In recent months, many have started to discuss how the next wave of advancing wireless technology systems may affect society. Not only is 5G (fifth generation) expected to boost communication, but it’s expected to help push other innovations forward. 5G is the largest step forward in wireless as it promises to deliver data speeds 10x faster than current 4G LTE and handle 1,000 more traffic than today’s networks. While you may hear more news about 5G in the upcoming months, it’s important to understand what it is and how it may change the tech-sector (and the world). The next generation of wireless technology will affect a wide range of industries from healthcare to financial services to retail.
What is 5G?
You may remember 3G and currently using 4G, but are you aware of what the fifth generation of wireless technology systems may do? If you’re unsure, it’s important that you stay up-to-date on its progress as it could affect how you go about your day-to-day activities. Regardless if you would use 5G for social connectivity or business purposes, many are excited for its potential applications it will boost wireless network capabilities. As there are over 19 billion connected devices worldwide, society appears to be using IoT (Internet of Things) devices more and more every day. Meaning, networks must be able to accommodate the increasing bandwidth of users and data that is transmitted, without failure.
5G is expected to do much more than 4G LTE. The fifth generation of wireless technology is expected to provide users with much faster connections. In fact, many are expecting it to be similar to real-world speeds. The technology will enable faster data transfer speeds (from 4G’s 1Gbps to 10Gbps). What would take minutes to download on a 4G network, a few seconds with 5G a connected device.
Where did 5G Come From?
Wireless communication is something that is standard now. However, it did not become a commercially viable consumer service until the late 1970s, into the early 1980s. This is when 1G, or the first generation of wireless technology systems was introduced to consumers through the use of cell phones. Cell phones at this time allowed for mobile voice calls only.
Later, in the early 1990s, 2G was introduced and allowed for data transmission. However, it’s important to note that media-rich applications were only made possible in 1998 with the introduction of 3G. This included mobile internet browsing and video calling. In 2008, 4G (now known as 4G LTE) was introduced and is still widely used by the world’s population. As you may already be aware, 4G allows for real-world speed to provide mobile online gaming, live streaming, video conferencing, connected home solutions, and artificial reality or virtual reality experiences.
Today, in 2019, we’re experiencing many technological breakthroughs. From autonomous vehicles to near-instant communication methods, many are requiring networks to work even faster than before. That’s where 5G comes into play and is crucial in order to connect to the technological infrastructure of tomorrow.
What Industries Will 5G Disrupt?
There are a number of industries who will be affected once platforms are functioned. The most obvious is what many may call the digital and communication industry. This specifically speaks to mobile phone or internet providers since a number of actions such as messaging and downloading will be able to happen faster. 5G will allow for larger files to upload and download faster, messages to be sent or received almost instantly, and applications will be able to offer better experiences to consumers. Apart from the obvious mobile or digital communications, many anticipate the following industries to also be impacted; Healthcare, Automotive, Retail, and Entertainment.
Source: Gemalto, YouTube
One can assume that Healthcare will take advantage of 5G networks to improve efficiency. However, it can also be anticipated to aid preventative care and remote treatment. Both allowing for costs to be reduced and overall health to improve. 5G will offer for more tools to be widely used. Apart from wearable technology being able to easily transmit more information, advancements in medical tools that rely on 5G connections will be possible. One example is robotic surgery as performed by a team in China who tested 5G remote surgery on an animal’s liver in January 2019 for the first time. In terms of remote treatment, as doctor wait times seem to be constantly increasing, many are flocking to the ability to virtually meet with their healthcare practitioner if they need minor attention. Prescription refills or easy-to-diagnose conditions such as bactericidal viruses or allergies are only a few conditions to name. Of course, if more tests, a referral, or serious medical treatment is required, patients would still need to visit a doctor in person. 5G networks will allow for video conferencing for these specific situations to only become easier, more widely desired, and ultimately, a standard option.
Autonomous vehicles are on the horizon and 5G can greatly help move this along. Since autonomous technology will require fast and real-time information transmission to send and receive critical data, more advanced networks will be necessary. In terms of driverless vehicles, Tesla and Google are only two to name who are racing to accomplish this. 5G networks can also help boost ‘cellular-vehicle-to-everything’ or C-V2X technology systems that allow vehicles to communicate with each other. While autonomous vehicles are in the testing phase, it will be interesting to see how progress is made once 5G is widely available for public use. Currently, 4G or Wi-Fi is not able to properly accommodate the amount of data required to do this.
You may already notice some innovative tech-features while you’re shopping. One example is Sephora’s virtual try-on feature for in-store customers in addition to more personalized shopping promotions that are based on your previous shopping trips. However, 5G is expected to do more. With a stronger network connection, many are anticipating for stores to take advantage of smart shelves, augmented reality or even cashier-less stores as 5G can help transmit mass amounts of data.
As briefly mentioned, 5G will affect mobile or digital communication means. Specifically, this is expected to change the way users consume media as download speeds will drastically increase and streaming options will change for the better. Other ways that 5G could change the entertainment industry is through virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR). Since there will be a higher level of bandwidth that can transmit a consistent experience to the viewer, it can be expected for VR or AR to continue to thrive. Changing not only what many gaming and application developers are able to offer to consumers, but how consumers may prefer to consume media.
How You Can Get Involved
It’s evident that 5G is coming so consumers and businesses need to prepare. Not only should they stay up-to-date on who the major players are, but what advancements are happening. Another way you can get involved is by investing smartly in the 5G sector. Specifically, companies such as QUALCOMM Inc., Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co., and Intel Corp., are only a few to name. As these key players are holdings in popular investment products, investing in them can allow you to not only support their contributions, but diversify your portfolio.
Investing in Innovation
If you are interested in investing in 5G-related industries, the Evolve Innovation Index Fund (EDGE) is a diversified investment that provides investors with access to global companies that are involved in disruptive and innovative trends across a broad range of industries. Learn more about this fund by clicking here.