5G networks for innovation across many industries


Photo: Financial Tribune

5G networks for innovation across many industries is my post from 2016, that I’ve now reworked with some updates. With data rates up to 100 times faster, network latency lowered by a factor of five, mobile data volumes 1,000 times greater than today’s, and battery life of remote cellular devices stretched to 10 years or more, 5G will enable new capabilities.

5G is seen as an innovation engine by executives in key industries. Until 2023 (not far…) 5G will be covering more than the 20% of the global population. Who will benefit from it?

5G networks for innovation

One of the major reasons why 5G will inevitably emerge is the need for more capacity — to accommodate all Internet of Things devices. It is predicted that every household will get to connect many ‘smart’ connected devices, like refrigerators or TVs. For the time-being many manufacturers in the home domain are piloting devices, getting ready for this future.

This approach is called Massive MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) and it means, that we will have a “client” (central) device that connects to a number of transceivers simultaneously. Of course, this needs the parallel development of smart grids.

Due to this elevated number of devices, the needed cumulative bandwidth should be no less than several dozen Gbps, especially indoors where the majority of connected devices tend to be. Capacity that high is needed to cope with the 1000x data volume growth expected by 2020 and on.

WiFi can’t handle the connected future

Another side advantage of 5G, in terms of security, is the possibility of finally eliminating Wi-Fi; the high-bandwidth mobile Internet will outperform legacy solutions and even function better indoor than outdoor.

The disadvantages of Wi-Fi are quite widely publicized. Firstly, it is a limited. It wasn’t created to act as the sole access point. It uses unmanaged spectrum that causes serious issues with interference and, as a consequence, with bandwidth.


The crossroads of IoT / 5G / M2M / Cloud access, all intend to make significant changes to the business, society, and many aspects of our life.

  • Automotive: Cars will rely on high-performance, secure networks for enhanced GPS with instant traffic and map updates as one example.
  • Public utilities: 5G will help cut costs, and will secure facilities, faster introduction of new products and services to consumers, remote monitoring and maintenance through sensors to protect valuable assets located in distant and sometimes hazardous locations.
  • Public safety: 5G will improve citizens’ experience, security communications and emergencies
  • High-tech manufacturers: Reach peak productivity with 5G, improve the customer experience, introduce new products and services to consumers faster.
  • Healthcare: 5G promises to improve quality of life, allowing to implement new services and products for the public
  • Financial Services: 5G will enhance productivity, customer satisfaction with real-time mobile trading and high-frequency trading with more secure transactions.
  • Media and Gaming: 5G will bring truly immersive experience, such as ultra HD 4K and virtual reality on mobile devices.

We are all now connected by the Internet, like neurons in a giant brain.

Stephen Hawking


Intel XMM 8000-series of 5G-capable modems – target product launch: mid-2019 > Photo: Business Wire

Update 2017 – the US moves faster?

The revenue opportunity of 5G and digital industrialization

Industries are digitalizing their models, and current mobile technologies already support this transformation, but 5G will further enhance industry digitalization use cases and will make possible some not at all supported today.

For example, in the Healthcare sector, you can perform remote patient monitoring today and ambulances can be connected to send and receive real-time information. Yet in just a few years, mobile technologies will support augmented reality (AR)-aided medical treatment, and 5G will later enable services such as ambulance drones and remote robotic surgery.

Back to the revenue opportunity. Estimates reveal that by 2026 there is a USD 619 billion global revenue potential for operators addressing 10 specific industries with 5G – manufacturing, energy and utilities, public safety, healthcare, public transport, automotive, media and entertainment, financial services, retail, and agriculture (36% revenue growth potential on top of current operator service revenues).

Operators will need to change and focus their organization’s engagement, operations, and production models to succeed.

Example: how can 5G transform manufacturing?

Manufacturing is the largest revenue opportunity for MNO’s (operators), at least in the US and the Far East. It is a huge industry globally, and it is a business experiencing a lot of change due to hyper-competition.

Manufacturing companies know that the next supplier is just a click away and are facing increased volatility due to shorter business and product lifecycles, as well as disruptive technological advances such as 3D printing and the automation of robots and warehouses.

5G will help, providing the low latency capabilities required to perform remote monitoring and control of production line robots for instance. There is a very interesting Ericsson (who’s leading 5G standardization efforts) survey to download and explore (5G Readiness survey).

Interesting times ahead for operators, business owners, tech ecosystems and our lives, what do you think?

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