Gartner’s Hype cycle chronicles the innovation triggers that is re-defining the technology trends of the future. This year’s future-ready movements include the dominance of immersive technologies, digitalized eco-systems, democratized AI and ubiquitous infrastructure. The future connected space is made possible through the tactile internet, ubiquitous IoT and hyper communications that are underpinned by 5G infrastructure.
The exponential advancement in the telecommunications trajectory is entering it next paradigm shift with 5G technologies. From the 1G analog phones; human have pushed ahead with the mobile revolution through 2G, 3G, and the current 4G standards. The decade-old fourth generation has exploded into our consciousness with high-speed internet at 100 kbps with information, entertainment and connectivity at our fingertips.
As per Cisco Virtual Networking Index, global IP traffic will triple with a CAGR of 22% over the next three years. One billion internet users will reach out through 3.4 devices consuming over 194 Exabyte of data per month. Machine to machine connections will reach over 12.2 billion engendering an IoT revolution.
A transformative force for global change
Imagine a world with no barriers where communication shrinks space and time. High-speed data with reduced latency and low energy consumption promises light speed connections with near zero information loss. This facilitates businesses, governments, organizations, and communities to seamlessly interact, proactively remove obstacles and extract high efficiencies. This is an innovation trigger that can re-invent the way of life.
5G is not an extension of 4G speed. It leverages the data crunching potential of cloud, virtual networks, edge computing, IoT and more to deliver mission-critical services worldwide. University of Surrey’s 5G innovation center reports an average network speed of 800 Gbps that will bring new dimensions to instant gratification. Qualcomm reports over $12 trillion in 5G services that can impact on how humans work and play on earth and in space.
For example, high-speed data is critical for autonomous vehicles. Seamless urban traffic to 5G driven Vehicle-to-Everything communication will make accidents passé’ and snarls redundant. Lightning speed connections and responses where vehicles share information with urban artifacts and architecture, fellow vehicles and with pedestrians will completely transform how we manufacture cars, design our cities, and use machinery and so on. The ramifications can be felt in industries such as agriculture, mining, construction, transportation, retail, etc.
Re-defining human connect
Human connects will be unconstrained by geographies with the evolution of internet speeds. Researchers are excited about Edge or Fog computing which involves personal cloud power for people. Imagine billions of clouds churning out data that are instantly converted to actionable insights for personalized responses.
Healthcare is another sector that will reap the benefits of 5G connectivity. The “Tactile Internet” which is an amalgamation of real and virtual objects will blur the boundaries of reality. Ubiquitous sensory wearables can seamlessly map movements and project alternate realities across spaces. This means surgeons can use the tactile internet in telesurgery for patients across the globe. Data streaming through sensory devices can provide real-time health information for doctorxs to deliver accurate diagnosis a world away. But the tactile internet is only possible with low latency high-speed 5G connectivity. And this is not a sci-fi fantasy world, companies like Huawei are actively investing to power the possibilities of the tactile internet.
Why businesses consider 5G to be elusive
Capital investments, lack of business need and customer adoption stand in the way for true 5G adoption. 53% of executives believe that there is no compelling reason to shift to 5G immediately. But most of them are unified in their views about the long-term potential for high-speed 5G connectivity.
A large majority cite high capital investments as a deterrent towards 5G investments. But experts point out that exclusive 5G networks need not be built as it will seamlessly connect with 4G cells. Mobile network operators will be spending less than $20,000 inclusive of all costs for upgrading existing nodes. With more migrations happening to 5G, technological advancements will eventually allow the peaceful co-existence of 4G and 5G spectrums resulting in a better allocation of services ensuring cost savings.
5G – A change of a lifetime
Every technology does have its detractors. Therefore, it is prudent for market challengers to keep 5G within their crosshairs to ride over the disruption curve that will explode in the next decade.
Bearish outlooks are not marring the long march towards 5G. Technological advancements in autonomous vehicles augmented reality and AI is fueling this surge. The emergence of SpaceX, functional humanoids like Sophia and Smart cities across the world will necessitate 5G connectivity. Smart devices can work together only if data connectivity is 10 times faster than 4G networks and latency drops by a factor of 10. With customers demanding immersive experiences that transcends space and time, it is imperative that businesses remain bullish about 5G capabilities.
The author, Phani Kishore Burre is Senior Vice President & Global Delivery Head – Networks, Cloud, Infrastructure & Security Services at CSS Corp