From wireless service commercials to news stories, the arrival of 5G has been trumpeted far and wide. But while everyone may know that access to 5G is spreading rapidly across the globe, those outside the tech industry may not know why it’s such a big deal.
So why are tech experts so excited about the potential of 5G? Below, 13 industry experts from Forbes Technology Council take a look at the significant—even game-changing—impacts 5G may make for both businesses and consumers.
1. Smaller businesses will be able to access the IoT.
With 5G here, the Internet of Things opens up to a much larger audience, including small businesses. As an example, as the recent holiday season showed, more full-fledged pop-up retail locations were available, with greater capabilities. – Kevin Beasley, VAI
2. IoT systems will be cover entire cities.
In 2021, 5G will open more opportunities for businesses to use the IoT. The limitations of 4G have caused a lag in large IoT industrial systems. With 5G, the IoT will rise to its full potential, allowing developers to unite separate devices and sensors into one system. IoT systems will be able to cover entire cities, making smart cities in 2021 even more of a reality. – Jason Carolan, Flexential
3. Richer and more interactive customer communications will be enabled.
5G will fundamentally change how businesses communicate with customers. It will permit rich HD video, product demonstrations and a greater interactive environment. The standards for doing business and engaging consumers will change, and companies that cannot rise to this level of digital investment will lose connection with customers. – Kevin Parikh, Avasant
4. Businesses will need to become much more agile.
5G will create the need for higher levels of agility in business. Businesses must be able to launch new services and products quickly, analyze their performance and bring them down quickly for nonperformance. For consumers, 5G will bring a host of new experiences in terms of products and services—they will be spoiled for choices. – Padma Ravichander, Tecnotree
5. Multiple radio frequency networks will be replaced with united systems.
Consumers aside, 5G brings enormous potential for highly interconnected, huge-scale systems. To date, smart cities and grids have used multiple RF networks, which are increasingly difficult to manage; 2021 is a good year for them to consider implementing 5G to unite them all. At the same time, cybersecurity should be center stage when telcos pick their 5G providers, and systems should include strong, in-depth defense. – Satyam Bheemarasetti, NeoSilica Technologies Private Limited
6. Information security will be even more critical.
5G brings about faster, stronger and more reliable service; lower latency; less power usage; and the ability to carry more devices than 4G. All of this will impact the security posture of businesses and individual networks. The proliferation of hardware traffic points of contact will decentralize security, while the increased bandwidth capacity will strain monitoring systems. – Bob Fabien Zinga, Directly, Inc./U.S. Navy Reserve
7. Major infrastructure upgrades will be needed.
Data will be created and modified through edge computing with the emergence of 5G, and communication will become more realistic, especially with remote work. It’s important to note that 5G heavily relies on its given bandwidth, so major changes in neighborhood infrastructure will be required to be successful. 5G will also lead to more IoT models with data being collected and analyzed at the edge. – Danny Allan, Veeam Software
8. The transition to the edge cloud will become smoother.
In 2021 businesses should expect to see more services continue to move to the edge cloud in place of their local infrastructures. Cloud and mobility are changing the way we are working, and the internet has become the new corporate network. 5G will allow businesses to make that transformation more smoothly without compromising on performance and security. – Amit Bareket, Perimeter 81
9. Gamers will see decreased latency.
Consumers can expect amazing new experiences in 2021 due to 5G and complementary technologies like edge computing. One example is Cox’s Elite Gamer Service, which optimizes the connection between a user’s gaming laptop and the gaming server. This decreases latency and ensures gamers have the edge against their online competitors. – Maddison Long, CloudOps
10. XR will become a viable commercial channel.
I expect to see extended reality becoming a real commercial channel, shifting from entertaining or training into serving. With the cost of hardware decreasing and marketplaces being more accessible, the scene is already set for XR to become democratized and widely consumed. Still, it can’t reach its potential until the experience is personalized, interactive and fed with tailored content in real-time speed. – Diana Xhumari, Tegeria
11. Apps will be revamped to take advantage of 5G.
When the 4G networks and the 4G phones met, we created an entire digital economy. Uber, Netflix and Doordash would not exist without 4G. With 5G allowing up to 100 times more speed, every app company will now ask, “What can we now do with our app that we couldn’t before?” Every app you know will be redone. – David Moise, Decide Consulting
12. Video streaming will be greatly enhanced.
As 5G proliferates in 2021, consumers can expect to see high-res video, 360-degree views, augmented reality and virtual reality content, and commercials across devices—particularly mobile, as it’s the most personal screen for consumer engagement. Moreover, due to the global pandemic, watching live sports broadcasts and events online will become the norm as buffer spinners get replaced with real-time clips and live viewer-participation widgets. – Dana Ghavami, Spotible
13. Real-time application of collected data will be enabled.
With 5G, the amount of data that can be collected and aggregated will be tremendous. This could allow for real-time diagnosis and mitigation of health conditions, farming optimizations (fertilization, water, etc.), autonomous vehicle tracking, and traffic and city services monitoring (parking availability, crime reporting). There are so many possibilities—all centered around data! – Amy Czuchlewski, Bottle Rocket