As is now recent history, smartphones were the catalyst of major change for mobile carriers — not only the mobile market but the industry as a whole. The arrival of the smartphone led to the birth app App Store, Google Store and other digital distribution platforms, transforming the mobile marketplace virtually overnight.
Today, the connectivity that supports the ubiquitous delivery of those consumer mobile services is evolving to permeate all areas of our lives, as the internet of things (IoT) becomes a reality. Mobile carriers around the world are hard at work developing and making plans for next-generation 5G networks — and as the smartphones are considered the most disruptive and transformative product in mobile telecoms, this revolution will deliver by far the most intelligent mobile network the world has ever seen, as well as being the most “open,” creating exciting new opportunities for IoT innovation at the edge — something my team is incredibly excited over. 5G will not only enrich experiences for existing applications but also enable new IoT use cases which cannot be enabled by 4G, which helped launch the app revolution and breathed a second wind into the largest internet companies. 5G will serve and change how we think about connectivity for home, enterprises and automotive.
There is a multitude of use cases that become reality in a 5G world, many of which are consumer related, but as a CEO of a company focused on IoT solutions, I am most excited about the industrial applications that will transform business as we know it. Applications built on underlying technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality, telepresence and artificial intelligence will benefit from massive data pipes and ultra-low latency. Fixed-wireless services delivering fiber-like speeds will enable UHD video streaming and entirely new business models for cable companies and streaming subscription providers. Cars and drones will communicate with each other and coordinate with things around them through the low-latency network. Industrial automation and robotics will finally be a reality over wide area network. And finally, 5G will get us closer to realizing the true IoT world of millions of sensor devices connected to the network.
5G is not comprised of a standalone new technology, its disruptive nature comes from its ability to aggregate the power of heterogeneous new and existing networks, mobile, fixed and wireless to create flexibility. Networks are building 5G with an open access approach, and with multiple connectivity schemes at its heart, it will also pave the way for a whole new range of services, solutions and applications, with a progressive technology shift towards new frontiers.
5G enables deployment and allocation of dedicated “network slices” where, within one coverage area or functional boundary, different services and solutions could occupy their own slice of the network, with different speeds, guaranteed quality of service and reporting. For the IoT, this will create new possibilities for connected devices across all market sectors. There could be one slice supporting the connected car services, while another is serving environmental monitoring devices. The latter might only transmit when certain conditions change, while a connected car services slice — may be leveraging access to information from network resources near an interstate highway — might be constantly blasting traffic or route information to passing cars through new, enhanced network broadcasting modes.