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At Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona earlier this year, almost every major vendor and service provider touted the potential of 5G wireless networks. With speeds expected to be up to 100 times faster than 4G LTE and latency as low as 1 millisecond, 5G promises to usher in the next generation of mobile networking powered by unparalleled data capacity and connectivity. But the benefits of 5G go far beyond just having five bars on your phone. 5G has the potential to transform our homes, our businesses, and our cities. And we’ll see this for ourselves when the first 5G networks roll out later this year. These networks promise to make our entertainment more interactive, our businesses more productive, and our cities smarter.
One of the key benefits we expect to begin to experience is rapid content streaming on a mass scale, serving many different parties simultaneously. When relaxing at home, a sports fan will be able to get even closer to the action by watching the big game with 360-degree cameras. Upstairs, her son and his friends could be using the cloud to download the latest multiplayer game, and, in the home office, her husband will be able to use VR to tour the latest vacation destinations. The whole family will be able to stream these videos simultaneously, in stunning 4K resolution.
"5G promises to usher in the next generation of mobile networking powered by unparalleled data capacity and connectivity"
5G networks create new possibilities for branding new immersive experiences when we’re off the clock, but they are also anticipated to change how we get the job done when we’re on the clock, giving new meaning to the phrase ‘real-time communications’. In healthcare, for instance, medical professionals and teams will be able to use IoT-enabled sensors and wearable devices to monitor patients and receive real-time information on patient stats, as they recover at home.
Or consider industrial construction and manufacturing, two verticals where the impact of 5G offers rich possibilities. On job sites, employees will be able to control pieces of construction equipment remotely, making it easier to work in hard-to-reach areas, and safer to work in dangerous locations. Meanwhile, our factories have new opportunities to be more efficient and productive. Real-time communication will streamline the manufacturing process and technicians will be able to use AR to seamlessly bring up schematics when troubleshooting and repairing equipment.
5G networks are expected to make city streets safer and smarter. By communicating with infrastructure like lamp posts, self-driving cars will be more aware of their surroundings as they interact with the immediate environment. Security cameras and a video analysis engine will be able to detect potential accidents and send real-time alerts to nearby pedestrians and vehicles. And a person driving to a nearby park will not have to worry about searching for a parking spot, since their car will be able to tap a 5G network that enables it to check with the city’s traffic grid to find the nearest available spot.
5G networks open up new possibilities to make all of these advances possible—and it’s getting closer. As these systems and network innovations roll out over the next year, we’ll see wireless technology create faster, smarter, and more connected experiences that will improve every aspect of our daily lives.