CES 2019 promises the dawn of 5G hyper-connectivity – but not just to your smartphone

After a slightly lacklustre showing in 2018, pundits across the floor at CES have named 5G as a trend to watch this year, with 2019's show offering a chance to build hype before global roll-outs begin.

With all of these experts preaching the well-worn benefits of faster mobile data speeds, increased security and shorter delays, it is easy to wonder why you should care. Do you really need to be able to download a whole film to your smartphone in 20 seconds?

And more pressing, is this roll-out happening at a time when the hype in consumer tech is starting to fade? A glance at Apple's share price and NASDAQ's restructuring of tech stocks would argue: potentially, yes.

To understand the impact 5G could have, you have to look at the impact each previous ‘G’ has had on not only the smartphone, but on social changes beyond your hand held and the new companies built to support them.

Take previous generations of cellular tech. Without 3G, the all pervasive Uber or Ofo wouldn't have been viable products; load times would be too slow and connectivity too uncertain. But with it, cities are having to rethink the concept of mobility.

Without 4G, we would all still be waiting in bank queues. The current fintech revolution would've stalled without the fourth G and its ability to share confidential documents wherever and whenever requested. A whole industry is having to adapt at pace and market dominance is no longer secure.

With this as a backdrop, 5G will launch at an inflection point where tech is moving from being a benefit on an individual level to becoming powerful enough to build features for whole groups of consumers at once.

As CES will showcase, 5G will be instrumental for Mercedes Benz’s autonomous vehicles to connect to traffic systems which would dramatically change modern mobility (again), or healthcare practices such as Validic to rapidly share masses of patient data, enabling a whole new type of patient care.

It’s clear that 5G really is on the horizon this year at CES. It’s bound to have an indelible impact across a whole range of sectors and upset industries we assumed would lack a sell by date. We just won’t see that it’s all thanks to 5G.

BY ENGINEER Oliver Ronaldson

oliver.ronaldson@thevalueengineers.com