The workplace of tomorrow will look different than today—and the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t the only factor shaping that. 5G will help us get there too.
5G is the latest generation of cellular mobile communications and quite simply, it offers faster feeds and speeds. While it could address some of the latency issues associated with 4G LTE and there are explosive growth predictions, I personally like to look at the opportunities that this opens up for industries.
Ericsson says the U.K. could potentially benefit from roughly 14.8 billion euros in additional economic growth if it can seize the full potential of 5G networks. It also gives a glimpse into U.K.’s industries that could benefit the most from 5G—such as manufacturing.
For today’s blog, let’s imagine the possibilities 5G can bring to different industries by looking at what can happen in the future if we tap into the full potential of 5G.
Manufacturing: One example in manufacturing right now is the U.K.’s first 5G factory that is launched by Worcester Bosch. This has realtime machine sensors to reduce downtime and increase product safety. Other examples are Ford and Siemens, which are adding 5G-powered low latency connectivity and private networks. This will help improve productivity and efficiency within existing factor systems.
AT&T provides us with another example of how 5G can potentially help in manufacturing. Technicians can travel to a site and have engineers at headquarters guide them through the repair process remotely via 5G. It also suggests 5G will enable manufacturers to drive more functionality closer to the edge of the network.
Last year, AT&T and MxD announced a big partnership to boost 5G in manufacturing. The two companies are working together to install 5G technology and multi-access edge compute in MxD’s Chicago-based Innovation Center. I just recently had an opportunity to present at MxD, and let me tell you, what these two companies are doing for manufacturing is truly innovative. It will help develop use cases for manufacturing that we haven’t even imagined yet.
First responders: Another industry poised to benefit from 5G is first responders, as it will give them access to realtime information. In this industry, high bandwidth is extremely important when every second counts. I have some ideas for how 5G can help here. Let’s say a first responder is monitoring a patient with cardiac conditions and the monitoring needs to be in realtime. 5G could enable a live video to help the first responder.
Or, another example could be in search and rescue. 5G could stream video from the control station to the searchers or it could provide a video stream in a firefighters’ helmet or body-worn cameras. It could be used in the trucks. Companies like AT&T and what it is doing with FirstNet also come to mind here, with its mission to improve high-speed broadband for public safety.
Retail: Here is one last big example of an industry that can be transformed by 5G. Now, I know what you might be thinking. With the pandemic, retail is changing dramatically—and you would be right. But I don’t believe our brick-and-mortar stores are going to completely disappear overnight. For one, we still need to go to a grocery store. We still need to buy that toilet paper. I joke, but the reality is 5G can help make sure our toilet paper or meat or whatever you need to buy is in stock when and where you need it.
One of the biggest potential use cases I see is for out-of-stock instances. Each time a customer wants an item that is out of stock, there is no way to currently track that data. AT&T envisions smart shelves using IoT-embedded sensors. With this, any store could have a realtime look at stock. It would sense if a product is low and can communicate to the supply chain immediately to send a new shipment.
As I always like to say, the opportunities are truly endless. Enterprises will see big changes in the next five years, as 5G brings new capabilities. We talked about three industries in this blog, but there are so many others. I see big opportunities for construction and utilities.
To help envision the future, Verizon Business is bringing 5G ultra-wideband service to an innovation hub in Lake Nona, Fla. Here innovators can test how 5G can enhance healthcare, mobility, smart communities, education, sports, and more. This is part of Verizon’s broader strategy to partner with customers, startups, universities, large enterprises, and the public sector to explore how 5G can disrupt industry. Trials are already underway at Lake Nona for testing cellular vehicle-to-everything technology with autonomous shuttles.
5G will give us the opportunity to tap into new applications and data sets at our jobs. The result will be a more productive and safe workplace—and I think that is exactly what we all need right now.
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