The rollout of fifth-generation mobile network technology will unlock the full potential of emerging technologies, according to data and analytics company GlobalData.
The Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous vehicles, robotics and drones, and virtual reality (VR) are among the advanced technologies that will benefit from 5G’s enhanced data flows, higher reliability and faster response times.
5G can overcome the limitations of 4G for IoT applications in industries such as mining, where lower latency and reliability are critical for daily operations and safety, GlobalData explained.
The company cited the example of Swedish miner Boliden, which worked with Ericsson to deploy 5G at a mine fitted with hundreds of sensors for industrial automation. Boliden expects the use of 5G networks to result in annual savings of over €2.5m (£2.3m).
Autonomous vehicles will also take advantage of the faster data transmission and extended communication range of 5G. The 5G Automotive Association (5GAA) consortium, whose members include Audi and BMW, is exploring how cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) communication, supported by 5G, will help coordinate autonomous driving safely and efficiently.
5G can fill the gaps in 4G by enabling the near-instantaneous response times essential for robots to process more data in real-time, learn new things and better communicate with the real world. Meanwhile, 5G’s elevated bandwidth will enable drones to shoot live 4K or 360-degree videos.
And the widespread adoption of VR will depend on reliable 5G networks, as the immersive technology consumes huge volumes of data.
“While the commercial adoption of 5G for broader industrial applications is expected to take off in the early 2020s, its mainstream adoption could take longer due to several hurdles – the most crucial being cost,” said Archi Dasgupta, director of Disruptive Tech at GlobalData. “As the technology uses a totally different wavelength and needs much higher bandwidth compared to 4G and 3G, it requires network operators to replace the entire existing infrastructure. However, 5G adoptions will increase gradually and complement the effective implementation of emerging technologies.”
Our Next-generation connectivity report looks at how 5G is enabling new technologies in a range of industries and how businesses are preparing for the challenges and opportunities this brings.