The 5G revolution is here and its impact is expanding far beyond your mobile device. Look no further than retail, healthcare, and manufacturing to get a glimpse into the industries being transformed and redefined by 5G.
Over the last decade, 4G LTE revolutionized our mobile experience, connecting the world with faster network speeds, international roaming, improved app experiences, and reduced buffering times. Undeniably, 5G will impact the telecom industry, already saturated with case studies like from AT&T and Vodafone in developing 5G devices and upgrading networks. But, 5G is more than an extension of 4G (and 3G before that), it is the underlying fabric of an entire ecosystem of connected devices. With unprecedented high-speed rates achieving 100 Gbps and superior device computation, 5G is a catalyst for digital transformation – blurring cultural borders, upending business policies, and benefiting entire economies.
According to Qualcomm Technologies, Inc, 5G is predicted to enable $12.3 trillion in goods and services across all industries by 2035. So, what does the 5G future look outside of mobile, especially as new industries emerge and current ones are disrupted?
Here are three industry-specific examples of how 5G will redefine entire business models by altering the role of technologies from human-run to automation.
Retail: Creating a seamless customer experience
Mobile e-commerce was energized by 4G, shifting marketplace control from the retailer to the consumer, who demands what they want, how they want it, and when it’s most convenient for them. Since then, retailers have been fulfilling shopper’s increasing demands for personalized, custom experiences -- across all touchpoints.
While AI is already capable of powering seamless customer service, with 5G, retailers can enable real-time reactions with 24/7 availability. Together, AI and 5G technologies will elevate retail experiences with tailored recommendations and offers, as well as automated store-to-store communication.
The hyper-speed enabled by 5G will also create new online shopping experiences, mainly in the form of AR and VR. Imagine walking around a mall, going into different stores, trying on clothes, and adding items to your cart - all without leaving the comfort of your home. With 5G’s speed and low-latency, augmented reality will become more accessible, allowing shoppers to visualize products, no matter where they are.
Manufacturing: Developing fluid business models
Shorter product life cycles, paired with increased consumer expectations, are putting increased pressure on manufacturing companies around the globe to digitize their business. As companies look to automation to drive efficiency and growth, 5G networks are integral in building smart factories and capitalizing on emerging technologies – such as AI, IoT and AR – to anticipate, predict and troubleshoot problems.
5G will enable real-time communication between machines and humans, paving the way for automation on accident-prone activities, for example, heavy machinery and unsafe heights. Additionally, 5G technology will allow for greater flexibility, increased efficiency, and shorter the lead time for factory floor configuration.
When paired with AI and IoT, 5G becomes even more valuable, working to support fluid assembly lines and accurate production tracking. The reason: AI-powered automation produces precise actions, allowing machines to learn from their errors and instantaneously react to obstacles, while IoT-driven sensors accurately track items throughout production, shipping, and delivery, impacting efficiency and bottom line production.
Healthcare: Advancing patient efforts
5G is primed to digitize healthcare industry – impacting patients, doctors and care providers alike. In fact, by 2026, those operators addressing healthcare transformation with 5G are predicted to glean approximately $76 billion in revenue.
When it comes to patient care, 5G will streamline time-sensitive hospital communication, including patient transfers, history, and organ donation. The result: hospital staff can spend less time on consuming, back-end process and more time on what’s most important, the patient care.
Utilizing IoT-driven sensors, 5G will also facilitate 24/7 device connectivity, making home care and telemedicine a tangible patient option. Additionally, IoT’s precision to monitor and collect patient data provides healthcare professionals with comprehensive data reports, which can be used for research and decision making.
While 5G promises greater efficiency, connectivity, and overall societal benefits, these possibilities are not feasible without proper devices and infrastructure. Devices must be capable of accessing 5G and an infrastructure must be developed to power and maintain data centers, devices, and global connectivity; while delivering the high-speed rates and reduced latency required to produce 100 Gbps networks. With this in mind, industry leaders, developers, and engineers must work in unison with government and nongovernment organizations to build out shared infrastructures and devices to power the 5G future.