Cloud Topics

How 5G Will Benefit Business and Technology

By Nicole Lim / Jul 23, 2020

How 5G Will Benefit Business and Technology text next to the word "5G," mobile, smart watch, and hardware items

The internet has changed the world and has yet to stop evolving, and in fact, some research even considers access to the internet a basic and moral human right. The latest progression expands capabilities with 5G mobile wireless technology. The implications of faster speeds, lower latency, and greater load capacity for data and mobility have both tapped and untapped potential for business in myriad industries.

What Is 5G?

5G is the fifth generation of mobile networks, following the previous succession of 1G-4G. The fourth generation ushered in the era of mobile broadband, and 5G is designed to extend the capacity of the mobile ecosystem, allowing greater connectivity to machines, objects, and devices. The noteworthy additions that 5G offers include:

  • Faster Connection Speeds and more Bandwidth. The feature that has garnered the most public attention for 5G is the increased connection speed, which is expected to be 10 times faster than 4G. Bandwidth is the capacity of data that can pass through a network at any given time. This means that people, industries, and technology have the opportunity to transmit large amounts of data faster than ever before with fewer network issues and lag.
  • Lower Latency. Latency is used to describe the time delay between a user’s actions and the web application's response to that action. Latency is typically measured in milliseconds (ms). While measuring in ms may seem incremental, lowered latency can have drastic impacts for the IoT, as well as for how data can be backed up and accessed from the cloud.
  • Greater Device Capacity. Although the internet is expensive it is not infinite and can only support a certain connection density within a given area and a given time. 5G is expected to be scalable and efficient, with the potential to support up to 1 million connected devices per .38 square miles, as opposed to 4G which could support 2,000 connected devices within the same .38 square miles.
  • Increased Reliability. 5G wireless connectivity will not only be faster, but will also feature Ultra-reliable communication for cloud connectivity and the IoT, critical connections for industrial automation, and reliable wireless coordination for cars and vehicles.
  • Increased Flexibility. 5G flexibility allows for more options of configuration on secure individual frequency bands for professional systems such as private networks.
  • Improved Device Battery Life. Because of reduced latency with 5G, improved battery life for devices is an expected outcome because devices will not require as much computing power for daily tasks that can be automated.

Advantages of 5G in Business

Studies on the impact of 5G expect the new technology to create 22 million jobs, and to produce up to $12.3 trillion goods and services by 2035 across the globe in a range of industries. The global GDP is expected to grow by $3 trillion dollars by 2020-2035. A PSB 5G Economy Global Public Survey Report found that 5G is expected to have widespread benefits for the economy by:

  • Enabling new products and services.
  • Increasing productivity.
  • Allowing new industries to emerge.
  • Supporting small business development and growth.
  • Providing companies the opportunity to become more globally competitive.
  • Improving operational costs and efficiencies for businesses.

Productivity

The many benefits of 5G in regards to faster and more reliable connection and lower latency will allow businesses and workers to operate more quickly and efficiently which can save operation costs and increase revenue over time. This may come in the form of coworkers better able to communicate and collaborate over projects, or business operations to be automated with more connected devices in flexible office spaces.

Remote Work

Seamless connectivity that secures fast and efficient and continuous internet connection may be a key factor in the transition to remote work and removing the need for commuting to workspaces. Employees will be able to connect to the internet wirelessly for constant and unbroken access, project collaboration, video conferencing, and utilization of all necessary tools, programs, and equipment without fear of internet gaps or failure with tailored networks.

Rural Connectivity and Innovation

5G access in rural areas will improve connectivity and access to the internet, helping to solve issues of connectivity and availability through the increased support of multiple devices. This creates an opportunity not only to bridge technological gaps, but also offers the opportunity for individuals in rural communities to create and sustain business innovation and operation.

Tailored Networks and Software

Leveraging the benefits of software as a service (SaaS) or cloud computing depends in part on all members of an organization having reliable, high-quality internet access — but that’s just the beginning. The reliability and flexibility of 5G offers opportunities for network slicing, allowing businesses to organize their virtual network architecture as needed. This may include multiple virtual networks to work simultaneously on a shared physical infrastructure. Optimizing the utilization of infrastructure and best allocations of resources will enable greater energy and cost efficiencies and allow new products, SaaS marketplaces that provide software-focused services, and other digital services to be brought more broadly to the market and easily adapted to demand changes and evolution.

Industry-Specific Applications

With the expected spur of economic growth projected by the previously mentioned studies of the impact of 5G and the PSB Global Public Survey Report, there are also industry-specific applications of 5G that could modernize and improve upon business operations and efficiencies. Consider the following industries:

  • Healthcare: Opportunities for development in telehealth services, remote and robotic surgery, remote patient monitoring, and efficient storage and retrieval of patient records. Effects of development in the healthcare sector may also impact other related fields including business, app development, pharmaceutical companies, device manufactures, health organizations, insurance companies, and more.
  • Financial Services: The financial service industry has evolved with technological growth. Nearly 81% of financial institutions have made changes in regards to technology at the corporate and branch levels, in recent years. The adoption of 5G services may push innovation for: customer service and video calling with financial representatives, wearable devices that use local authentication and biometric data for secure access, real-time financial recommendations for budget limits, and the ability to create more efficient backend processes for financial institutions.
  • Retail: 5G paves the way for more brands and service providers to enter, or even create new online marketplaces. Shopping experiences may evolve through the support of 5G in regards to augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), where online shoppers can visualize products in their local environment. Utilizing AR can allow shoppers to view information on products simply by using their phone camera. 5G will also help drive the discovery of businesses for consumers, and increase a business’s way of interacting with clients and developing other services through apps that can be sold on cloud marketplaces. This may include subscription commerce platforms that allow customers to easily find, purchase, and use recurring digital services. B2B-focused businesses may also evolve with digital commerce platforms that manage cloud-based software and services sold through marketplace software that can include front end capabilities such as customizable branding and search tools, to back end functions including billing, identity and access management, product provisioning, and other management tools.
  • Manufacturing: The opportunities 5G poses for manufacturing range from increased network infrastructure to innovation in automation and use of AI and remote maintenance. Additionally, higher-speed data collection can help businesses optimize performance and make strategic business decisions.
  • Transportation: The speed and efficiency of 5G has crucial implications for the development of self-driving vehicles, alongside smart traffic lights and grids that can help to reduce heavy traffic, increase vehicle-to-vehicle safety and communication, as well as improve roadside infrastructure communications.

Risks of 5G

While the integration of 5G connectivity comes with vast opportunities for innovation and economic evolution, there are risks that must still be explored and mitigated. This includes potential security exploitation and risks. Business concerns for 5G may include:

  • A larger attack surface and higher use of software create more opportunities for cybercriminal penetration.
  • A larger number of connected devices will require security measures and authentication.
  • Exploring ways to extend security to IoT devices.
  • Having to finally modernize legacy systems in order to fully leverage new technology, and avoid being left behind by marketplace evolution.

As 5G technology continues to develop and become more popular, security measures will continue to evolve. Businesses operating with 5G may need to include zero-trust security models that must verify any devices before allowing a connection. Additional virtualized and automated security controls, machine learning, and threat detection intelligence will become a forefront in protecting against cyberattacks in business operations.