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5G Goes Mainstream: Is Your Business Ready to Harness Its Full Potential?

by | Aug 21, 2023 | T.E.M. Thought Leadership

Launched five years ago, the fifth generation of cellular technology, or 5G wireless technology is rapidly becoming mainstream. In fact, the number of 5G subscriptions in North America is expected to reach almost 406 million by 2028.

And it’s not just about faster cell phone service. 5G is about digital transformation that is expected to touch every business, organization, and aspect of our lives. This much-anticipated technology has allowed for faster speeds and responsiveness of wireless networks, paving the way for new uses and innovations as well as more efficiency and reliability. It will improve connectivity, increase productivity, and provide new revenue streams.

With remote work and learning and the need to get things done from afar during the pandemic, the growing need for 5G’s more reliable connectivity and better bandwidth became central to maintaining day-to-day operations. And companies and organizations, which must continue to adopt – and adapt – to technology in order to grow, need to continue to look at how it can help their business.

But first, they need to better understand 5G and its applications. Some questions to ask and explore:

  • What is the full potential of the benefits of 5G?
  • How can they be applied to my business?
  • Do we need to incorporate all of the benefits of 5G or just some of them?
  • What will it cost – and is it worth it? 

To help answer these questions, let’s look first at the potential ways to harness 5G technology and some of the industries that will be most affected:

7 Benefits of 5G

  1. Customization: 5G technology allows for what’s called “network slicing.” This key capability results in multiple virtual networks or frequencies, enabling subscribers to access a “slice,” allowing businesses to customize their services to meet their particular needs. Network slicing with 5G is a game changer for service flexibility, faster service deployment, improved efficiency, enhanced security, customized quality of service, and new revenue opportunities.
  2. Backup Capability: With more employees working remotely, a worker may lose their connectivity or have unreliable service at home. 5G technology provides backup internet connections, cellular backup plans, failover solutions, and reliable connectivity for remote sites — capabilities remote employees rely on to stay connected.
  3. Vehicle Automation and Connectivity: Big advances in vehicle automation are directly related to 5G technology. From lower latency, enhanced connectivity, and a foundation for autonomous car networks, to network slicing, faster speed, and high bandwidth, 5G enables a range of connected car services that enhance the safety, efficiency, and reliability of autonomous vehicles.
  4. Satellite-to-Cell Phone Service: Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites enable seamless connectivity by extending 5G networks to air, sea, and other remote areas not covered by small cell networks creating redundancies, and providing additional backhaul. And unlike traditional mobile networks or fiber connectivity that rely on infrastructure, satellites provide 100% global coverage.
  5. Faster, More Reliable Robotics: Industrial robotics on manufacturing floors will rely on 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) to enable faster, more secure, and more reliable communication to help bring these technologies into the mainstream. Using analytics, artificial intelligence, and robotics in smart factories can have a major impact on overall plant performance.
  6. More Interactive Brick-and-Mortar Retail: Physical stores need more ways to compete with online shopping services and 5G can help by providing greater in-store digital interaction with customers, in conjunction with high-def video, augmented reality, and virtual reality. According to Forrester Research, the benefit of 5G to retail will come in the form of building blocks “to frictionless end-to-end consumer experiences in the form of enhanced mobile broadband; massive machine-type communications (MTC) and ultra-reliable, low-latency communications.”
  7. More Responsive Healthcare: 5G is expected to impact almost every facet of healthcare fromoptimizing supply chains to remote diagnostics to electronic medical records management. In a report on 5G in healthcare, PwC stated it doesn’t expect extensive deployment until 2025 in many markets. When the widespread deployment of 5G does occur, PwC foresees 5G-compatible devices being used to monitor bed occupancy levels, the movement of physicians, nurses, and patients around the hospital, and wearable medical devices.

Not all of the benefits of 5G will be realized right away and even when they do, there are certain to be issues and implementation to be ironed out. Before reaping the payback of 5G, it’s important to understand if 5G is best for an organization’s needs. While the widespread adoption of 5G has been one of the most talked about VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocols) market trends this year, adopting it to maximize its use and purpose for business needs can be a challenge.

Are You Ready to Fully Implement 5G

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, small businesses are expected to be among the biggest beneficiaries of 5G’s connectivity and data capabilities. The ability to tap into cloud computing, a more robust online presence, and better operational efficiency are some of the top reasons a Verizon survey found 96% of small and medium-sized business owners believe 5G will positively impact their operations.

But tapping into 5G’s higher frequencies to handle more data faster takes preparation, time, and money. One of the biggest challenges of implementing 5G is determining the cost of upgrading or readying your infrastructure to fully integrate. To fully reap the benefits of 5G, many businesses will need to completely retool their telecommunications infrastructure, with extra costs including:

  • Purchase of new equipment
  • Modernization of technological processes
  • Opening of new licenses
  • Providing industry specialist team support
  • Establishment of 5G services

In addition to the potentially high costs of 5G deployment, today’s network has a limited range due to the need for higher frequencies. With trees and tall buildings impeding wave broadcast, more cell towers will be needed to achieve extensive coverage. While 5G operation will be initially supported by 4G, the fifth generation will be required to develop toward independence.

Additional drawbacks of being connected to 5G include faster battery wear out, due to the network being more powerful and having a greater effect on the battery. Also, companies may face increased cyber security risks as a result of trying to save money while implementing 5G internet. The result? A system more vulnerable to hacking and becoming a target of hackers.

One thing is clear: 5G has the potential to enable new types of applications and digital services. It also brings greater security and stability, allowing for previously unheard-of applications.

Understanding the technology, its capabilities, and its costs can help position your business or organization for the advancement and growth it needs to be efficient and competitive in the future.


Are you Ready for 5G implementation?
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