One of the most prominent megatrends in our world today centers on the development of 5G technology. This technology has generated enthusiasm among technologists and futurists, with some saying that “5G is going to change everything.” The Financial Times even noted that superfast 5G technology promises to be a game-changer for humanity.
While it’s debatable whether the hype is going too far, the bottom line is that this technology will certainly change the way that we work and play. Because of this, it is worth spending time to explore what this exciting technology is and how can accelerate digital transformations in our world.
A Basic Primer of 5G Technology
5G technology is the fifth generation of mobile broadband. As you would guess, it replaces (or at least augments) 4G LTE technology. The main benefit of 5G technology centers on two words: faster speeds. Current 4G LTE technology can deliver data at around 100 megabits per second. With 5G technology, however, that data has the potential to travel at a stunning 10 gigabits per second.
This substantial increase in speed will have significant consequences. 5G technology can transmit a high volume of data extremely quickly not only to your mobile devices, but “smart” devices in your home and your city. This technology can lead to innovations like connected traffic lights, which can create more efficient traffic in busy metropolitan areas, powering smart cities. Read more about smart cities here
These additional speeds are certainly compelling, but they don’t come free. The millimeter wave that transfers 5G at short distances requires significantly more transmitters, base stations, and signal repeaters. While modern cellular towers transmit 4G LTE signals over several miles, 5G needs a dense collection of smaller transmitters to cover an equivalent area. These additional requirements mean that 5G can take some time to deploy. It can also result in spotty coverage (or no coverage at all) in rural areas around the United States.
Even though there are challenges to implementing this new disruptive technology at scale, the potential speeds are mouthwatering. They unlock a wide range of exciting possibilities for individuals, businesses, and cities alike.
How 5G Technology is Accelerating Digital Transformation
5G has many different applications that can make our lives easier and more productive. In sum, they are a key component of advancing digital transformations within the world.
One of the most prominent applications centers on self-driving cars. 5G inherently has low latency, which allows self-driving cars to respond quickly to many different environmental shifts. These autonomous vehicles can also leverage this technology to communicate with each other, thereby optimizing traffic and route times in your city. The self-driving car revolution seems to be several years away, yet when it arrives, it will be on the back of 5G technology.
Along with autonomous vehicles, this technology will be a vital part of smart cities. Smart cities will leverage Internet of Things , which ultimately dumb devices smarter. It can help with everything from public transportation to making the power grid more efficient. The speed of 5G technology and the rising effectiveness of Internet of Things devices makes the development of smart cities a much more realistic possibility.
Finally, 5G technology will be a key component of making virtual and augmented reality more prevalent. The low latency of 5G technology is a critical component for using virtual and augmented reality over a cellular connection. In other words, 5G technology is going to be the key tool for making these tools work when you are outside your home or work. With 5G technology, there will be a seamless and responsive experience, whether you are using augmented reality as a tool at work or whether you are playing a virtual reality game on the go.
The Power of 5G Technology
This disruptive technology is still in its early stages, yet it has the sheer potential to make a dramatic difference in our world. Whether you are a technologist who is contemplating different uses of 5G technology in your job or someone who is looking forward to these applications in gaming or other fun activities, 5G is a megatrend that we simply cannot ignore.
Because of this, take the time to further study the technology. Do some further diligence on how it is being used today. Through this work, you will be able to best leverage the power of 5G in your personal and professional life.