Among industry experts and technology geeks, 5G is currently a hot topic of discussion — and understandably so. The technology is expected to further improve Internet connectivity speeds and help data travel more seamlessly across more devices.
However, the benefits may not be entirely clear when thinking about business operations.
Aside from faster streaming of shows on Netflix, how can 5G technology actually improve how small and large companies do business? What are things that businesses can do with 5G which are not feasible with 4G networks? When it comes down to it, is 5G worth the investment?
How 5G Is Better than 4G
5G and 4G are similar in that they both rely on radio waves to transmit and receive data. When referencing the electromagnetic spectrum, you can classify them as low-frequency radio waves — which are located toward the right portion of the spectrum.
Where they differ is mainly in the area of data transmission.
The further you go to the right side of the electromagnetic spectrum, wavelengths become longer and result in good long-range data transfers. This is where 4G networks operate.
Go the opposite direction, toward the left, and you will start to see shorter wavelengths which are not ideal for long-range data transfers. The upside is that more data can be transferred at even faster speeds.
5G takes advantage of these shorter wave lengths in the radio spectrum and opens up the possibility of:
- Lower latency
- Better connection stability
- Faster data transmission, with bandwidth measuring in gigabits per second
From a business perspective, these can translate to several benefits.
In logistics and transport, companies can potentially eliminate delivery inefficiencies — from receiving and processing orders to delivering packages. In retail, connectivity improvements could pave the way for even more shops adopting cashless payment methods.
Additionally, 5G could also be a catalyst in major technological breakthroughs like autonomous vehicles, which can take advantage of better connectivity and faster data. The possibilities are numerous.
Preparing Your Business for 5G
5G is rolling out in some areas across the U.S., but it is still far from being at full capacity. While the world is still in the initial phase of implementing this new technology, business leaders must start thinking about how they can harness 5G through concrete action steps. Here are some ideas to get started:
Learn more about 5G. A basic understanding of the technology is needed before you start thinking of specific business applications. Aside from leadership, entire departments and individual employees should also start educating themselves about 5G and how it is relevant to their roles.
Improve data analytics. With 5G comes more data that needs to be processed on a daily basis. Businesses must beef up data management and analytics systems to anticipate this. This can be a daunting task for some businesses and tapping the expertise of external partners can help with that — whether it’s consultancy services for IBM Cognos analytics or a comprehensive review of your existing tech assets
Don’t start from scratch. It’s highly likely that your tech service providers already have a wealth of knowledge and insights about 5G. Seek out their advice and ask them how your business can best utilize the new technology.
Budget accordingly. The current hardware setup in most businesses is not 5G capable. Thus, it’s crucial for business leaders to make the necessary investments to take advantage of 5G once it is widely and fully operational. Aside from acquiring 5G-ready equipment, staff training should also be factored in.
Just on the Horizon
Before businesses can take advantage of 5G, cities and network providers must first build the supporting infrastructure for the technology. Businesses that have made the necessary preparations before it rolls out stand to benefit the most.