I'm delighted to be speaking at an event in the House of Commons later in the year on the economic drivers of 5G, the new telecoms standard. There are several business and society implications of the 5G that, while this telecoms standard is still being technically confirmed, if realised is a completely different level of connected systems that has hitherto been seen in the earlier 3G and 4G. It has the potential to be highly disruptive pushing a post PC and mobile era into a connected internet of things (IoT) with many yet to be understood ramifications.
Why is 5G different from 4G ,3G in driving economic performance?
At 1 to 500 Gigabytes or higher data transfer speeds; virtually no lag delay (5 millisecond) and a brand new telecoms architecture that supports dense usage (100 devices per sq meter) it enables the "Internet of Things" - everything to be connected. This has profound issues in user experience and usage because it means 99% of the time you are potentially always connected and collecting behavior and using smart devices in real-time. It means moving from a "delayed" business model in today's 4G world to a rapid always-connected business model of everything as a service. It means changes in productivity, the way new products and services may work, and how employment may be augmented or replaced.
How privacy planning and business opportunities thinking needs to change in the 5G era ?
It means 5G can collect in real time your usage of devices, products, and movement locations that are connected. 5G has the detailed (sub-metre) micro-location coverage and detailed knowledge of things to change your privacy ("it can track and know everything in real time ").
As seen with Amazon echo and google home to the rapid use of face recognition and voice recognition, to new virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) headsets and sensors. These are the next generation "edge" devices post the PC and mobile/keyboard and touch screen. It changes the way you can think about an object, a person, a living space or a room because it becomes connected and altered with digital awareness of its state, usage, and occupancy. These new things represent the idea of Artificial intelligence (AI) that works in your home in real-time is almost here. What is yet to be understood is when 5G backbone kicks in your neighborhood (likely around 2020 of sooner perhaps) you suddenly can do this in any location and it can "follow you" in your daily life. 5G provides the broadband muscle to connect these new virtual edge assistants into the next era of connected people and businesses. This needs to be better understood in the EU and UK as its a game changer with everything that could follow from this.
Challenges and critical issues to realising 5G potential for UK and beyond ?
Coverage remains a hurdle with a "pay-for-a-connection-but-no-guaranteed-availability-of-a-fast-connection" 4 G world to "use-all-time-in-real-time-pay-for-what-you-need" 5G possible world. Rural locations and city living all need to be truly joined up to bridge not just a digital divide but enable a shift to a connected empowered society. This means infrastructure investment that may need new satellite or other tech to reach and maintain service availability. 5G includes discussions in multi-band support so that Wi-Wfi, NFC, Zig Bee or other networks as well as telecoms can interoperable and maximise coverage load sharing.
Bandwidth frequencies will be modified as indicated in current 5G standard to make room, the legislation and governance of this will continue to disrupt existing industry telcos previous investments and the response to new alternatives such as the large cloud providers such as with google fiber investments.
It's an incredibly huge jump in data volume in the next decade when 5G arrives. We talk about big data and massive data volumes today of exabytes of data per month of consumer IP traffic globally, but we have not seen anything yet. Whether it's a 4K movie or a just collecting vast amounts of movement data in a shopping mall or city location, this will multiple several hundreds of fold enabled by a 5G network architecture that is truly real-time and collecting everything.