Up ’til now, the “G’s” of yesteryear have been utilized for phone calls and internet connections. Just as 4G fueled the drive towards smartphone adoption, 5G is expected to bring a new kind of internet revolution – one that hopes to do more than just raise everyone’s data rates.
That’s because 5G isn’t just about consumer communication technology. It’s about connecting the internet to everything, and finally making IoT a concept that’s commercially relevant for today’s market. At last, the buzzing “when” and “how long until” questions and anticipation surrounding connected cars, remote surgery and sensors, smart cities, and connected homes are about to be answered thanks to the new 5G network.
How will 5G power IoT? It all comes down speed. The future of all things connected by a single network requires considerable capacity and exponential speed. Like, that camera that shoots frames faster than the speed of light type of speed. Consumers will increasingly rely on the stability and speed of the network in which our devices operate. Thanks to the insane power and efficiency expected in the era of 5G, the IoT industry will be even more promising. Your alarm clock will be able to communicate with your coffee machine, and your refrigerator will be able to request a refill from Amazon Instant. It’ll all happen automatically in the blink of an eye, and use hardly any power to do so.
Thanks to the enhanced quality of real-time information emanating from every device, appliance, and “thing,” IoT technology will take the guesswork out of decision making. The reduction of “inventory,” in every consumer-related sense of the word, will affect the food you buy, the meals you cook, the fuel for your car, and the time you need to do things. As we live longer, the burden of healthcare will take upon itself to improve the monitoring of your physical and emotional state, connecting you with medical professionals in the area, recommending treatment options in real-time. As a result, our notions of privacy and what we share will continue to evolve. Wearable devices will become part of our daily lives, the same way that smartphones are today.
The pioneer in 4G technology, Verizon has just announced it will be the first to deploy in 5G, anticipating commercial deployment as early as 2017. This is much sooner than the initial 2020 time frame pegged for early adoption of next generation wireless tech to kick off.
How is this possible? It all depends on your definition of 5G, which traditionally promises speeds 100x faster than 4G. Verizon’s own 5G will actually be significantly slower, only 40x faster than 4G, meaning their 5G will probably be more like 4.25G. Better for sure, but not what the IoT industry needs.
While a global consortium exists that has attempted to bring a more universal, standard definition to these “xG” terms, the reality for wireless consumers is that the technology is self-definable, and 5G is no different.
With AT&T taking a more conservative approach, it’s clear that the world is not only ready for 5G, but it’s the spark IoT technology needs to make it relevant for consumers everywhere.
Check out this awesome infographic that explains what 5G is, what it will bring, and examples of applications.