What is 5G and Why is it Important to Business?
What is 5G and why is it important to business?
5G is the fifth generation of cellular wireless. While to some people it may look like a mere evolution from previous generations, 5G is a business game-changer. It has more bandwidth, which allows it to process more data at any given moment. It has quicker speed that transfers data faster. And its lower latency shortens the amount of time it takes to deliver data from a source to a destination. These unmatched qualities of 5G can open up possibilities in business that, in the past, were only science fiction.
Each of the unique strengths of 5G brings a higher level of quality to cellular networks. But, as PC Magazine points out, the most significant advancement is high-band 5-G. This bandwidth can use vast amounts of unused airwaves, ones that have never before used in consumer products.
This access to airwaves allows 5G to be four times faster than any previous cellular network. The technology is increasing the amount of data available to businesses and the speed at which companies can analyze their data. Lower latency is enabling more realistic augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) and is empowering the Internet of Things (IoT) to handle multitudes of devices connected to the internet.
Previous generations of cellular wireless brought significant changes for consumers, but 5G will have its most significant impact on the business world. Industries that will benefit the most include retail, manufacturing, healthcare, and logistics.
Here are some significant impacts 5G is having on specific industries:
Retailers will use AR and VR to create a more personalized shopping experience. As reported in Forbes, shoppers can now use AR in the store to try on makeup, visualize furniture in their homes, and to see what clothing looks like on different body types. VR introduces the potential buyer to the experience of owning a product, such as placing a new lamp on the table in front of you. All of this is possible when retailers get more real-time data about how consumers shop. And, according to Gartner, this is information retailers can use: 100 million consumers were shopping with the help of augmented reality in 2020.
McKinsey & Company highlight how five 5G applications will be used in manufacturing to increase efficiency, cut costs, and rev up productivity:
1) cloud control of machines will allow businesses to control machines in real-time at a fraction of the current cost;
2) augmented reality on a 5G network will allow an unprecedented level of smoothness and realism and will enable remote real-time instructions for repair of machinery;
3) perceptive AI will enable a security camera to detect a disturbance, identify if there is an imminent threat or danger, and dispatch a drone or alert a worker to investigate;
4) high-speed decision-making will result from the massive amount of real-time data; and
5) shop floor IoT will connect “tens of thousands of endpoints, thereby truly enabling the use of industrial data at scale.”
Logistics will become much more efficient with 5G. SupplyChainDive notes that 5G will allow “track and trace,” which will increase visibility into shipments and let manufacturers check the temperature, humidity, and other environmental factors for sensitive products in transit. Moreover, 5G will allow product monitoring of items that are too small to watch under current 4G networks. Also, 5G can blend 4G for outdoors with WiFi indoors, enabling shippers to verify and make plans for items that have not yet reached their warehouse. Automated trucks and warehouse robots will communicate with each other in real-time.
Speed, low latency, and mass connectivity will revolutionize medical care, says an article from the Forbes Technology Council. For example, with 5G, hospitals will be able to send CT scans or MRIs–massive files of up to 900 megabytes–to specialists in other hospital facilities. These files can take up to an hour to download using existing technologies, but 5G enables remote specialists to see the data and respond within minutes.
Mass connectivity opens up almost limitless opportunities for innovation in the field of medical devices. These devices will connect to all things related to health care, including medical carts, beds, and pill bottles.
What this means for IT and business leaders
The 5G applications mentioned above are only the beginning of the many ways in which businesses must adjust to 5G. Fortunately, business leaders are starting to pay attention: Gartner has found that 66% of enterprises plan to deploy 5G in 2020.
As stated in a Forbes Technology Council article, “5G change is inevitable, and its disruption has begun. To be a leader in the next connected generation, companies must step up to the plate and recognize 5G as the gateway to a better business, bottom line, and brand.”
If you are an aspiring IT leader ready to step up to the plate, you can gain the IT and leadership skills you need by enrolling in Montclair State University’s Master of Science in Applied Information Technology program.
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