Despite 4G still being in the process of becoming a global standard, many businesses and government entities alike are looking ahead to the next big thing – 5G. 4G may be fast, but 5G will be accelerate connecting speeds to such a degree that, if it works like many predict it will, could unlock a whole new world of technology. Think flying cars, personal robots, and other devices that seem straight out of a sci-fi movie and you’ve got some idea of the potential of 5G. It’s still all in the early stages and therefore only theoretical at this point, but here are five ways that many believe 5G will change the world, starting as soon as 2020.
1. Driverless cars (and bikes) will become a reality.
One of the first hallmarks of a 5G network is that in order for it to exist, network capacity will need to be increased. With two directions of traffic and the addition of new frequency bands, devices will be able to better communicate with one another. This concept is known as the ‘internet of things,’ and it’s thought that it will have a major impact on our transportation options. Driverless cars would be able to communicate with surrounding infrastructure as well as with one another, for example. Some even believe that flying cars will be a reality in the near future thanks to 5G with Nokia Networks and other providers. Self-driving bicycles are also in the works, with companies like Samsung working on new ‘smart bikes’ that will be able to communicate with roadside infrastructure as well.
2. 5G can enable new medical procedures.
Doctors already use robotic elements in surgery, to allow for a higher level of precision thancan be achieved with the naked eye or human hand. With 5G connections, medical procedures could conceivably be undertaken completely at a distance, using telecommunications and robotic devices. With a faster connection, surgery could be performed in real time from a distance.
3. Long distance calls will become more interactive.
A similar concept would apply to phone calls. While most of us already use Skype now, in the future their services could include holographic calls. Instead of just video calls, users can connect with one another with 3D holographic connections. Some predict that this technology could be available very soon, and in fact Skype has stated that they are already able to support this type of call as soon as the technology is ready!
4. Cities will become increasingly connected.
The city of the future will be smarter, more connected, and hopefully safer, as emergency services and public infrastructure are linked up to provide faster response times to issues both great and small. Imagine a public transportation system that communicates with driverless cars, emergency vehicles, and utility companies, and you can see how everything could become interconnected.
5. Connections will be more reliable.
Connections in general will be far more reliable. This may not be as exciting as talking holograms and flying cars, but it’s just as important to quality of life. 5G should be as reliable as fibre connections, without sudden cuts in data connections. This reliability is a cornerstone of some of the other forms of technology on this list. Without a reliable connection, it’s impossible to tackle the advancement of smart transport or remote surgery. If 5G networks can truly do everything that proponents say it will do, the world could look very different in just a decade’s time. It remains to be seen if it will live up to the hype, however, so for now we can only speculate about the future of this technology.