Over the past couple of decades, the world of connectivity has transformed in many ways thanks to new technologies. New tech coupled with growing interest in this field is clearing the way for new opportunities and avenues in the connectivity space.
One technology that offers tremendous promise and has caught the attention of world leaders, media, and policymakers around the world is 5G. Having said that, what can we expect from 5G technology? Can we place our bets on it and say that it will shape the future of connectivity? While initial trends do suggest that, it is too early to say or assess how 5G will impact the future of connectivity.
There is absolutely no doubt that the arrival of 5G is a revolutionary step in the right direction. In the upcoming years, a blend of different technologies will make commendable progress. Current connectivity technologies are widening their reach as the adoption continues to increase steadily.
We are currently also seeing the gradual rise of new technologies which are expected to co-exist with the existing solutions at our disposal. The combination of new-age tech and tech from the previous generation are tipped to enhance and have a huge impact on “advanced connectivity”.
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Consumers and 5G – Does the wavelength match?
We have taken huge strides as far as the development of connectivity tech and wireless network is concerned. Coming from the time when 2 Kbps was the maximum speed we could achieve on an analog cellular network, today, cellular networks offer speeds around 200 Mbps. A number of complicated and sophisticated technologies control our communication, efficiency, and production techniques.
Although 5G is in its infancy at the moment, it is just a matter of time when 200 Mbps will be considered to be “slow”. Today, we are seeing the rollout of 5G across many major cities across the globe, and this trend will continue in full swing in the upcoming years.
If you look at the numbers, it is clear that the adoption of 5G has picked up pace in 2021. According to Ericsson, 5G subscriptions on devices that support 5G saw a rise of a whopping 70 million in the first quarter of 2021 . In fact, the firm’s latest mobility report has anticipated that there will be a mammoth 3.5 billion 5G subscriptions by the end of 2026 .
If these predictions come to life in the future, the adoption rate of 5G will be faster than any other mobile technology in history – Yes, even better than 4G.
However, for 5G connectivity to become mainstream, there are a few hurdles that need to be overcome. For example, customers who are using smartphones and connected devices need to be sold that they will have to upgrade their devices to support 5G and even shell out more money initially.
We are already seeing a lot of major mobile network operators such as AT&T and Verizon invest considerable amounts of money on marketing campaigns to sell the 5G ecosystem to customers.
Although there was a brief dip in the number of smartphone and connected devices sales due to the pandemic, telecom companies shifted their focus toward remote work.
Are we heading toward a more connected world?
Governments, policymakers, and end-users have pinned their hopes on 5G to revolutionize the connectivity space. As the 5G technology continues to mature, there has been considerable hype around remote medical procedures, autonomous cars, and similar concepts.
Although we are yet to reach that point where these mentioned ideas will become mainstream, we are slowly getting there. As the adoption of 5G continues to grow across the globe, we should expect a garland of new connectivity elements in the future.
For instance, 4G has opened the gates for enhanced infotainment systems, better-advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), over-the-air maintenance checks, and vehicle-to-environment systems (V2X). While 4G has been the right stepping stone for these technologies to flourish, they are expected to get better as 5G becomes more available. This will ensure more and more vehicles are on the road to autonomy.
Coming to the healthcare sector which again, is projected to be one of the biggest adopters of 5G technology. It can be used to assist with the 4P approach to medicine: preventive, participatory, personalized, and predictive.
A lot of efforts are being made to make it easier for patients to monitor their vital signs daily and provide updates to their medical providers. This gives the medical providers some more time to decide their approach while treating the patients.
PWC’s report “5G in healthcare” points out the potential applications of 5G in a hospital setting. These include supply inventory management and patient monitoring. The healthcare sector has not shied away from taking the digital path and with the emergence of 5G, it will be much easier for medical providers and patients to stay connected on applications or web platforms.
Besides, wearable for health monitoring and telemedicine are other areas within the medical field that will see 5G-driven innovations.
While we have only spoken about the potential applications of 5G in the healthcare and the automotive sector, it will also open up new possibilities in almost every other sector. Right from augmented reality (AR), the internet of things (IoT), and more, 5G is most rightly tipped to be the future of connectivity.
5G will mature, we will see more of it
While 5G has also received a great amount of criticism owing to its potentially harmful effects on the environment and health, its adoption continues to grow. There is a good reason for that too! It is nearly 100 times faster than 4G and offers tremendous potential in many spheres of life.
5G will transform the way we consume data and also how we communicate with each other. However, there is a long way to go (or probably not) for that to happen.
When 5G will be deployed successfully, we will wave goodbye to wires and cables to deliver communication and entertainment. In addition, consumers will enjoy a better quality of video content and enjoy video games like never before.
Time will tell what the future with 5G will look like. Until then, you can continue reading about the technology on our website and follow the latest tech trends.
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  (2021) “Ericsson Mobility Report June 2021” Ericsson [online] Available from: https://www.ericsson.com/assets/local/reports-papers/mobility-report/documents/2021/june-2021-ericsson-mobility-report.pdf [accessed January 2022]