Is 5G the technology enabler we have been waiting for?

  • On January 14, 2019

Walking the floors of CES2019 I could see two constant elements, the white “humans” Google Assistants of the “Hey Google” Assistant (I will talk about them in another article) and 5G in big, really big, letters (above, an image taken from the Verizon keynote).

From Qualcomm to Intel, from Verizon to AT&T to any of the companies involved in autonomous “something”, or data “whatever”, 5G is there.

5G seems to be the missing link between prototyping and mass adoption reality for many technologies, well beyond making your phone’s data transmission faster. Among the technologies that need 5G to make a real breakthrough in our lives you can certainly count: IOT (internet of things), autonomous driving (autonomous mobility), streaming virtual reality and telemedicine, and certainly many other things we haven’t even thought of yet.

But what is 5G and when can we see it in action everywhere?

5G stands for fifth-generation cellular wireless. If you have been around on this planet for at least 20 years, you have certainly experienced a few generations of wireless data transmission (2G, 3G, 4G). Each generation has been a leap frog vs. the previous one, requiring extensive hardware and network updates and being mostly incompatible with previous ones. History is set to repeat itself this time again as wide adoption of 5G requires significant world wide upgrades well beyond getting a new mobile phone that is 5G enabled.

Getting specific, 5G brings three new aspects to the table: greater speed (to move more data), lower latency (to be more responsive), and the ability to connect a lot more devices at once (for sensors and smart devices).

4G and 5G will coexist for a long time and network operators have started a “war” to be the 1st to bring to market their version of 5G. While who is first is irrelevant to the general public, it certainly is to the operators as it can define who wins more big fat government and B2B contracts to upgrade the entire network as well as the millions of devices used in various sectors.

So, how is 5G coming out from CES? According to several analysts, we are still in the “hype” phase and real “stuff” are yet to come.

“At CES, 5G is mainly being used as a buzzword and proxy for future of mobility”

– Avi Greengart, an analyst at Global Data.

This could change already in a month as the Mobile World Congress could prove to be a touchstone moment. A number of new smartphones from different vendors could tap into the 5G promise and get the ball rolling for wider network upgrades.

Once 5G becomes reality we can expect to see several industries picking up and a new wave of innovation entering our lives.

Until then…

Luigi Matrone

CEO & Founder eBusiness Institute




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