Take These Three Steps To Thrive In The 5G Era

January 21, 2020 - 6 minutes read

Original Article Featured in Forbes.

The 5G era is upon us. At Dogtown Media, our team constantly discovers new ways technology can profoundly impact the world, and 5G will be the rising tide that raises all ships. According to the June 2019 Ericsson Mobility Report, “No previous generation of mobile technology has had the potential to drive economic growth to the extent that 5G promises.”

In just five years, 5G is predicted to carry 35% of global mobile data traffic and 60% of mobile subscriptions in North America. From a consumer standpoint, it’s certainly exciting. But it will be far more than faster access to Instagram Stories that’s going to ignite the trillions of dollars in economic growth that PricewaterhouseCooper predicts will come as a result of the next-generation network.

Imagine a hospital in which medical devices such as blood pressure monitors, wearables and MRI machines are all sending and receiving information without any delay. Thanks to 5G-fueled medical tech development, surgeons will even be able to conduct operations remotely with virtually no latency between their own movements and those of a robotic arm actually conducting the surgery miles away. Sound like science fiction? It’s not. The technology was successfully demonstrated at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The 5G Future

Healthcare is just one industry in which 5G will impact the future, and much more is to come. The network is still in its infancy. Thus far, it’s only been rolled out in densely populated areas like Chicago and Los Angeles, where telecoms get the best return on their infrastructure investments and the most publicity. Even if you’re in one of the few areas that actually have a 5G network, taking advantage of the futuristic speeds requires using a device that supports 5G.

To date, there are only a few Android devices with 5G capabilities, and iPhone users will likely have to wait until the end of 2020 to start tapping into the next-generation network. There is a silver lining, however. Your business doesn’t have to wait for years to start preparing for the 5G future — you can get started now.

Instead of passively waiting for the 5G era to arrive, you can be the one shaping tomorrow’s breakthrough technology. Simply start by following these three steps today:

1. Run simulations.

Unless you want to establish a temporary development office in the Los Angeles Convention Center, there aren’t many ways to experiment with 5G network capabilities. In order to get around this obstacle, our team has conducted experiments using a Raspberry Pi device to simulate what it’s like having rapid data transfer capabilities in a developing environment. Similarly, Qualcomm works with Android app developers by simulating 5G network speeds for them as they build. And beyond that, some telecom consulting companies offer services that allow users to simulate 5G, but those services are paid and not nearly as home-brewed as using a device like the Raspberry Pi.

Until you can access the devices and infrastructure necessary for real-world testing, simulations are a great way to get practice.

2. Prepare for two user experiences.

Adoption of 5G won’t just happen with the flip of a switch. Instead, teams should create separate 4G and 5G experiences in order to bridge the digital divide. A huge portion of the U.S. population will be stuck on slower networks because telecoms lack the incentives to make expensive infrastructure investments in sparsely populated rural areas. It’ll be necessary for developers to deliver a two-tiered experience in order to appeal to users in 5G areas while still attending to their 4G audience in the meantime.

3. Build more work into your budget.

All that extra development takes time, so plan on increasing budgets by 20% to 50%. Not only will different users have access to different networks, but the same user might also travel across coverage areas and need to seamlessly downgrade or upgrade to a different network. This flexibility will require technologies that automatically detect connectivity strength and speed, creating even more work for development teams — and a need for more development workers.

5G is coming and will bring with it radical transformation. But it will demand a significant investment in order for consumers and industries to leverage its true potential. To avoid being left behind, start preparing your team now. If you run into difficulties, don’t give up. 5G is here to stay, and it will be changing the world in the blink of an eye.

At Dogtown Media, we’re creating the mobile future every day. Get in touch with my team for a Free Mobile App Consultation. If you can dream it, we can build it!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,