The eagerly awaited 5th generation technology (5G) began rolling out across the UK last year and there are already approximately 60 cities where it is currently available.
Many phrases have been used to describe the new 5G technology: super-fast, ultra-fast, uber-fast and lightning fast. OK, so it’s fast, but what does that mean?
The increase in speed that 5G brings means that users can download content a lot quicker; to give this some perspective, a movie that took 10 minutes to download via 4G will now only take an incredible 10 seconds. This is great for the consumer market but what about businesses I hear you say.
IMAGE1 />A key advantage is that 5G will enable businesses to operate more efficiently, saving costs and increasing revenue. When combined with other next-generation technologies such as Edge-to-Edge capabilities and the Internet of Things (IoT) it is predicted that 5G will alter every user experience in exciting ways, from financial services to retail, manufacturing to transportation and healthcare to name just a few. Automation is predicted to increase significantly and will make manufacturing processes more cost effective.
Smart buildings will be more efficient and tailored to meet the occupancy level of each office. Even the commute to the office will be easier because automated and smart transport will be more efficient and punctual – a huge relief for millions of commuters. In fact, the number of commuters is predicted to fall because 5G will encourage remote working due to the improvement in connectivity.
The deployment of 5G is a gradual process and it could be several years before we fully reap the rewards. One industry report estimates that by the year 2035 5G could result in £9.3 trillion, yes trillion, worth of goods globally in industries including entertainment, retail, education and transport. The report continues to suggest 5G could support 22 million jobs worldwide over the next decade.
5G will support augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) applications which should have major benefits in several sectors, including tourism, entertainment, property, manufacturing and gaming. The retail sector will be transformed with mobile AR changing the shopping habits of millions of consumers throughout the UK.
Industry experts believe that the new technology will enable companies to diversify by launching new products and services allowing them to enter new markets and increasing productivity.
The UK may not have widespread 5G coverage until 2022 but businesses should plan ahead. Any IT projects should ensure systems are forward-compatible and can transition to 5G when available. The businesses that are ready to embrace 5G and utilise it fully will be the ones leading the field in an increasingly competitive market.
It’s obvious that 5G will bring numerous benefits to businesses of all sizes and across every sector, and to be running a business in the midst of a technological revolution is truly a once in a generation opportunity.
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