5G - a potential new wave for innovation

The latest generation of mobile technology is set to roll out across the UK in 2020. What opportunities will this bring for businesses?

In April 2019, Barclays published a report that predicted that the introduction of 5G could increase annual UK business revenues by more than £15billion by 2025.

This is an optimistic scenario based on an accelerated roll out of 5G – but, Barclays found that only 28% of businesses understand 5G or the possibilities it can offer. 

Accenture asked executives what they think of 5G and how it will affect them. Nearly three out of four of those surveyed said that if someone could help them imagine the future possibilities, then they would be much more likely to adopt 5G.

This leaves us with a deficit of education. Businesses need to make sure they are up to speed on what exactly 5G can do, and how this can create possibilities for growth, in order to prepare and implement strategies.

5G is set to be much faster than any previous network with a lower latency, potentially up to 100 times faster than 4G. Imagine downloading a feature film within seconds…this will now be a reality.

It will also have an increased capacity, meaning it will be better able to cope with multiple high-demand applications at once, and will ultimately be more reliable and less likely to lose connectivity.

So what opportunities will 5G bring? 

Increased productivity – With increased speed and lower latency, businesses will be able to work more efficiently, saving time, and therefore cost.

Remote working – This is not a new concept as many organisations are already reaping the benefits that remote working brings. Even though this is usually a cultural issue, technology plays a part in the efficiency of remote working, for example, faster speeds and lower latency will make video conferencing run smoother. It will also make commutes more efficient, with those who use the time to do work, having fewer moments without a connection.  

Rural innovation – 5G RuralFirst is a government-funded project that aims to show the potential of 5G in rural agricultural space, which makes up 56% of the UK. This greatly expands businesses’ opportunities for growth and expansion into previously unused locations.

Virtual reality – Virtual reality and augmented reality applications supported by 5G could have a large impact on industries like retail, property and manufacturing.

Cost – In addition to costs saved from increased efficiency, the move - which is already happening - to software from hardware will accelerate further, due to connectivity, meaning overheads will be fewer.

The introduction of 5G is more than just the latest G – it’s set to create a huge shift in mobile technology that far outweighs any previous developments. The impact that the increased speed, capacity, lower latency and reliability will have, will open the doors to a range of innovative new products and services.

As we enter this fifth generation of mobile technology, it will be exciting to see what new innovative products will emerge. Will 5G live up to the promise of changing the landscape for modern businesses? – I’ll let you decide.

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