Everyone in the technology industry has been waiting for and discussing 5G – and getting overwhelmed with hype – and we just seeing early success stories. Perhaps now that we have experienced the first wave of use cases and are on the brink of ‘real’ 5G, we should reflect on its true potential.
The investment that has been poured into creating and deploying 5G is eye-watering (and we are not done yet).
Some early, concrete success stories are now emerging.
Our recent interview with Jacob Groote at KPN identified a couple of compelling 5G solutions.
An ambulance that is allowed to change traffic lights to green to allow it through is intriguing. It saves time, it saves money, and it saves lives. Enhanced connectivity with the hospital can mean that the patient’s records have been collected and updated due to the paramedic’s assessment in the ambulance. A bed can be allocated in advance, and a plan formulated. Again, time, money and lives can be saved.
KPN has also deployed solutions in agriculture. Link a drone to a 5G network, and you can tell with much accuracy where a field needs pesticides or fertiliser. This can – and does – save time, money and possibly the life of the planet.
5G seems to be as much about efficiency as innovation. Of course, gaming is enhanced, and AR solutions will infiltrate business and leisure, but the efficiency of 5G could play a more significant role.
Someone once said, when factories were pumping noxious smoke into the atmosphere, and climate change was about to become a ‘thing,’ that ‘pollution is simply inefficiency combined with laziness.’
So take Groote’s example of the savings on pesticide, which he puts as high as 30%, and extrapolate that to include say 50% of the world’s agriculture and the potential benefits are extraordinary.
Or take BMW’s solutions that have improved time to deploy new applications by 80%, with knock-on effects on logistics and quality.
The efficiencies enabled by 5G are potentially transformational and game-changing, even at a planetary level.
To fully achieve this potential, we need to expand on these initial ideas and spread the word to every industry so that managers of sports stadia, factories, shipping companies, emergency services and the rest re-evaluate their businesses in light of 5G.
And then come and talk to telcos who are well-positioned to be the lead contractor in many solutions as long as, like Groote and others, telcos are now thinking ‘business first, technology second.’ Even though the technology is about to get pretty cool.