5G Will Enable Tomorrow’s Tech to Become a Reality

January 18, 2018 - 5 minutes read

It wasn’t so long ago when the smartest thing about your phone was its ability to fold in two and fit snugly in your pocket. With advancements over the years, mobile technology has played an integral role in ushering in a new era of society. But with the advent of 5G upon us, are we ready for what the future has to offer?

The Future Within Reach

Last week, droves of tech enthusiasts descended upon the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Besides developers in Las Vegas and the surrounding area, the annual event draws in techies from all around the world hoping to catch a glimpse of what the future may look like.

This year, CES didn’t disappoint. With an array of gadgets spanning across fields like robotics, virtual reality, and drones, CES allowed attendees the opportunity to get hands-on experience with products and concepts that may still be quite a ways off from reaching consumers. In some cases, these innovations may never reach fruition.

But behind the curtains, the more viable ideas are only becoming possible due to a common theme — the utilization of 5G wireless connectivity.

Like Lightning in the Palm of Your Hand

Improvements in wireless connectivity make it feel like we have the whole world at our fingertips. But soon, we’ll hold lightning in our hands. Back in 2009, 4G gave us the ability to achieve a download rate of 100 megabits (Mb) per second. Basically, 4G allows us to download a two-hour movie in roughly six minutes.

By comparison, 5G will allow us to download that same movie in approximately four seconds. Isolated testing and limited rollout of 5G is expected to begin by the end of 2018, with widespread adoption anticipated to happen by 2020. This isn’t that far away, and many companies are already preparing for a future with 5G.

A Bandwagon You Want to Get On

Outside of innovations in other industries, mobile carriers are racing to be first in the 5G market, with many using CES as a jump-off platform to proclaim their plans of introducing the wireless connectivity soon. In collaboration with Verizon, Samsung aims to bring 5G to select areas of California by 2018’s end. AT&T hopes to bring the technology to at least a dozen markets in the same time frame.

While many experts at CES were skeptical that 5G would be readily available by then, it has been noted that the adoption of 4G was exponentially faster than 3G. Couple this with the fact that many organizations are extremely eager to capitalize on the numerous advantages that 5G brings, and it’s easy to see that this expedited time frame may not be so farfetched.

During a panel discussion, Matt Grob, executive vice president of technology at Qualcomm Technologies, explained the hype: “This technology is going to offer new types of services that were not possible before, but also reduces the cost. The demand is really clear.”

The Possibility to Enhance Everything

In the same conference, Erik Ekudden, head of technology and architecture at Ericsson, touched upon how 5G would bring “a lot of financial and technical benefits in terms of revamping and rebuilding technological manufacturing plants.” Ekudden was also quick to highlight that multiple aspects of society would be affected by 5G: “This kind of ‘fiber experience in your pocket’ is not a bad way to describe it. But it’s also so much more. Any system that we’ll be talking about here, any industrial system, could really benefit from this.”

Of course, 5G connectivity will immensely improve what’s possible in mobile app development, but it will also let us further innovation in infrastructure, transportation, and mixed reality, just to name a few. Steve Koenig is the senior director of market research at the Consumer Technology Association, the organization behind CES. His enthusiasm about 5G appears to be just as limitless as the possibilities with the technology: “There’s so much to talk about here… whether it’s security, transportation, environment, energy… Imagine what’s going to be possible in a 5G world. It’s truly amazing to ruminate on this.”

What do you hope will be possible with 5G connectivity? Let us know in the comments!

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