5G Technology – paving our future

Fast and efficient, the deployment of 5G technology over the next decade will facilitate advancements across many sectors such as healthcare, manufacturing and transportation, just to name a few.

What makes 5G technology better?

While there are multiple factors which give 5G an unquestionable advantage to previous generations of technology, here are just a few that jump out.

  1. High-Speed

Perhaps the most obvious of all, 5G bandwidth is approximately 100 times faster than 4G technology. The 5G technical term for this is “Enhanced Mobile Broadband” and will provide remarkable speeds and capacity.

  1. Low Latency

Latency is the time it takes for data to travel from source to destination. An example is the delay or lag between clicking on an internet hyperlink and the website responding. The lower the latency, the faster the response time.

The 5G technical term for this is “Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communications”.  In comparison with 4G technology, 5G’s latency is 90% lower and more reliable.

  1. Massive Connectivity

Connectivity represents the number of devices that can connect to a network simultaneously within a defined area. Obviously the more devices, the better.

The 5G technical term for this is “Massive Machine-to-Machine Communications”.  5G can support 10 times more connections than 4G per square kilometre, which will mean we will be capable connecting devices at a scale never seen before.

  1. Efficiency

5G devices can support an extended battery life; 10 times better when compared with 4G devices. This is an important factor that will support the proliferation of devices, like sensors, that can be left in the field to collect data for years without needing to be replaced or recharged.

So what are the possibilities of 5G?

In essence 5G is all about hyper connectivity – or more simply, where everything is connected to everything all the time. Unlike its predecessors 3G and 4G, 5G represents a paradigm shift away from people and their mobile phones to a much broader realm of machine to machine always on connectivity to enable new use cases that will revolutionise how products and services are delivered by organisations..

While there are countless to choose from, here are just a few of the possibilities capable through 5G.

  1. Connected Healthcare

Perhaps the most pertinent while in the midst of a global pandemic, 5G technology has the ability to massively enhance the connectivity of healthcare. Whether it be in the hospital or out in the community, patients will be able to be monitored constantly via sensors that collect and analyse health information and alert physicians and caregivers. Devices may include glucometers, blood pressure cuffs and heart monitors.

  1. Industrial Manufacturing

There is no doubt that the world is moving towards highly autonomous factories, where sensors analyse data from every corner and AI continuously adjusts operations and production to meet demand. With 5G technology this shift will only be enhanced. Higher quality products will be able to be produced faster and at a lower cost, with less waste and lower maintenance.

  1. Intelligent Transport

As seen in last month’s newsroom, Australia is charging towards a future where autonomous vehicles will be the norm. 5G technology will only improve the standard of driverless vehicles with enhanced communications both for in-vehicle-entertainment and on the road vehicle-to-vehicle safety systems. For example, 5G will allow the flow of real-time information on traffic conditions to the vehicle so it will take the safest and quickest route to a destination.

The case for investment in a digital infrastructure

‘Digital infrastructure’ refers to the infrastructure that transports data from point to point. Examples are the NBN, the telecommunications networks and government managed infrastructure such as emergency services networks.

State governments, local governments and private infrastructure owners should be developing strategies to prepare for the social impact and commercial opportunities associated with the projected mass adoption of 5G in the next 5 years.

This adoption of 5G will generate new and emerging ‘hyper-connected’ applications of technology that will have significant economic growth potential. The effect will not just in terms of connectivity, but in both the number of emitters and infrastructure needed to support its operation.

Why 5G is the next era in private enterprise networks?

Private networks advance the ability to deliver highly secure network and endpoint solutions not currently available from many traditional networks, coupling the secure network and endpoints with advanced solutions such as artificial intelligence, advanced analytics, IoT, cloud and edge computing.

Existing technologies do not truly compete with private networks. Ethernet requires fixed cables and wi-fi is less secure and reliable than cellular connections. Private networks starting with 4G LTE and upgrading to 5G provides significant benefits to organisations. IoT data transmitted over private networks allows workers to collaborate, communicate and access data-driven decision-making tools and cognitive analytics to react at the instantaneous pace required to communicate in the mobile, digital and virtual world.

While Australia is still in the midst of a devastating pandemic, the prospect of 5G should not be forgotten about to help the country with an economic recovery. Working with governments and industry to build, scale and accelerate 5G use cases will ensure we see a more smart and connected nation when we finally reach the light at the end of the tunnel.

For more on the possibilities of 5G technology please see the recent global publication, The 5G edge computing value opportunity.

Contributing authors. Zeljko Kitanovic – 5G Technology Lead, Management Consulting, Alex Holt – Global Head of Telecoms and Media, KPMG International

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