EE was the first to roll out with 5G in certain cities in the UK, swiftly followed by Vodafone, but what does this actually mean for businesses? 5G is the next generation of mobile network with faster speeds and increased capacity for data, which will open up a number of new opportunities for businesses.
What is 5G?
It’s the next generation of mobile connectivity and it’s is a step above 4G, meaning faster network speeds (at a peak of 1GBps), greater capacity and portability – picking up your 5G hotspot and moving it to where you want to be will be part of its charm. 5G will enable businesses to download faster, collaborate more easily and communicate in real-time. 5G will be used to connect a much wider range of devices, way beyond mobile phones which is why it’s been set out to be a gamechanger.
Key features of 5G
5G is going to be a lot faster than 4G networks. It’s been said that 5G is going to offer average speeds of around 150-200Mbps and reaching 1Gbps at peak. What does that mean? Well, you‘ll be able to download Guardians of the Galaxy in HD in around 3.6 seconds. Or that new marketing video your agency just sent you.
In comparison, 4G works at around about 23-35Mbps, at a peak of 150Mbps.
In the past, bandwidth has been an issue even on the office WiFi, which causes disruptions and delays and lots of frustration. In a 5G world, the capacity is increased compared to earlier network technologies. Access to more spectrum at higher frequencies – the millimetre wave – which will be between 30Ghz and 300Ghz. This means networks will be able to cope better with higher demand, and more connected devices. This will create a more reliable and flexible connected world – where we think less about our connection and focus entirely on the job at hand.
No more delays
Another key feature of 5G is the reduction in latency. 5G is expected to provide a lag of 1 millisecond or less, which means, to the naked eye, we won’t see it. Often called out as super important for a rich gaming experience, but we can see many applications in the business world too. With lower latency on the network, real-time, high-quality video streams become achievable. This is great for connecting with your team or your customers. It also means you can reliably monitor critical business events. For example, we can already see the technology being put to use in the manufacturing industry where monitoring machine performance can be conducted in real-time.
What does 5G mean for businesses now?
Some businesses will be able to take immediate advantage of the new 5G networks that are being rolled out. Of course, they will need to invest in some new kit, such as the Samsung S10 5G or the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3. There is also the 5G Gigacube on Vodafone that will turn your office or workspace into a fully connected 5G zone.
We think we’re only going to be scratching the surface in how businesses take advantage. Once the network has reached critical mass (we predict the end of 2020), more innovation will come in how to use it.
Instead, we can think about what it means in the here and now for business.
Lower latency means less delay. The days of buffering may be behind us, finally! Employees will be able to work remotely more easily, connect to machinery from control points and be more ‘present’. Capabilities such as 4K, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and holographic calls will introduce a whole new way of working.
With increased reliability and network capacity, it frees up more time for businesses. This allows for more productivity and less time travelling, either by working remotely or through 5G connected transport.
There will be greater flexibility and reliability out of the office in a 5G area, you can still have the ‘office experience’ even if you’re not physically present in an office. What’s more, there will be more automation, thanks to the speed, capacity and latency improvements, which will improve operational efficiency.
Planning for a better future
All businesses can afford to use 5G as an impetus to think about what their organisations will look like in the near future. Whilst 5G won’t fuel all business trends over the next 5 years, we think it will have a massive impact on the following three: Flexible working, event monitoring, customer experience. We cover each of these in more detail in the following blog; freelancing tips, we talked about how there are 1.4 million British freelancers working across all sectors.
But it’s not just that, it’s the flexi-time workers, the commuters, the remote workers and the travelling workers that will also benefit from this. It just means, as businesses, we can now communicate with ease, even on the go. It will save a lot of time and means productivity doesn’t have to come to halt due to the restrictions of a connection.
5G may not be on your radar right now, but it is something you want to pay attention to. At least start to consider the potential benefits for your business or take the leap and use it for a full immersion session on your future business.
For more information about 5G and how it can help your business, contact us today and have a chat!