The new 5G standard for phones is just starting to make a splash. However, there’s a lot of development yet to do and equipment installed before everyone’s in 5G wonderland. Nobody really knows what the transition from 4G dominance to 5G normal will look like. What will happen when 5G finally reaches critical mass ? Here are five well-considered predictions.
Faster Speeds, Bigger Data
With 10 million subscribers already on 5G in 2019, providers expect to have up to two billion consumers on 5G by 2024. Drastically lower latency, 10 times faster data and much wider bandwidth will combine to change everything. Industry studies expect 4G LTE subscriptions to peak in 2022, declining as 5G takes over.
People, government and businesses will become vastly more connected in ways never seen before. Huge amounts of data will be available almost instantly, speeding up background and credit checks along with access to personal data. Real-time reporting from the marketplace, researchers, government and consumers will accelerate machine learning for artificial intelligence. Video will transfer instantly. Decentralized broadcasting platforms like YouTube will explode as more people upload bigger files.
Mobile apps are perfectly positioned to exploit this kind of a data revolution. Without a way to slim down data transmission, all this new capacity will slow to a crawl. Large programs take a lot of bandwidth to transfer. Because apps are memory-small and highly focused on particular tasks, they alleviate data bottlenecks. They’re transmitted quickly, maximize storage and conserve bandwidth.
Smarter Cars, IoT and Law Enforcement
Cars are getting smarter and the process is accelerating with breakthroughs in software and technology. Modern automobiles sport several cameras, dozens of sensors and computers embedded into every system. Most vehicles now have some level of autonomous operation including parking, braking, backing and lane warnings.
You can already access instant customization, purchase and delivery of vehicles online, as well as insurance, accessories and services. In the 5G future, you’ll take a virtual test drive from your couch with VR glasses and a phone. The salesman will sit right in the living room via telepresence, discussing features and colors as if in person. Car, phone and house will schedule delivery and dealer service with no human involvement.
The car’s systems will be communicating position, velocity, navigation, proximity to other vehicles and operating condition to maintenance apps and manufacturers. Increasingly, vehicles will be important data hubs, providing camera and weather data, sending information for investigators and updating map services.
AI or police analysts can send cars to the nearest inspection station, reducing tickets and wait times at motor vehicle departments. Insurance and safety compliance will be checked instantly by any office. Your car will transmit everything the officer wants back to his car.
Augmented Reality (AR) and Smarter Homes
Smart home applications will explode in number. Climate control, darkening windows, automated shutters and phone-programmed irrigation are already here. Security alarms, AI cameras, communications and media will combine with energy consumption sensors, transmitting consumer habits back to businesses.
The heater guy will be scheduled for the fall tune-up automatically. Landscapers, repairmen and contractors can be scheduled and paid electronically by the house because there’s finally enough bandwidth to control a huge network of sensors.
Friends will hang around in each other’s living rooms, chatting through telepresence instead of texting. The house will display personal information about repairmen with facial recognition. Overlays on your phone’s video screen, showing weather information or what a backyard fountain might look like can be projected onto picture windows.
Unlimited Communication and Omnipresent AI
The biggest single impact across all sectors will be on artificial intelligence. With so much speed and interconnection, real-time market data can be collated with real-time financial data. Consumer preferences and spending habits will be analyzed in conjunction with credit history and income analysis
With new sensors in just about everything including appliances, cars and even clothing, marketing plans will be drilled down to very specific subsectors. Entire customer databases will be retrieved instantly. Machine learning will classify important factors in the database and automatically target marketing programs to reach optimum archetypes for specific products.
For the consumer, it will be a new age. You’ll be offered deals on products you were already going to buy. AI backends on marketing software will predict that you need shaving cream and put an offer in front of you at the airport or on that picture window.
Cloud Computing, Health Care and Personal Services
5G speed provides burst transfers of large data amounts, but most apps will be remotely operating large systems in the cloud. Cloud computing is going to grow exponentially because millions more people will be able to take advantage of files stored online, now that it downloads 10 times faster.
Remote telepresence will be common for doctor’s consults. Sensors in furniture, phone, computer or specialized medical devices will transmit all the vital information the doctor needs. Your Financial data, insurance information, prescriptions, medical history and shot record will be in the doctor’s hands.
Wrist monitors will provide heart rate, blood pressure, respiration and other basic vitals Saliva or blood sugar testers and scopes for eyes, ears and throat can be worked at home, transmitting data to the doctor. Surgeons already perform operations remotely via telepresence. This is a natural progression.
What is clear is there will be a lot more devices connected. Industry predictions project 250 times the number of devices currently online. Will amazing 5G speeds look so amazing once the network approaches saturation?
Another factor is that even when 5G is fully set, some regions will never achieve optimum speed. In large areas like the southwest deserts, there will never be enough support and hardware. If you don’t live near a major city, it’s likely you’ll never see the fastest speeds being touted by mobile providers.
Inevitably, more devices with more data and more applications doing more things will take their toll, leading to this bonus prediction: You’re going to be waiting impatiently for 6G.