Infrastructure Commission Report and Recommendations to the UK Government December 2016
5G connectivity will be introduced from 2020, and will be a major contributor to UK and global economic growth. It will be part of a curve – Cloud usage and the Internet of Things are already well established on 4G – but that curve will move steeply upward. Over the next 5 years, global mobile data traffic is expected to increase by 827%. And the number of connected devices will grow from 15 billion today to 50 billion by the onset of 5G (Source: Cisco).
Discussion in the run up to 5G tends to focus on the mobile infrastructure, regulation and standards. For those wanting to understand and explore the wider business potential of 5G connectivity, this report to the UK Government also provides a vivid picture of the capabilities expected of the new generation of broadband connectivity, and of the ways it will enable not only faster and wider connectivity, but also radically new applications and services for users.
The report’s recommendations are naturally about matters that depend on government policy, with targets to get major roads, rail routes and towns equipped by 2025 – which is crucially important for mobile operators. But it’s valuable reading for all businesses, as they can all by then have full connectivity with their employees, and 5G will radically change the ways that people work in their own teams and in supply networks from R&D to procurement, collaboration, design, delivery and aftercare.
And 5G will transform the ways that people behave, customers of products and services, users of healthcare, learning, information, entertainment and public services. People will expect truly innovative applications to match the greater speeds and reliability of using mobile.
The most exciting ways to add value will, I believe, be for businesses that can develop the new applications that the public sector, transport and health authorities, educators and customer-facing businesses will need – applications that individuals will want to use as well. Again, it won’t be just ‘doing the old things’ faster and more consistently. Exploitation of virtual reality, augmented reality, voice and face recognition and other techniques that are just waiting round the corner, will enable visionary innovators to come up with applications that we currently just can’t foresee. One expert has predicted that 5G communication of touch sensations will enable remote diagnosis and surgery to equal a direct doctor-to-patient experience. What might its impact be for consumer facing businesses?
And of course 5G will add exponentially to the quantity of data available. It really will require a corresponding growth in the intelligence – whether machine or human – that stores, processes, visualises and uses the data.
Barbara Walker, Director of Innovation and Government Relations
All the major aspects of future business will be addressed in IORMA events over the coming year.