With every shift in wireless technology, we become both more mobile and more connected. 5G is the fifth generation of wireless technology, and it promises speeds up to 100 times faster than 4G LTE networks. We know the highest speeds are still in the future. But isn’t it exciting to consider how 5G will change life as we know it?
New business models are likely to come about because of 5G. As Interesting Engineering points out, the rise of 4G enabled services many of us now rely on regularly: ride sharing from Uber and Lyft, meal delivery from Grub Hub and Door Dash, plus app-based banking, content streaming and much more. Innovative thinkers are already coming up with the next wave of life-changing apps and services that can grow in a 5G world.
Here are a few things we might see as 5G networks become more dominant in wireless technology.
Amazon Echo and Google Nest are just the beginning of the connected home environment. In the not-too-distant future, we’ll regard them the same as we do VCRs and rotary telephones today—as quaint relics left on the side of the ol’ information superhighway.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms that are learning from Echo and Nest today will grow incredibly complex and powerful in the years to come under 5G technology. Every smart device in your home, from thermostats to security, will have a much broader capacity for tasks and speed. Smart power grids will learn where and when to conserve energy in our homes. Who knows? Maybe drone-assisted home delivery will finally become commonplace.
Manufacturing, agriculture and the workplace will all look different once 5G becomes the rule instead of the exception. At its core, the speed of 5G will give us the ability to make more informed decisions more quickly. That means production processes will become more efficient.
AI-driven applications will be able to automate repetitive tasks, freeing manufacturing workers to focus on jobs that depend on special skills, creativity and problem solving. Large-scale farming operations will have greater access to real-time data on crop and livestock health, as well as conditions in the fields such as soil moisture. Every sector of business will benefit from 5G—except the ones it replaces.
Smarter cars, cities everything
We don’t have flying cars yet, but we do have assisted- and self-driving cars. It’s long been a dream of techies to conquer the enormous challenge of remaking the transportation system to be safer and easier to navigate. The cameras and sensors that enable a car to parallel park on its own or vibrate the steering wheel when you’re about to leave your lane without a turning signal are the basis for what comes next.
Then there’s the traffic management system itself. Sensors that work with traffic signals to regulate speeds and the flow of traffic are essential for robot taxis and other self-driven vehicles to operate safely. The very concept of moving violations could become extinct. What if the day comes when your car won’t speed or run a stop light?
Entertainment and leisure
But what about fun? How about uninterrupted 4k streaming, video chatting and no-lag gaming anywhere you go? Virtual reality that gives you 50-yard-line seats for the big game, thanks to hundreds of cameras and lightning-fast 5G processors? Or augmented reality for shopping so you can see what clothes look like on you without trying them on?
Clearly, the possibilities for 5G are vast. Some innovations may challenge our tolerance for technology’s influence on our lives. With many, the trade-off for convenience will be welcomed. The future is always unknown—and that’s exciting.