7 Amazing Future Tech Innovations Made Possible By 5G

by Yoselí Orozco 534 views0

Everyone is excited about 5G but very few understand its implications beyond faster downloads and data transmission speeds. According to the GSMA—the preeminent organization that represents mobile operators worldwidethere are two primary views of 5G:

  1. hyper-connected view that defines 5G as a consolidation of 2G, 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi, and other innovations to provide far greater coverage and always-on reliability.
  2. next-generation radio access technology view that deals with step changes in data speed and order-of-magnitude reduction in end-to-end latency.

These two definitions are often jointly discussed and intermixed, resulting in confusion and contradictory requirements around 5G.

Attendees at GSMA 2012. Source: Ken Banks / Flickr Creative Commons.
Attendees at the GSMA World Congress in 2012. Source: Ken Banks / Flickr Creative Commons.

Regardless of which definition is in play, 5G’s unprecedented wireless speeds and data reliability will lead to the development of services and offerings unimaginable in previous years.

Here are the top 7 tech innovations that 5G will make possible in the future.

7. Smart Cities

Source: Massimo Catarinella / Wikimedia Commons.
Amsterdam streetlamps brighten and dim based on data-driven usage analysis. Source: Massimo Catarinella / Wikimedia Commons.

A smart city integrates multiple connected technologies and data sets within a municipal region to enable efficient, intelligent management of resources for improving citizens’ quality of life. For example, Amsterdam’s Smart City Initiative includes an array of projects co-developed by local residents, government and businesses.to improve the city’s decision-making and resource management capabilities.

These projects run on a unified platform powered by wireless devices. In a future of ubiquitous 5G data networks, even impoverished nations will be able to emulate some of Amsterdam’s smart city initiatives cost-effectively.

6. Virtual/Augmented Reality

Source: Flickr Creative Commons / Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas.
Source: Flickr Creative Commons / Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas.

Not all data is created equally. Unique data requirements exist for different use cases (e.g., YouTube video streaming versus self-driving cars) and future 5G wireless networks will be smart enough to allocate data resources based on these requirements.

Network slicing. Source: Ericsson.com.
Network slicing. Source: Ericsson.com.

Specifically, 5G technology will enable network slicing, or the ability of mobile operator to provide networks on an as-a-service basis. South Korea’s SK Telecom and Ericsson recently partnered up to develop network slicing technology optimized for augmented reality services.

5. Immersive or Tactile Internet

Source: lorraine mockford / Flickr Creative Commons.
Source: lorraine mockford / Flickr Creative Commons.

5G is crucial for the development of immersive or tactile internet experience. Virtual reality headsets like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift are developing the software and hardware platforms to support this but wireless networks have some ways to go. Projects like Europe’s mmMAGIC are developing 5G-related technologies to deliver mobile broadband services that support UHD/3D streaming, immersive applications, and ultra-responsive cloud services.

4. Autonomous Driving/Connected Cars

Independence is sexy. Source: Joseph Thornton / Flickr Creative Commons.
Independence is sexy. Source: Joseph Thornton / Flickr Creative Commons.

Self-driving car have already hit the roads but they’re anything but ready for prime time. In the future, 5G mobile networks will provide the mission-critical reliability necessary for widespread autonomous vehicle adoption.

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Major automotive manufacturers like BMW are in line with this. At Huawei’s 2014 5G Summit in Munich, BMW’s Sebastian Zimmerman commented on the role of 5G in autonomous vehicle development. “Highly automated driving is a difficult topic because you need ultra-reliable networks, low-latency, and they must work everywhere,” said Zimmerman. “You need a technology that works even when the network operator is not there, as they are out of range for example. So 5G with device-to-device communication could be a solution to this.”

3. Cloud-based Offices and Multi-person Videoconferencing.

Finally, 5G will truly bring the office home. Source: David Martyn Hunt / Flickr Creative Commons.
Finally, 5G will truly bring the office home. Source: David Martyn Hunt / Flickr Creative Commons.

Sick of commuting to the office for work? In the future, the high bandwidth and low-latency of 5G data networks coupled with vast cloud data storage resources will make cloud-based offices a reality. Multi-person video calling capabilities and highly-responsive business applications will be a common fixture at 5G-enabled virtual offices.

2. Machine-to-machine Connectivity

An SIM Card for M2M devices. Source: Vodafone Medien / Flickr Creative Commons.
A SIM Card for M2M devices. Source: Vodafone Medien / Flickr Creative Commons.

Like the Internet of Things (IoT), machine-to-machine (M2M) technologies consist of connected data-generating physical objects. But while IoT deals with end-user interactions typical of consumer offerings, M2M only concerns itself with other objects or “machines.” 5G’s higher data transmission rates and lower latency will allow M2M devices to connect and exchange data faster and more reliably, leading to higher order mission-critical M2M use cases like automated traffic lights and disaster response systems.

1. Telemedicine

A Polycom telemedicine device. Source: Andy G / Flickr Creative Commons.
A Polycom telemedicine device. Source: Andy G / Flickr Creative Commons.

Finally, ubiquitous 5G mobile networks will lead to the effective practice of telemedicine. This will be a global game changer for public health: geographically isolated and less-privileged populations will have access to high-quality, low cost healthcare at all times. Additionally, 5G will allow for better remote patient monitoring/tracking and—with virtual/augmented reality—make virtual emergency and operating rooms a reality.

The arrival of 5G will undoubtedly transform the way in which you use mobile and computing technology, for all the reasons you think and more. Unfortunately, industry experts agree that 5G most likely won’t be ready until 2020so don’t discard your current 4G LTE service just yet.

 

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