While 5G technology is still in the early stages of adoption, it is poised to have a major impact on how businesses operate over the next few years. With the ability to deliver higher data speeds, greater reliability and lower latency communications, 5G technology can revolutionize the way businesses collect and analyze data, and how they leverage AI and IoT (internet of things) to improve their operations and maximize their productivity.
In order to stay on top of one of the biggest technology advances of the next few years, it’s important to understand how 5G can impact your business. Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which it can potentially elevate your success.
What Is 5G Technology?
The fifth generation of cellular wireless technology, more commonly referred to as 5G, is rapidly becoming the new standard for mobile communications. It uses higher frequency waves with shorter wavelengths than previous generations, enabling it to more effectively use the radio spectrum to allow numerous devices to be connected simultaneously.
In fact, 5G has the ability to handle thousands of devices at once. This enables a single network to handle a large number of mobile phones, equipment sensors and other forms of hardware while maintaining high speeds. As a result, better performance is possible than with previous networks, even with a larger number of users per cell.
There are certain infrastructure limitations which have impacted the rollout of 5G on a global level. Cell towers need to be closer in proximity to ensure the cellular signal remains strong. In addition, the major cellular providers must install a much larger number of transmitters and receivers near homes to ensure the technology is accessible to all.
These infrastructure upgrades represent a significant financial investment, which is why many countries have been slow to roll out 5G on a wide scale level. Currently, China and the United States have a combined 652 cities with 5G capabilities. After that, there is a huge drop off in 5G availability – the Philippines is the next largest 5G adopter with only 98 cities offering these capabilities. However, as more countries ramp up their 5G capabilities over the next few years, this technology will become a true game changer for how businesses around the world operate.
Benefits of 5G Technology
5G offers several significant performance improvements compared with previous iterations of cellular technology:
- Enhanced mobile broadband – Data connectivity is improved, resulting in greater coverage and capacity.
- Improved reliability of low-latency communications – Internet of things (IoT) services can be adopted on mass levels across a wide range of verticals. This will improve the reliability of indoor coverage and the ability to accommodate a higher density of devices simultaneously.
- Massive machine-type communications – Mission critical applications requiring low latency, high security and high reliability will have greater connectivity, enhancing their impact in a wide range of industries.
4 Ways 5G Technology Will Improve the Way Businesses Operate
There are a variety of ways businesses can leverage 5G technology to improve the way they operate. Some of the most powerful uses of 5G include:
- Improved data collection and analysis
- Enhanced AI automation
- Maximizing the potential of IoT
- Expanded remote work possibilities
Improved Data Collection and Analysis
There is more data available to businesses than ever before. This massive volume of data requires increasingly faster processing speeds in order to access this information in real time. 5G technology allows for faster data collection, processing and analysis in several ways:
- Lower latency capabilities improve the speed at which data can be collected and transported, allowing you to gain insights faster than ever before
- The ability to support a multitude of sensors and devices makes it easier to translate information from these items into meaningful data points
- The high reliability of service improves uptime for data collection and processing
In addition, 5G enhances edge computing capabilities, which allow data to be processed in the same location it’s generated instead of sending it to a central cloud for processing. This essentially gives you a mini data center on your device. As a result, 5G will unlock new possibilities for data collection and analysis, allowing your business to leverage these capabilities to improve performance in many aspects of your operations.
Enhanced AI Automation
Recent advances in AI technology are changing the ways businesses operate, allowing you to automate more processes and improve the efficiency of your team. 5G technology has the ability to elevate AI capabilities, both improving the ways it’s currently being used and creating new ways to leverage AI with your business. The vastly increased speeds provided by 5G will give businesses increased opportunities for innovation with AI automation.
Some of the ways 5G technology will enhance AI automation and innovation include:
- Optimized manufacturing processes for unprecedented levels of efficiency and productivity
- Improvements to healthcare services by enhancing patient monitoring, telemedicine and AI-powered diagnostic services
- Increased safety, efficiency and sustainability in the transportation and logistics industry
- Expansion of immersive technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, allowing greater collaboration between remote team members, and between businesses and their clients
- Increased precision of farming applications that will allow agricultural businesses to improve their sustainability and efficiency
- Elevating the services provided by financial and fintech businesses, including better risk assessment, improved fraud detection, more accurate financial predictions, more detailed analysis of customer spending patterns, and improved efficiency of digital transactions
This list is by no means exhaustive. The possibilities for 5G to enhance the way AI can improve your business exist in just about every industry.
Maximizing the Potential of IoT
The internet of things (IoT) refers to a network of connected devices that are embedded with software, sensors and other technologies that enable them to exchange data with other devices and systems over the internet. IoT devices allow businesses in a wide range of industries to operate more efficiently, improve decision making and provide enhanced services to customers.
5G technology can maximize the potential of IoT use cases that require continuous high-speed communication or that rely on rapid data analysis and decision making. This is due to the fact that the ultra-low latency speeds associated with 5G will allow IoT devices to communicate with each other much faster and significantly increase data transfer speeds.
Expanded Remote Work Possibilities
Over the past few years, an increasing number of businesses have embraced remote working models due to the many benefits they provide. However, remote work capabilities are contingent on workers having access to high-speed internet. While the overwhelming majority of urban and suburban areas have sufficient internet capabilities to support remote work, many rural regions have been lagging in this area.
As 5G cellular technology gets implemented across the country, a growing number of rural areas will begin having access to the high-speed internet capabilities necessary to accommodate remote work. This will provide businesses utilizing remote work models with access to an even larger talent pool, allowing them to cast an even wider net when seeking the best professionals to elevate the success of their team.
Now Is the Time to Begin Leveraging the Benefits of 5G Technology
We’re just starting to see the impact of 5G on the way businesses operate, and the potential usage applications are virtually limitless across a wide range of industries. Businesses that begin leveraging the benefits of 5G technology in their earliest stages of implementation will have a tremendous competitive advantage over the next few years. For this reason, it’s critical that you begin preparing your business for 5G now.
Prepping your business for 5G involves the following steps:
- Create a 5G strategy – Review your organizational goals and look for ways 5G can help you achieve them. This can involve evaluating ways 5G can help solve some of your biggest operational challenges, planning for the new AI automation capabilities made possible by 5G, or exploring new processes that might be required to leverage 5G. You will also need to budget for any technology investments required to leverage the benefits of 5G with your business.
- Consider IT systems and security – To effectively benefit from 5G, you’ll most likely need to overhaul your IT systems. You may need to scale your infrastructure to communicate with remote or wireless devices more effectively. In addition, you may need more powerful systems in order to accommodate the more rapid pace of data collection and transmission. Finally, you’ll need to address any security risks associated with an increase in the use of remote and wireless devices.
- Educate your team – In order to truly leverage the benefits of 5G technology, you must educate your team about the possibilities that exist. This education should be provided to everyone at your company, from your leadership team down to your frontline employees. Make sure everyone on your team understands how 5G can support your business goals, how it can enhance collaboration and communication, and the ways your business plans to leverage these capabilities to make a positive impact on your results.
Whether you begin using 5G now or in several years, this technology will soon be impacting your industry. The sooner you can embrace these capabilities and the more effectively you can envision the ways it can benefit your business, the better positioned you’ll be for success in the coming years.