Market Insight

5G – prepare for the brave new world

September 24, 2019

In our recent blog about the advent of the network of networks, we looked at what 5G is, why we need it and when your business will be able to benefit from it.

In our next instalment, we take a look at some of the benefits that this technology will bring and how this might impact your business. 

What will 5G deliver?

One of the core features of 5G is a fast, stable connection wherever you are and whatever you’re doing on your smartphone.

At present the quality of your 4G connection is largely dependent on the number of other mobile device connections in your immediate vicinity. 

5G is expected to reach speeds in excess of one gigabyte per second comfortably in its early stages and 10 gigabytes in the future. 

Put into context, the time to download a full HD film on 3G which would ordinarily take over a day, would be cut down to just four to 40 seconds with 5G. 

Arguably the biggest benefit of 5G will be low latency where it is expected to outstrip 4G by a considerable margin, processing high volumes of data nigh on instantaneously. 

What does this mean, exactly?

When it comes to the ‘Internet of Things’ 5G will open up a brave new world of possibilities and exciting new applications. Everything from driverless cars and advanced virtual reality applications where low latency will be a prerequisite to calculate things such as road conditions in real time, to the ability for surgeons to complete remote surgery. 

So how could your business benefit? 

Better productivity

You would be forgiven for thinking that the advent of 5G won’t directly affect your business, but the reality is that it will – whether directly or indirectly through your clients and customers. 

It will inevitably result in more business process automation, providing the speed and latency required to improved operational efficiency and productivity for businesses. 

Indeed, in a report from O2 in March 2018, 5G was forecast to earn the UK £6 billion a year through productivity savings. 

Qualcomm, meanwhile, estimates that by 2035, 5G will support the production of up to £8.5 trillion worth of goods and services. And research from

Barclays Corporate Banking found that 5G could add £15.7 billion per year to the UK economy by 2025. 

Enabler to new markets 

5G will most certainly be an enabler to new markets and will enable more automation, increased use of robotics and remote working – either of people or robots. It will be transformative, particularly in the world of industry. 

More remote working 

Your people could work remotely more easily and operate machinery from afar. They could be “present” without being present through capabilities like 4k, augmented reality, virtual reality (VR) and holographic calls. Sounds like the stuff of sci-fi films, but Vodaphone did their first holographic call over a year ago! 

Access to private networks 

Network slicing is a sign of how intelligent and flexible 5G will be. It will enable distinct virtual networks to be carved out within the physical network environment. So it will allow you, if you so desire, to have your own private network tailored to your requirements. 

Rural connectivity 

5G could also connect more rural communities, opening up better opportunities for rural businesses. It could even pave the way for whole new products and industries which, with 4G, simply aren’t viable currently. 

So what should you think about? 

How will 5G change the structure and culture of your business, and those of your clients/customers, and what impact will this have? 

Will you need to upskill your people, and will robotic process automation (RPA) reduce your property space requirements in the future?

What effect might 5G have on property demand in the short term and how could this affect you?

Will your business need to proactively address the 5G location lottery and commit to being ‘on the ground’ in those cities where 5G has been rolled out? If so, what do you need to think about in order to make this happen? 

Prepare to embrace the brave new world 

Whilst we don’t know everything that 5G will deliver yet because it is such a revolutionary technology, what we do know if that the potential of 5G is, frankly, mind blowing.

The key is to ensure that your business is well-placed to grasp the opportunities that 5G will present in the not too distant future – either through early adoption, improved agility or by empowering your business now to proactively embrace the brave new world.