examples include oil refineries, steel manufacturing, milk production.
The military leverages IoT devices for surveillance and battlefield information gathering. Fighter jets have evolved into software platforms with many IoT devices.
Some municipalities are experimenting with an underground utility location application where the technician wears a Microsoft HoloLens and walks along a street while the various underground pipes are displayed in color in real-time on the display in front of his eyes. All water purification and sewage treatment plants use many IoT devices for process control.
Businesses are using IoT to improve building environmental controls to increase comfort while reducing energy consumption. Distribution centers operated by companies including Amazon, FedEx, the Postal Service and UPS depend on many IoT devices to make sure the right package ends up in the correct truck or airplane.
Architects use virtual reality (VR) to design buildings. Their customers can then remotely walk through the building using a VR headset like Oculus to confirm the building will be acceptable once built or suggest design changes that are much cheaper than re-working the building once it’s under construction.
Households are installing intelligent assistants, entertainment devices, and smart home devices. These IoT devices will simplify shopping, deliver the latest entertainment and reduce energy consumption.
5G promises to transmit lots of data to improve products and service, reduce errors, and deliver more fun.
What applications of 5G mobile communication do you see as innovative possibilities? Let us know in the comments below.