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5G, or fifth generation, is the newest iteration of wireless network connectivity. It’s set to unlock innovation that was previously unattainable on 4G networks. Though 5G isn’t expected to officially roll out until 2020, the four major cell carriers in the United States have made plans to release it this year. AT&T is leading the race, having already implemented 5G capabilities in several trial cities across America.

5G’s innovative benefits:

 

Massive device connectivity

One of the most highly anticipated benefits of 5G is its ability to expand the Internet of things (IoT). 5G will allow for more high-demand devices to connect over a single network — up to 1 million devices per square mile. A large number of connected devices will bring about the opportunity to create truly smart cities. That means cars, buildings, traffic infrastructure and more will be able to act simultaneously on the same network.

Faster connection

Not only will 5G be able to connect a massive number of devices at once, but each device will also be able to operate at a much faster rate. 5G devices will be able to work at 5GB/s. To put that in perspective, that means you’ll be able to download an entire HD movie in less than 10 seconds — a task that takes several minutes over 4G.

Lower latency

Higher speed connection will also create lower latency on devices. Latency is the “lag time” between when you tell your technology to do something and when it actually does it. On the current 4G networks, the average latency speed is around 40 to 50 milliseconds. On 5G, latency will be reduced to less than 5 milliseconds.

Higher reliability and battery life

5G networks are also expected to be much more reliable than the 4G network we currently operate on. That means far fewer dropped calls or lost connections. Not only will the networks be more reliable, but you will also be able to better trust your devices. 5G is expected to extend battery life up to 10 times. That means you won’t run out of battery before a task is completed.

Benefits to business

5G will provide benefits for every business, from retail to healthcare. Regardless of the industry, its capabilities will make work easier and more efficient.

Smart cities

The IoT and smart cities will open the gate for easier and more efficient workflows and environments. Smart cities will be highly connected, making commutes faster and easier with automated transportation, laying the groundwork for more flexible office spaces and providing connectivity for large-scale bring-your-own device (BYOD) programs. Smart buildings will be able to monitor occupancy, lighting, and temperature, and activity can be streamed via apps, making business communication easier than ever before.

Augmented and virtual reality

5G is expected to support significantly higher augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) capacities, allowing for more innovation and implementation in many industries. The applications of these technologies are currently only scratching the surface and remain in their infancy, but ABI research found that AR and VR markets are set to reach $292 billion by 2025. With the high-powered capacity of 5G, we’ll be able to find out what full-force AR and VR looks like.

Remote work capabilities

On 5G networks, remote work will be easier than ever. Not only will smart cities keep employees more connected, but they’ll also allow for work to get done at a much faster pace. Conference and video calls, for example, are often better in theory than in execution. The combination of AR and VR, with hyper-fast connectivity, will make remote meetings seamless. No matter where you’re working from, you’ll feel as if you’re physically in the office.

Industry-specific applications

Though the benefits to business overall are groundbreaking, some of the industry-specific applications of 5G may be even more impressive. Below are a few of the markets that will likely see the largest impact of 5G implementation.

Healthcare

On an administrative level, 5G will make large file transmissions, scheduling, billing and customer service lightning fast and much more hands-off, as 5G and a more evolved IoT come into play. In a recent keynote speech, tech innovator Mark Hurd noted we’re, “going to see more and more AI-assisted healthcare technicians as the Internet of Things evolves and you automate many of these healthcare devices.”

AI will be able to perform some diagnosis, predict potential patient outcomes, advise early intervention and even provide real-time learning via AR and VR technology. Though these capabilities have already been deployed in some parts of the healthcare industry, 5G will accelerate implementation on a much larger scale and at an industry-wide level.

Retail

The retail industry will see some of the biggest changes due to 5G availability. 5G will power a slew of new offerings in-store and online, namely through AR. Augmented reality will create the ability to provide a virtual try-on experience, allowing users to try on products online via a website or mobile app.

Additionally, smarter dressing rooms are on their way. Mirrors can become equipped with sensors that recognize products being tried on, can suggest accessories to compliment them and even show us what they would look like all together. Stores may even create customer profiles that store sizes, preferences and past purchases, all accessible in the dressing room.

Manufacturing

The manufacturing industry is going to see their very own technological revolution, as 5G becomes a part of their day-to-day work. Smart factory capability, powered by the IoT, will allow for a much more comprehensive and efficient work environment. Sensors will be able to monitor the atmosphere; tools will be connected via the smart network and AI will be able to operate at a much higher capacity.

AR and VR will also help power real-time, on-site learning and training. Employees will be able to learn on the spot and quickly implement their skills with the help of 5G networks. This will create a more efficient workflow and highly-skilled employees.

 

5G is set to provide much higher speed and greater connectivity. It lays the groundwork for innovation beyond what we’ve ever seen before. Every industry will benefit from the 5G revolution, and its implementation is right around the corner.