The current switchover and uptake of 5G technology represents a fundamental change compared to 4G and previous mobile data networks. New and improved features like one millisecond latency and high bandwidth (up to 10 Gbps), as well as the rise in connected devices and the Internet of Things (IoT), will provide new applications and benefits to business users.
The primary advantage of 5G is speed. Consumers will be able to access services up to 100-times faster, which will bring massive gains to the entertainment sector as the ability to stream Hi-Res 4K content will spread, as will virtual reality and game streaming services.
Businesses, on the other hand, will be able to maximise efficiency, as the boost to mobile speeds will provide a real benefit to remote working functionality, given that collaboration tools like Skype and Office 365 require reliable, fast connections to work effectively, ultimately increasing productivity.
Autonomous cars will require these superfast network speeds but more importantly, low latency to communicate with other self-driving vehicles, as well as providing internet access for those travelling. Imagine you’re on a car ride and five miles down the road a crash has just happened. Without having to be alerted, cars will be able to pass the information back and forth so that cars, intending to go through the affected area, can automatically reroute to avoid the delay – similar to Google Maps navigation but directly from car-to-car.
Gartner has estimated that the Internet of Things will connect over 625 million devices in the UK by 2023 – nearly 10-times the UK population! The sheer volume of devices that will send small data packets back and forth to data centres for mass-processing allows businesses and consumers alike to benefit from advancements in Big Data. As the IoT takes hold, we expect businesses to increasingly utilise the analysis of Big Data to maximise efficiencies and create new consumer-focused product offerings, by collating and analysing thousands of data points that only artificial intelligence can translate into actionable analytics that will inform future decision-making.
We will also start to see cities, in their entirety, taking advantage of the network as local authorities can use the data to maximise the efficiency of utilities like transportation systems, power plants, water supply networks, waste management, hospitals and other community services as a cost saving tool. This will come in the form of remote sensors that may alert water utilities to rising reservoir levels or alert nursing staff to a patient experiencing complications, all to create a proactive network that can anticipate issues before they arise or raise the alarm for issues, when they do.
5G for Media
Part of the attraction of 5G is that the majority of mobile data users currently don’t require the huge speed increases that 5G enables but, in the same way that over the last decade the use of mobile data has sky-rocketed, new applications and features that take advantage of these speeds, like Hi-Res TV streaming, will start to gain traction, therefore having a futureproofed network, as well as a billing system that can handle the frequency of data usage, will help to ensure that these services can launch easily without the need for massive infrastructure changes in the coming years.
Given the always-connected nature and inherent speed of 5G, billing will become harder, but not impossible. Leveraging automated functionalities like hourly CDR processing and alerting functions will differentiate great portals from the mediocre.
The ease-of-use of customer-facing portals along with 24/7 support services will also help billing providers to separate themselves from the competition, and we expect to see more focus and investment in the management of relationships with clients, so that administrators aren’t getting bogged down in the specifics and can focus more on the immediate needs of the business.