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The implications of the 5G revolution

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Jeffrey Walker, a writer at Audienz, looks at the impact 5G will have on everyday life, from AR and VR to driverless cars and holographic conference calls.

The hype surrounding 5G has certainly gained momentum in recent years, attracting considerable media attention for the role it could play in delivering anything from driverless vehicles and eHealth technologies to the more extensive roll-out of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) across multiple applications and sectors.

 For many, it still seems something for the future, but 5G networks are already in place and expanding and, although the 5G landscape is still developing, the super-connectivity is already having an influence, and companies operating in the cloud cannot afford to wait to assess its likely implications for their business.

According to the International Data Corporation, global spend on public cloud services will more than double from $229bn in 2019 to nearly $500bn in 2023. The technologies behind 5G will be a major catalyst for further digital transformation as the use of public cloud services expands across multiple business sectors.

But what are some of the key enabling 5G technologies and what will be the likely impact on cloud infrastructure, consumption, and utilization?

Digital transformation
Digital transformation is going to be exceptionally fast. We believe the next five years will see some amazing new ways in which cloud technology becomes even more advanced and complex. Research from Google suggests that the impact of cloud computing on almost every aspect of business, from logistics to customer relationships to the way teams work together, could be transformational. Businesses will need to rethink how to leverage insights from the enormous amounts of data that will emerge from 10X faster network speeds and the emergence of ubiquitous or pervasive computing, which, by embedding technological capability into everyday objects, will minimize our need as individuals to interact with computers. We see this opening an entire market for new business models and strategies, along with transformations in content and digital marketing.

We’ve been hearing about VR and AR for a few years now, and have seen the niche market for VR glasses grow, especially among gamers. But the data demands for these technologies are high. The catalyst that will vault these technologies into the mainstream will be the latency reduction and speed boost provided by 5G. User experience is another major factor, and if any brand can solve that issue it’s Apple. In fact, Apple Glasses, slated for release by 2023, could be the proving ground for 5G, with the potential to revolutionize wearable technology.

Edge-computing reduces latency by closing the data transfer loop and bringing information closer to the end-user much faster. Once this technology syncs with 5G, end-users will receive “instant data” through smart objects, phones, and network gateways. New cloud-native approaches to microservices, containers, and distributed computing are part of this paradigm shift as well. Business leaders will need to adapt quickly to strategizing around the ways edge-computing redefines the cloud.

What’s more, edge-computing will show just how easily new tech can displace seemingly foundational technology paradigms like “mobile.” When everything is “smart” – from wearable glasses, to kitchen countertops, to self-driving cars – then phones will be superseded by cooler form factors. Julie Coppernoll, VP-Global Marketing at Intel, probably says it best: “Nothing will be ‘mobile’ anymore because everything will be mobile.”

Paradigm shifts
The COVID-19 pandemic has proved that society has the ability to transform and adjust quickly to worldwide paradigmatic shifts. Almost overnight, everything from banking to retail and education migrated online and relied on remote working. But imagine the next level of communication – for example, holographic teleconferencing. 5G transfer speeds will finally enable real-time full-motion, 3D video – a data-intensive process that existing and legacy networks could not do. Redefining how remote parties interact and communicate is just the tip of the 5G iceberg.

And so, to autonomous vehicles. Self-driving cars have been in the works for years, but the user-experience enabled by 5G may be the factor that wins over reticent car-buyers. Fast, constant, and seamless data connections will pave the way for turning Tesla sedans into traveling living rooms. In the next five years, scanning your VR highlights from last night’s game via Apple Glasses while sipping coffee in your automated car might be less far-fetched than it sounds.

Despite years of seemingly unfulfilled hype, certain technologies are nonetheless about to get a major boost from the latency reduction and speed breakthroughs provided by 5G telecommunications. The cloud and edge-computing will see the biggest disruptions. Simply stated, businesses of all sizes must prepare themselves to leverage the enormous new opportunities, strategies, and “instant data” to emerge from this transformation.

Jeffrey Walker is a writer at Audienz, a Seattle-based management, marketing and sales consultancy for the b2b tech sector. He draws upon his diverse background as a researcher, writer, entrepreneur, business developer, and consultant to use technology to tell powerful stories that shape the customers’ journey and solve their unmet needs.

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