What is 5G?
Most Australians will be familiar with 4G, which is the current standard in mobile networking technology. 5G is the fifth generation of theis mobile network and will offer increased speed, latency, spectrum, capacity and scale to users. Here’s what each of these capabilities actually mean:
Speed is how fast the network will operate. With 5G, when fully up and running, this could be up to 10x faster when compared to 4G, allowing superior performance and experiences for businesses.
Latency is the response time of the technology. 5G offers 1 to 6 millisecond response times vs 30 milliseconds on 4G. The implementation of this response time is ground-breaking when we consider applications where milliseconds will count, such as in automated vehicles.
Capacity refers to the transmission of the 5G signal, which is 10x as powerful as 4G, meaning 5G can reach more devices across the country, expanding the current geographical expectations of fast internet.
Scale is what allows 5G to overcome congestion issues, with 10x the scale as 4G, which is outstanding when we factor in population density in urban areas. This is essential for small business in dense locations – where 4G might slow under demand, 5G should overcome this.
Spectrum provides reliable coverage, with 5G technology providing up to a maximum 25x the reliability in coverage as 4G. While your devices speed, reliability and performance will depend on your variables like network and device interactions and prevailing radio conditions at your location, 5G will offer a substantial upgrade in reliability.
Combining all these factors, the implications for businesses are tremendous. Millions of people can be connected across the country wirelessly, with faster and more reliable internet than ever before.
Why 5G matters
For small and medium business owners, the arrival of 5G offers ultra-fast and ultra-reliable mobile networking over greater distances. For rural businesses, this means faster internet capabilities allowing for new and exciting improvements, and for businesses that rely on working remotely, the advancement in capabilities could be game-changing.
Industries with employees who are frequently mobile or who work remotely will see vast improvements. 5G will allow team members to remain effortlessly connected in ways that have been previously unfeasible. Not only will this benefit already mobile businesses, but it will enable more companies to operate on-the-go.
Businesses in regional areas will greatly benefit from higher internet speeds, which could make these locations more appealing for small-to-medium businesses. Lower overheads may lead to higher demand for provincial offices if the differences between city and regional infrastructure become seamless. This, in turn, could revitalise rural communities as new commerce comes to town.
There are also numerous benefits for urban businesses, with 5G becoming a serious competitor to broadband as a primary network. Congestion and connectivity aren’t likely to be as much an issue as with 4G, and with an entirely wireless network, local system maintenance on network infrastructure will be severely reduced.
A potential disruptor
Disruptive technology can be a scary prospect for businesses, however, with appropriate planning, measures can be put in place to ensure you’re not left behind.
Something to be aware of – both as an opportunity and a precaution – is the increased automation potential that comes with 5G technology.
The best example of this is the acceleration in effectiveness of automated cars that 5G is likely to bring. With mere millisecond reaction times, the technology could revolutionise the way we see transport. Self-driving vehicles will be able to communicate with each other to prevent accidents and will have a far greater capacity for keeping passengers and assets protected. This increase in automation will have implications far beyond the automotive industry, as the rate of data transfer that 5G will offer enables dynamic control of everything from robotic systems to large-scale infrastructure.
While this might spell huge changes in certain industries, it’s an opportunity to react and stay ahead of the curve through reskilling and service expansion.
Using 5G to grow and transform your business
We’re currently at the tip of the 5G iceberg, especially in terms of realising the full potential of this incredible technology. There is an opportunity to carve a niche in the business landscape with the new capabilities on offer. Whether it’s through innovation or bolstering the services you already offer, there is plenty to explore using 5G as a launching pad. Thought starters for developing your skills could be mobilisation, process optimisation, providing software as a service and scaling digital offerings.