With existing mobile connections to 4G often falling short, the unreliable connection and frequent slow speeds on devices amounting to frustration from individuals and inside businesses, the world awaits the introduction of 5G with bated breath. So far, the infrastructure to support this technological leap has only started to be put in place and the first field trials began just at the end of 2017, but it is a development that is plainly visible on the horizon - expected to launch fully sometime in 2020.
It's still too early to comment on exactly how much 5G will change the private and business world as we now know it, yet many are already calling it the next technological revolution. For billions of devices worldwide it promises to seamlessly marry data collection and computation. With the introduction of this connection there will be a radical increase to the speed at which data is transferred across the network, so it is guaranteed to bring with it unusual and exciting benefits across the board.
For the individual
To the casual observer, the introduction of 5G simply means that we will have access to faster internet on our mobile devices. For the individual, this means no more waiting for pages to load, for your phone to locate where you are, for yourgame to buffer. It will radically improve downloading speeds too. At the moment a strong 4G connection can manage a transfer speed in the low tens of megabytes a second, while 5G will probably be able to achieve hundreds of megabytes in the same time frame. While it's true that increased speed is at the heart of 5G, to imagine it will just mean every action is a bit quicker is a massive oversimplification of its benefits.
For a start, it's easy to underestimate just how much faster data connection will become. To give some idea of the speed, a good 4G connection would mean an HD video is downloaded in about an hour, but with 5G it could take seconds. 4G currently operates on the radio frequency of 20 MHz, but 5G will most likely utilise the frequency of 60 GHz.
While mobile internet speeds may be frustrating, most of the time the data connection is just about bearable and workable. However, it's predicted that in 2020, the number of devices connected to the IoT will more than triple, estimates suggesting there could be as many as 20.8 billion globally. That's a lot of network traffic. Introducing 5G before these mobile devices grind to a halt entirely is of the utmost importance.
5G is not simply just a connectivity-increasing network in the way 4G and 3G were before it, individuals should feel its benefits enormously as it will enable a platform for an entire ecosystem of connected, intelligent devices. With 5G in action, smart devices will be poised to get even smarter, with home appliances beginning to connect to the web, this means your whole world could become synced. For example, your smart flooring connected to 5G could communicate with your smart vacuum, also connected to 5G, to inform the vacuum that it is in need of cleaning. In the near future, it will inevitably be intrinsically valuable to the rise of AI, ensuring your life will get a lot more comfortable.
The rise of 5G will also lead to a better-connected world in general. With connection speeds so fast it will be much easier to communicate across many different channels and many different continents, speeding up both personal and professional interactions.
Benefits for business
In the world of business, 5G holds the potential to have even more dramatic impacts, as inevitably almost all industries will have to change to accommodate this new network, some more drastically than others. An inevitable benefit to industry will be that 5G will stimulate huge growth. Most likely, many businesses will start to appear that we cannot fathom today, but which will drastically change the current landscape as we know it. When new technological developments appear, the concern is often voiced that lots of people will be left out of work as a result of the advancements. But the growth of these industries, both already-existing and potential new companies, has been estimated to support 22 million jobs once it has reached its full potential.
As such, 5G promises to be enormously beneficial for the economy, causing investments and capital to skyrocket. As it is so diverse - crossing many industries - and will directly stimulate growth, this new network has the potential to unlock up to $12.3 trillion in revenue according to the Technology Review. Obviously, the effects will vary across different industries, and at this current time one of the biggest winners from the introduction of 5G will probably be the automotive industry. The increased ability for smart devices to communicate with one another will facilitate the development of highly effective smart cars, able to drive safely and avoid crashes because they are connected by this fast, reliable network.
It will also hugely benefit the productivity and response time of companies using the 5G network on their mobile devices. Being able to respond much quicker than competitors reliant on 4G will prove a huge boost. The massively increased connectivity and reliability also has the potential to shake up the way people work and could spell the end of the regular working day. Employees will be able to travel and work remotely much more easily, potentially making the office 9-5 a thing of the past.
5G will also drive innovation within industry as products and services will have to fit around the new technology. Many varied ideas and inventions will spawn from its creation which would otherwise never have been conceived. With smart appliances that independently interact with one another being a very real outcome of the 5G network, it's easy to see why it will usher in a new era for technology, business and people's private lives.