The expected launch of 5G services in the next few years will deliver much faster mobile internet connections. For consumers, that of course means many elements of your mobile experience will be improved – you’ll be able to browse the Web faster, download apps more quickly and stream high quality video without buffering.
But 5G isn’t just about speeding things up – it’s also about enabling all new services. Here are just a few new things that 5G will bring:
The speed and reliability of 5G will mean that a new era of telesurgery becomes possible. For example, if you need urgent specialist medical attention and the surgeon is based abroad, your only option today is to travel. However, the speed and reliability of 5G connections will enable a different solution, where the surgeon can carry out the procedure remotely by controlling a robot. This development admittedly requires both 5G and robotics technology to mature more before it becomes a reality, but once it has, the possibilities for enhanced healthcare are huge.
Early driverless and ‘autopiliot’ technologies are already on our roads, however the dream of fully autonomous cars needs 5G to become a reality. Fully autonomous cars don’t just need to be able to read and react to the road in front of them; they need to communicate in real-time with other vehicles and infrastructure such as traffic lights, as well as react to environmental conditions such as the weather. Again, the speed and low latency provided by 5G will be key in making these systems function as accurately as they need to.
The Internet of Things is already here, with devices from thermostats to hi-fi systems already connected to the internet to improve functionality and control. However the connected home will reach a new level with 5G, allowing all of our devices not just to connect to the internet, but to connect and communicate with each other. This could allow you to control any device from any other – for example you might ask your sound system to turn the oven on, or your connected car to turn on the heating.
Virtual Reality systems have great potential but are currently limited by the necessity of a wired connection to a computer or video game console. 5G will allow mobile devices to stream VR content at any time and in any place, freeing headsets from their wires and allowing VR content to be delivered on demand. Related services – from virtual marketing experiences to virtual tourism – will reach new heights once this barrier is overcome.