In the last article I wrote a bit about the history of mobile networks and why we need 5G and if you do a quick search for 3G, 4G, or 5G above then you’ll find a bunch of other interesting articles too. Today however I wanted to share with you just why i’m super excited about 5G as a technology in particular.
5G is not only bringing super fast bandwidth with it, up to 1000MBPs which is pretty mind blowing, but it’s also bringing super low latency too. What that means is that you’ll be able to connect, instruct, receive all in close to real time. So far GPRS, 3G and 4G, despite being wonderful enhancements in their own rights served a purpose of their times, which was largely the posting and consumption of large amounts of data. Things such as video viewing, picture sharing, posting to social media etc didn’t really matter if there was a short deal when using and connecting to those types of services, but we’ll see below just what kinds of things zero latency can enable.
So, 5G is not just about what it brings to the table but the other technologies that are struggling today that will thrive using 5G. Lets explore some of these right now.
Autonomous vehicles & drones
To date there’s been a lot of energy focussed on self driving vehicles and autonomous drones and with companies like Tesla, Uber, Ford, Apple, Amazon, BMW and even Google involved you simply can’t ignore the pace at which this technology will develop. However one thing is missing. On a 4G network you practically have to load up instructions and then let these vehicles try and navigate their way around on their own.
Sure they have amazing machine learning and AI built in so a self driving car for instance can recognise a person, the road, traffic signals and how to react to them, however what they’re missing is the ability to connect and react to other vehicles, beacons and devices around them in real time. This poses a real problem for this market but if they had a technology where this could become reality then just maybe we’d see self driving cars become a serious technology. It would also enable the the tech to perform to limits that we as humans could only dream of. Cars able to move at lightning speed, missing other obstacles by millimetres, but all done quite safely might sound like Sci-Fi but it could be a reality if the right technology is put together.
I have to say a word about drones as I love this technology. I myself have a DJI Mavic Pro that can fold up into a small camera bag unyet it can do amazing things for such a small aircraft. However why aren’t we using these things in an automated manner so they could be safely flying over heard, able to communicate, receive instructions and react to all kinds of situations. The market for drones is huge, they could improve security, deliver our goods in a 10th of the time we get them currently and at the fraction of the cost and damage to the environment and they could be used for a lot more too. They just need 5G!
One completely different area that would benefit massively from a zero latency network is remote surgery. This is one of the quiet corners of medicine that has progressed hugely over the years, however it’s hit a roadblock due to not having a reliable network, with low enough latency to be able to truly perform live surgery from half way around the world. I for one would not be too keen for a doctor to be performing open heart surgery on me whilst having to contend with any kind of short delay! Snip, snip and there goes an artery!
This would change the face of surgery and would effectively mean that surgeons would become a global, on demand commodity, accessible to the whole world at the touch of a button. Just add an autonomous element to this and surgeons all over the world could be losing their jobs, whilst the market of surgery improves for us all 100 fold.
VR and the “touchy feely” web
So far we’ve talked about technologies that have a great use, but what about the fun element. Well I don’t know if you’ve been trying out VR but this is going to be big. In fact I am pretty confident that VR will not only finally supersede the TV, which is a pretty fruity thing to say!, but it has the ability to actually change the face of a lot of what we do. Social media could be transformed by VR, putting us all actually in touch with each other at any time, able to share live moments as if we were there in almost cinematic or even god like manner and putting social media on steroids as it quite literally changes the way we socialise once again.
Films, sports and TV will be transformed as you can quite literally walk amongst the story along with the characters or competitors and coupled with the ability to feel over the web too, VR will bring quite possibly the ability to almost be in another place, maybe you’re actually there? Maybe not, Which is the real me…!!! I don’t know any more!!! What does this need to work properly, you guessed it, 5G with a zero latency network that will bind it all together.
IOT is basically how we describe the growing network of smaller gadgets, devices and sensors that can be deployed, often autonomously, and that can communicate with each other and perform simple actions without the need for us humans to tell them what to do! Instead of waking up at 0.30 every weekday, your sleep monitoring devices will be talking to the weather, temperature and daylight services and waking you up at the optimum time to ensure you;re fresh and able to do more work in the shorter space of time you might have.
IOT is just super, massive and it’s probably going to change our lives quicker and in more depth than any of the above will so far. It’ll ultimately replace our smartphones that have formed a vital part of our society as IOT takes control, anticipating what we need and by when.
Bump… right back to 2017 and the reality is that whilst there’s a lot going on in the world of IOT, the reality is often it’s very basic right now, it doesn’t work half the time and it is simply down to the fact that the technologies it needs aren’t quite up to speed just yet. Bluetooth, WiFi, 3/4G and even battery technology are all aimed at larger devices that are power hungry and optimised to be running on power or being charged once per day. IOT devices often have to work for years without any help at all.
5G along with new technologies will help to give IOT the platform it needs to take us into the newer, better version 2 world of connected devices that will start to see some truly wonderful stuff happen.
So there we have it, a little bit of dreaming and eye-opening stuff. What I would say to close though is that futuristic this all might sound, but as with a most technology these days, the reality is only just around the corner. Expect to see some serious strides in these areas as 5G and other newer foundation technologies take hold and take us into the next decade.