We’ve been hearing rumours of its coming for a while now, but what does that extra G actually mean? When will we really start to notice its impact? And what does it mean for brands?
Walking around this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) there were two key questions on everyone’s lips; how many more objects can be 5G connected, and why on earth is it snowing in Barcelona? Despite the chilly weather, the topic of 5G and its possibilities, was hot.
This 5th generation of wireless internet connection apparently has the potential to unlock the Internet of Things that we have all been talking and hearing so much about and as well as advancing various other tech solutions.
There are many facts and figures flying around about what 5G will bring, but ultimately it all comes down to speed. There are rumors of somewhere between 2x to 100x faster connectivity than currently offered by 4G, and an expected response speed 10x faster than your standard broadband. Whilst the exact speed increase is uncertain, it is clear that this new system opens up a lot of possibilities.
Whilst many were discussing the benefits that 5G will bring to mobile products at MWC (unsurprisingly considering the particular World Congress I was attending) there were hints at other innovations 5G could enable.
The reduced latency 5G brings is vital for driverless and autonomous cars, for example, which rely on instantaneous response time, and for streaming VR through mobile connectivity, as the risk of motion sickness is much lower. 5G could even open the way for the fabled delivery drones and other such connected objects you never knew you needed.
With the emergence of 4G we began to see a whole range of innovations based on the premise of minimized latency, Apps such as Uber wouldn’t have been possible without it. With 5G promising to minimize latency even further, the possibilities for innovations to disrupt markets in the way Uber has are huge.
Whilst this all sounds incredible, don’t expect to be having your Ocado orders flown to you by drone tomorrow, or stepping into driverless cars just yet, as whilst the software and systems exist, the infrastructure doesn’t. Unsurprisingly making 5G mainstream comes at a cost, one that is very unlikely to be shouldered by governments. So whilst we are hearing so much about it we are unlikely to see 5G fully in action until one of the big brands decides to foot the bill (although, which brand jumps in first, automotive, tech, or other, remains to be seen).
5G presence at conferences such as MWC is hard to miss, and while the hype will inspire a new wave of innovation, it remains to be seen when these innovations will become consumer facing.