We’re currently residing on the verge of one of the biggest technological innovations in modern history. 5G connectivity is around the corner and the development promises to support widespread innovations that promise to change the way we communicate, consume entertainment and live as well as bring unprecedented improvements to healthcare and education.
(Ten times the potency. 5G promises significantly enhanced download speeds and bandwidth. Image: Senate RPC)
The chart above is simple but poignant. Senate RPC estimates 5G to possess 10 times the connectivity power of its predecessor, 4G.
Naturally, such innovation will revolutionise the way we interact with our smartphones, but 5G carries much wider implications that will bring benefits far beyond our usage of handheld devices. Here are six significant ways in which 5G is set to change the technological landscape:
Remember when mobile phones seemed to get smaller and smaller with every passing release? The smartphone, along with its 3G data capabilities changed all that.
Over the past 10 years, handsets have become larger with broader, much richer screens – and according to the Evening Standard, 5G will take this trend to another level entirely.
It’s no coincidence that Samsung unveiled its new eyebrow-raising handset, the Galaxy Fold just months before the arrival of 5G connectivity.
The Galaxy Fold’s folding screen allows users to enjoy a screen that opens up to twice the size of the actual device when closed up – allowing high-quality, high-speed entertainment wherever customers may be.
“Think about what 5G will allow you to do – download a movie in two seconds. With that, you’re going to be watching a lot of media, so you need a bigger screen, bigger battery,” said Conor Pierce, Corporate VP for Samsung UK and Ireland.
Super-fast data will need to be well accommodated, so it’s reasonable to expect handheld devices to continue building in size into the foreseeable future.
The true arrival of augmented and virtual reality
Yes, AR and VR have already entered the market place and are continuing on their respective paths into becoming household names. But the quality of both virtual and augmented reality that we see today has nothing on the AR and VR of tomorrow.
Future of Work Media has been particularly keen to highlight the significance of 5G within the world of augmented reality in particular. “By 2020, 5G aims to reduce latency times of a millisecond—nearly instant. It will also allow for the development of even more—and better—augmented reality, further blurring the lines between real and artificial experiences. For instance, rather than Pokemon appearing in different places in the real world, they will be able to move and interact with the environment in real-time,” writes FOW author and analyst, Daniel Newman.
Greater needs for privacy
With greater bandwidths and supercharged download speeds comes the ability to digest significant amounts of data with ease. But with more information also comes greater risks to privacy.
Due to the sensitive information that they’re now capable of carrying, smartphones are becoming increasingly desirable targets for hackers.
Luckily with the advent of 5G comes greater technologies designed to combat the risks posed by prying eyes, and AI-driven security is already being developed by organisations like A10 – which has launched a ‘Zero-day Automated Protection’ (ZAP) program that ‘automatically recognises the characteristics of DDoS attacks and applies mitigation filters without advanced configuration or an operator’s manual intervention.’
The interconnected home
Much has been made of the ‘smart home,’ but the arrival of 5G could spark a new era of interconnectivity about the house.
Better latency driven by 5G means that smart objects about the house will have the ability to communicate with one and other instantly. In the hazy old days of 4G connectivity, voice commands were merely the domain of smart speakers, but with better bandwidth, users can use their voices to turn the living room lights on, turn down the heating, or tell the refrigerator to order next week’s groceries.
Internet of Things driving change
In fact, 5G looks set to be the development that the Internet of Things was waiting for. This new generation of connectivity will help to herald a new era of self-driving cars, and entire cities can take control of their traffic through interconnected vehicles that are capable of understanding the number of cars up ahead and make instant calculations over the validity of alternate routes. In the 5G driven cities of the future, congestion could be dramatically curbed.
Innovation beyond comprehension
Speaking to the Evening Standard, Donovan Sung, director of product management at Xiaomi, explained that 5G’s arrival will initially bring technological power that’s beyond our current comprehension: “When 5G comes on, people will at first think how do I make the 4G apps faster. But maybe there will be a whole new class of applications that will be exciting,” Sung said.
The technological landscape has always been shaped by convenience, but the disruptive power of 5G is such that it could be the cornerstone of the biggest evolutionary step in modern history. 5G ready smartphones are already beginning to make their way onto the world’s marketplaces. So make yourselves comfy, the future is just around the corner.