IoT 3 mins read

5G: Is it Hype? …Or Crucial for IoT?

What is 5G and why should we care?

Laurens de Nooyer Laurens de Nooyer

Given the media messages around 5G, it looks like it is the most important upcoming technology ever. At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, there were lots of interesting announcements about 5G use cases for many market domains shown by the telecom operators.

Communication has always been a very important element in our society. Early 1900 we already started to connect cities via landlines, then fixed lines where replaced by mobile communications for people and today we are in the phase of connecting any asset you would like to the internet. This resulted in development of mobile communication technologies 2G, 3G and todays 4G. Telecommunication companies globally for filling many use cases and market domain needs in voice and data communications today based on their connectivity play.

Today we see a new kid on the block in this development of mobile technology: 5G. This technology gives even faster mobile data transport connection options – but is this speed what the market is waiting for?

After all, we already have mobile solutions which give us massive opportunities to have broadband solution experiences, such as watching TV or real time control experiences on mobile devices. Why should we have 5G?

5G is a new technology which gives you, besides voice solutions, more bandwidth and speed for sending and receiving data, this part is already known. But 5G offers other technical features which actually gives a lot of opportunities for new hardware development. Like power consumption saving: With 5G there is control which gives the hardware manufacturers the opportunity to build smaller and cheaper devices – which can be used for multiple years – on only two AA batteries!

Also the latency of data transport over 5G infrastructure is reduced to 1millisecond. This means that ad-hoc use cases such as self-driving cars, long-distance surgery or asset control are now really executable with 5G technologies. Even simple data processing during data transport will be part of the development roadmap of the 5G technology.

Does this mean that we need to wait for 5G before we can start executing on IoT use cases? No, because today’s market does not always have the need for all the technical features. Also the standards for 5G technology are not in place till 2020. Today the GSMA is deciding on these 5G standards for global usages together with the global operators.

This means global 5G protocols and standards are not fully in place today, so you not are able to have a global roll out for your 5G solutions. But many IoT use cases can still be fulfilled with traditional technologies offered today, as most are based on the need for data ingestion, contractual awareness, situational awareness and predictive analytics.

Telecom operators are pushing the 5G technology strongly. So in my next post I will discuss what use cases we saw at MWC, and how Software AG can support you for your technology plans.