At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this year, Qualcomm presented a module for phone manufacturers that will make it easier for them to develop their own 5G devices. Qualcomm’s Exec VP Don Rosenberg wrote, “We believe 5G will change the world even more profoundly than 3G and 4G; that it will be as revolutionary as electricity or the automobile, benefiting entire economies and entire societies.”
At the same event, Huawei introduced the first 5G customer premise device. This wireless network hub can deliver download speeds of 2 gigabytes per second (Gbps) or more, 20 times faster the worlds faster fiber network.
Together, those two innovations will knock down some of the biggest roadblocks to the adoption of 5G tech all over the world, but particularly in Australia and New Zealand.
With latency of less than half a millisecond, 5G wireless represents far more than just an upgrade to mobile speed, bandwidth, energy consumption and coverage areas. It will make possible many applications that just couldn’t work before. Self-driving cars with lightning fast reflexes are the examples most commonly cited, but there are many more examples.
Here are some of the ways projections on how 5G will reshape the business landscape in 2018 and beyond.
1. Devices come first
In Australia and New Zealand, the majority of web users (55%) already go online by smartphone or tablet, instead of by a desktop or laptop. 5G will solidify the dominance of mobile, especially as millennials take on leadership roles in more companies. Mobile-first will replace mobile-ready as company websites redesign around less clickable text and more video to make sites easier to navigate on smaller touchscreens.
2. The workforce will be field service by default
More and more workers will be taking their tasks on the road, bringing service to the customer. Today, service coverage gets sparse the further you get from an urban area. 5G’s multi-hop mesh means that each 5G device extends the coverage area further out into low coverage areas. Sales and service will have greater capacity for interactive demos, including 3D and augmented reality components, even far from the city. The world will have wireless connectivity practically everywhere.
3. Phones will lighten up
Greater bandwidth, stronger connections and wider coverage mean that phones with less on board memory can keep up with or surpass heavy competitors. Many phones will become thinner and cheaper as there is less need for physical computing resources in the handset. That effect is intensified by lower energy requirements which means smaller batteries. Screens could get larger and more flexible, like the upcoming Samsung Galaxy’s rumored transparent and foldable phone.
4. Multiple service levels on a single network
Just as virtual machines allow many simulations of different operating systems on a single physical server, 5G brings network slicing to physical networks. Network slicing means that different clients or departments can use different slices on the same network configured to fit their needs. For example, on group could have a network slice for mobile broadband video, tuned to maximum uptime and minimum latency. Meanwhile another department could run a automation control network, tuned to maximize monitoring for the maximum number of devices. A third network could be set up just for data gathering and analytics.
5. The office-less mobile command center
Already many business owners run all of their essential business software on their private phones. Apps for tasks related to financial operations, IT monitoring, customer service ticketing apps, currency-enabled chatbots, document management, and marketing automation are available on any phones. Soon there will be no need for a desktop or even a desk. Out of the office, on the job will be standard operating procedure in a 100% mobile world.
6. Unpredictable business models will pop up
Pop up shops are one of the defining business model innovations of the 21st century, but they are just the beginning. Virtual mobile phone systems, that can be created on the fly to bring together team members from a variety of organizations, make possible all sorts of new business arrangements. Just as film makers and open source development groups have done in the past, now businesses may form rapidly from a widely dispersed crew of freelancers that disperse again at the end of each project. Commerce itself will have to change, empowered by ubiquitous connectivity and built on blockchain’s distributed ledgers.
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