The future of mobile connectivity is nearly upon us. 5G is set to change the way we interact and communicate with one another, as well as how we live our everyday lives.
A revolutionary impact is expected from the introduction of a 5G network. We’ve looked at the key areas around what to expect from the implementation of this super-fast, uber-connected innovation.
What is 5G?
The fifth generation of mobile networks, 5G is set to be the fastest way we’ve ever been connected with one another. Back in the 1980s, we had the first gen of mobile networks (think of those gargantuan breezeblocks with buttons and an antenna sticking out the top), before 2G in the 90s allowed for text and picture messaging. The 2000s ushered in the era of 3G, with video calling and mobile data at the forefront of innovation, and now we have 4G which is designed for supporting mobile internet and higher connectivity.
But the pipe dream of super-fast mobile data isn’t as far away as you’d imagine. According to mobile network giant EE in February 2018, the introduction of 5G could be as soon as 2019. Its strategy for a 5G launch is to initiate the network in six major cities, before introducing it to another 10 locations (including Leeds) before the year is out. Widespread connectivity across the UK is set to be in action by 2022 and to access the new network, you’ll need a 5G-enabled device.
Faster connection speeds
The biggest reason for a country-wide implementation of 5G is to bring rapid connection speeds to the masses – in modern society we want things now, yesterday if possible. To showcase the true power of the 5G network, here are the download speeds when compared to its predecessors and a real-life scenario to highlight its efficiencies:
|Network type||Download speeds||Time to download a full HD film|
|3G||384Kbps||Over a day|
|4G||100Mbps||Over 7 minutes|
|5G||1-10Gbps (theoretical)||4 – 40 seconds|
The proof is in the statistics – 5G is far superior to anything that’s gone before. It’s chalk and cheese compared to where we were only a matter of years ago, in the era of 3G stuttering and buffering. It’s believed that 5G could be up to 100 times faster than 4G – the innovation and development of this network is something that wouldn’t be out of place in a science fiction utopia.
5G isn’t just about hyper-speeds, it also brings with it a greater capacity to handle more high-demand apps. This faster, stable connection will give you free rein to do what you want, when you want on mobile devices – more on this to come.
A new way of communication
The humble phone call is no longer the go-to for communication. Text messages, WhatsApp and video calling have all accelerated during the boom of connectivity, but with 5G it’s about to be taken to a whole new level.
Thanks to the sheer amount of data that can be processed at high speeds, holograms will become part of our everyday lives.
Richard Foggie from the Knowledge Transfer Network commented on the use of holograms, saying: “Right now, some sort of headgear or enclosed ‘cave’ is required to view holographics, but within five years I think we’ll see augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) just sprout out of the phone. You could use it for video, playing games or industrial applications – even hologram phone calls.”
The potential of VR and AR within our mobile phones would be a gamechanger for how we interact. A phone will allow us to have face-to-face conversations in a room despite being worlds apart. It’s taking the premise of the phone call and projecting it to a whole new level – 5G will allow us to interact with one another on a more personal note than ever before. FaceTime will be resigned to the history books alongside telegrams and the fax machine, as we take to this advanced communication method.
You’ll be able to sit in your living space and project the holographic image of your friend or family member into the room with you and chat as if they are right there. In the non-stop society we live in, connecting with others will only be enhanced through 5G networks.
An improved connectivity with our homes
With 5G, the days of accidentally leaving the heating on, forgetting to buy more milk or to flick the washing machine on are confined to the past. Our homes will become a connected colossus, telling us what we need and doing the tasks we need to remember too.
Home appliance integration isn’t a novel concept to the market place – Amazon Echo already allows users to work and use appliances through voice control. But new 5G offerings will make solutions from custom integrators work more seamlessly than ever before as we move throughout the day. According to home connectivity expert Henry Clifford, 5G will “remove friction and encourage more ubiquitous use of electronics, artificial assistance/intelligence and further strengthen consumer confidence in the cloud as a place to store valuable information”.
In short, we’ll become more confident in 5G’s ability to help us in everyday life, thus leading us to become more reliant on its services., The need for Wi-Fi connection could well become obsolete through this new, efficient network, making our home appliances talk to us, as well as each other.
Creating the smart cities of the future
With the development of the 5G network, the path towards smart cities can be further paved. The Internet of Things will flourish in a 5G world, giving everyone and everything greater connectivity to share data, information and experiences. According to operators, this new network isn’t just an upgrade – it’s a revolution that’ll transform our cities and how we live in them.
A huge area of debate at the moment is the introduction of autonomous cars and whether this is a safe concept for widespread use on public roads. But in a world of unheralded levels of connectivity, 5G is a driver of this futuristic tech. All self-driving cars will be able to collect data on weather conditions, accidents, and obstacles or objects moving near to the vehicle, thanks to being able to access and process high levels of information and provide rapid response rates. Other autonomous machinery too will make our cities smart – none more so than drones delivering our shopping and post through information gathered via the 5G network.
Network operator O2 has forecasted that the use of 5G will turn society into an efficient, well-oiled machine, saving us huge amounts of time which equates to saving us a lot of money – £6 billion, in fact. Through 5G-enabled tools and appliances, each household could save upwards of £450 through bills becoming lower.
Our councils will be able to free up funds thanks to the efficiencies of 5G. A report suggests the new network can support services such as intelligent lighting and smart bins, and could save local authorities up to £2.8 billion a year. Just think how local communities would benefit massively through further funding from the freed-up cash – schools, green spaces and facilities could be developed and improved. The NHS too can benefit from 5G, with high-quality remote health services giving back 1.1 million GP hours every year. All this improvement, created by 5G making our cities smarter.
By 2020, over 50 billion devices worldwide will be connected – expect 5G to be the biggest player in connecting us to everyone and everything like never before.