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HOT TECH 2: 5G
With the 4G network still being rolled out, 5G is already the talk at MWC in Barcelona, a technology show second only to CES. MWC is the world’s biggest phone industry event, attended by more than 100,000 visitors and the market-leading mobile companies.
5G represents the next generation of mobile networks.
5G promises benefits in terms of power (data transfers 200 times faster than 4G), latency (1 millisecond), ruggedness, reduced power consumption and extended battery life.
This new generation of lower-consumption devices will be able to operate for longer without external intervention, thereby reducing maintenance requirements. There will also be significant safety benefits. Wireless connectivity will reduce cabling-related safety risks. Similarly, dedicated high-frequency wavebands reduce the probability of signal interference between systems, minimizing the related reliability issues.
In our increasingly connected world, the benefits offered by 5G are poised to facilitate and enhance interactivity across the full spectrum of new technologies.
Again, it is important to understand the huge potential of this innovation for both business professionals and consumers. As well as the technological benefits, there are major industrial and commercial implications. The resulting turbocharged ecosystem will be free to grow exponentially.
What are the main use cases?
All sectors of the B2C and B2B markets are impacted. The emergence of 4G networks has already made a number of new uses possible, and this digital transformation will continue, with 5G empowering other applications to progress from design concept to real-world rollout.
This is the case of self-driving vehicles, for example, for which the ability to exchange data with the cloud in real time is absolutely essential.
The advent of 5G will also be a powerful catalyst for manufacturing, remote maintenance, robotic surgery and telemedicine. “Remote assistance”, as implemented in the Xperteye solution, revolves around simultaneous collaborative action. By minimizing lag, 5G will naturally make such communication easier and smoother. With network capacity no longer an obstacle, it will be possible to increase communication traffic and transaction density.
Similarly, home automation – which until now has struggled to escape the realm of science fiction – is about to get real, thanks to the ability to effortlessly manage dozens of connected objects located in the same space.
What obstacles exist?
Some 201 operators are already trialing or rolling out 5G-ready networks in 83 countries. Unsurprisingly, American, Chinese and Korean players are setting the pace. The 11 carriers currently operating a limited 5G service include: AT & T (USA), Elisa (Finland and Estonia), Etisalat (United Arab Emirates), Fastweb and TIM (Italy), LG Uplus (South Korea), KT (South Korea), Ooredoo (Qatar) and SK Telecom (South Korea). This race is also a matter of national pride and the subject of frenzied media hype. For example, Finland was the first European country to announce 5G… with one tiny problem: no compatible phones were available!
Competition is heating up between the USA and China, which has included 5G in its “China 2025” plan and made it a flagship policy objective. However, the first devices are only now coming to market, meaning that mass rollout is unlikely before 2020. These political and commercial factors will prompt other operators to follow suit, boosting this technology as the year progresses.