In the past, the evolution of mobile Internet use was more hardware-driven. It really started with the first iPhone and the following smartphone generations. The new iPhone generation presented at the same time as DMEXCO 2018 will probably take Apple’s sales figures back to record levels, but no one has talked about their mobile chips for a long time. This will change at least for a short time in the next one to two years, because work has long been underway on the development of new chips that work with the LTE successor 5G. At the latest with its introduction, the mobile Internet will become a new matter of course, because 5G will fundamentally change the way we use and perceive the Internet.
This is what 5G will bring
4G will become 5G. That doesn’t sound very spectacular at first, but if we take a closer look at the specifications of 5G, we quickly see the big advances:
Speed: 4G offers download speeds up to 100 Mbps and LTE Advanced provides up to 300 Mbps. With 5G, speed will increase to at least 1 Gbps and later even up to 10 or 20 Gbps.
Latency: Due to the fast response time of one millisecond, 5G will feel even faster in practice. We already feel the differences in latency today when we switch from LTE (45 milliseconds) to UMTS (120 milliseconds).
Energy consumption: Around 1000 times less energy consumption per transmitted bit in the devices and 90 percent less energy consumption per mobile service make 5G an energy-saving technology.
What 5G makes possible
Many technology trends of recent years are still waiting for widespread use. Whether Internet of Things (IoT) or Augmented Reality or even self-driving cars, all these technologies will be raised to a new level with 5G. After all, they all have a common denominator: they live on data, need computing power and drastically increase the number of connected devices. With LTE, however, these technologies will remain stuck in place, as they are closely tied to mobile specifications. 5G will largely serve to remove these limitations.
Example: Internet of Things
The number of devices connected to the Internet is constantly increasing. Currently, Wi-Fi or a wired connection is still very often used for this purpose, but there are many application scenarios where this is not possible. The mobile network is not yet a reliable alternative, as about 200 users can connect to an LTE cell and then share the entire capacity. We are familiar with this from our own experience when we hardly get access to the network with our smartphones in very busy places.
With 5G, the number of connected devices increases to 200,000 per square kilometer. Theoretically, up to one million devices can even be achieved. Technologies such as network slicing also make very different applications feasible, which do not interfere with each other despite sometimes conflicting connection requirements.
Marketing relevance: The number of digital advertising spaces in the analogue world is likely to rise sharply. This could make Digital-out-of-Home (DooH) much more important in the future.
Example: Augmented Reality
Augmented reality is certainly an exciting technology for which there are numerous possible applications. What is important, however, is a very stable connection with a reliable data rate and a terminal device with high computing power. A frequently cited example of the use of augmented reality is a remotely supported medical operation. If the connection breaks off or spikes, however, the effects could be fatal.
5G is the first technology to enable mobile response times at a level where we can actually speak of real-time applications. At the same time, the layer model (network slicing) ensures high reliability. And even the computing power of the end device no longer has to be the limiting factor, because 5G can also perform complex tasks directly in the mobile cloud. The terminal device would then only be responsible for displaying the data.
Marketing relevance: AR applications such as IKEA Place, with which furniture can be brought into the living room at home before purchase, can be adapted to many other areas. AR apps can also be very helpful in the area of customer service, for example in setting up or maintaining equipment.
Example: self-driving cars
Self-driving cars are slowly evolving from dreams of the future into reality. Nearly all major automobile manufacturers are working intensively on corresponding developments, but without a suitable infrastructure the dream will only be partially fulfilled.
5G can be useful in many places where networking is involved, for example with an intelligent traffic management system, between vehicles or with the manufacturer’s servers. Real-time communication with maximum reliability is not an additional option for self-driving cars, but a fundamental prerequisite.
Marketing relevance: If we no longer have to drive our cars ourselves, we can use the time spent in the car quite differently. This time will then also be interesting for marketing activities for the first time.
It will be some time before we have 5G at our disposal. Initial commercial use is predicted for 2020. But the new marketing opportunities also need development time, so you should start thinking about what 5G means for your business today.