Trend 2: 5G
Meanwhile, standards creation will support the adoption of advanced wireless technologies like 5G, which are expected to play an important role in the IoT in the coming year. Christian Winkler of Siemens Corporate Technology says the upcoming networking standard 5G promises to be the solution for all kinds of IoT connectivity, especially wireless. “5G will support three dimensions of wireless connectivity—enhanced mobile broadband, which is the prime focus of the telco players, ultra-reliable low latency, and massive machine-type communications,” he says. “As 5G is a worldwide standard, the technology will gain high product volumes and so become a cost-efficient alternative for a bunch of specialized technologies used these days.”
5G, the next generation of cellular mobile communications, offers lower latency, higher data rates and higher bandwidth, and other benefits that will be very important for applications like remote surgery and autonomous vehicles. From enabling high-bandwidth smart-city solutions, connecting energy grids, and opening doors for autonomous fleets to simply making existing solutions better, 5G is an exciting, though potentially expensive, prospect.
The maturation of 5G may also boost the adoption of several other IoT trends, including AI, AR, and VR. James Lewis, senior vice president and director of the CSIS (Center for Strategic and Intl. Studies) Technology Policy Program, says: “Many of the bigger IoT developments will appear only after 5G networks become widespread; 5G will completely change the dynamic and pace. The combination of 5G and AI applications will connect and automate in ways we haven’t yet identified. It’s a new kind of app economy that will involve machines as well as people.”
5G will also play a role in the continued rise of edge computing. For instance, Gartner says 5G will provide the expanding edge-computing environment with more robust communication back to centralized services, and the research firm calls this phenomenon the “empowered edge.” 5G will therefore help drive the need for edge computing, an architecture that allows for faster data processing close to the source.
In the consumer realm, 5G will enable applications such as multi-user gaming, video conferencing (also helpful for enterprise applications), and distance learning, among others. In fact, Research and Markets suggests the 5G services market will grow from just under $54 billion in 2020 to more than $123 billion by 2025, thanks to the rising demand for ultra-low latency connectivity services, as well as the increasing use of connected IoT devices for both enterprise and consumer use cases.