I’d love a new handset and a lot of the models I’ve been looking at recently also have a 5G version. My mobile telco provider also offered me a 5G ready mobile plan.
So 5G is coming. It’s a faster mobile internet. However, if I’m honest, at the moment a good 4G signal suites us, as a family, just fine. So what’s the big deal?
5G gives mobile internet as fast as a fibreoptic fixed connection, but it is actually so much more. 5G not only increases the mobile bandwidth, the amount of data carried the connection by over 6 times, it also does it faster, provides almost no delay i.e latency. 5G is also able to cope with more devices using the same connection simultaneously.
But what does this mean to the average user?
The improvements suggested by 5G providers mean much smoother streaming and data flow back and forths.
Think instantaneous feedback loops- like your reaction to catch and throw back a baseball thrown at you when the alarm goes off extra early one morning and you stagger out of bed (that’s 3G and 4G) versus those reflexes an hour or so later, perky after a wonderful coffee (5G service).
This speed and capacity imporvement certainly awesome for gamers! However, us, less intense users, will also benefit in watching truly 4K videos, video calls that don’t start-stop, where you have a crystal clear image of the person you are talking to and can see the face in accurate detail (as long as the other person is on 5G and the link between the access points is superfast)
That’s the immediate future …but the big thing comes through the internet of things!
The faster speed, the reduced lag in information exchange and the ability to cram more into that bandwidth means that applications and devices (that have yet to take off because of these technical challenges) will actually start making our lives better and not just being a gimmick. By devices, open your mind to the definition of a device being a lot broader, because a car can be a device in this sense!
What can a 5G future hold?
Self-driving cars– Now, if you’re a control freak, like me, you hate the idea of a car taking over the driving, don’t you? On the other hand, if there is a network of cars that I have access to whenever I need one,
I don’t actually need to own my own car,
I don’t need to maintain my own car,
I don’t have an expensive asset sit unused for at least 70% of the time,
I can order one to be available within minutes and jump in for it to take me on the most efficient route to my desired destination.
Mums, imagine not having to be mum taxi anymore!
Submersive Virtual Reality: imagine playing Pokémon Go in your own neighborhood, wearing your VR goggles on your head, in a virtual reality of total immersion in Pokémon world with the details of the real world, that the VR goggles are receiving being tweaked immediately to mimic Pokémon world… blue leaves on the oak tree? why not? It’s where your favourite Pokemon is hiding.
Remote robot-assisted surgeries– imagine your nearest and dearest needing a life-saving surgery, too ill to travel and there are only 3 doctors in the world who can perform the surgery. None of the 3 live even on the same continent as you. Yet your local hospital has a high-speed connected robot to one of the hospitals where the specialist you so need works. Through the improved technology it become more viable to preform robot-assisted surgeries.
… and there is so much more!
Will 5G only be relevant in cities?
For the time being, 5G networks rollouts are definitely being focused on cities. This is for obvious economic reasons, as there are more people per square metre of investment to use the service. For example, Three UK are starting their roll our through a home 5G broadband implementation. This, from my understanding at a recent launch event, gives you a mini-hub that is independent of your fiberoptic connection.
But back to the cities, the potential for cities to use these technologies, that 5G paves the way for, is higher and will bring greater benefits (than, currently, in rural areas.) 5G is heralded to pave the way to make our cities more healthy and better livable.
Some such benefits are smart traffic light systems used to reduce pollution. According to Xiao-Feng Xie a smart traffic light system is “real-time, decentralized, smart and scalable, adaptive traffic signal control system that optimises and coordinates highly dynamic traffic flow in the complex (grid-like) urban road networks.” He’s simulation showed that smart traffic lights can save average travel time of over a quarter of the time spent on a commute. (Watch his traffic simulation YouTube video)
Some food for thought
Interestingly, I polled my instafollowers about how interested they are in 5G (my audience is 35-45, 66% female) and 78% said they are not really bothered with this emerging technology.
That could be a good gauge of where the general public stands and that’s why Three UK are keen to start conversations around 5G, with and among consumers. They installed ground-breaking holographic 5G house installation on London’s South Bank, between the 26th and 28th of September, 2019. Their aim is showcasing the future of music, gaming and sports, that will be made possible with Three’s new 5G Broadband. In a world-first, the 3D video content in the 5G house can be viewed from every angle in a way never seen before.
So what’s your view on 5G? Waiting with eagerly or it’ll come when it comes?