The rise of 5G in 2020: How new telecom technology will revolutionize connectivity

Published: January 16, 2020 1:30:30 AM

5G is a tremendous enabler, with its low latency in particular making the deployment of new technologies such as autonomous vehicles and consumer robotics a realistic proposition.

5G networks began to pop up in a handful of countries in 20195G networks began to pop up in a handful of countries in 2019

By Srinivasan CR

No matter how much technology keeps evolving, making predictions about the future is always a risky business—but with the continued spread of digital transformation there are some areas where advances are more likely.

The rise of 5G
5G networks began to pop up in a handful of countries in 2019, but 2020 is the year the technology will really start to spread. For most people, it’ll mean much faster internet speeds, more responsive connections and more reliable connectivity in densely populated areas, but its impact on society will go even further than that. 5G is a tremendous enabler, with its low latency in particular making the deployment of new technologies such as autonomous vehicles and consumer robotics a realistic proposition.

Connected cars and transport
When people think about connected cars they usually imagine kicking back and letting AI take control. We are however still a little way off a robo-chauffeur becoming an everyday sighting on the world’s streets. That hasn’t stopped the entertainment industry from pinpointing passengers as an on-the-go captive audience, though. With 5G offering faster, more reliable connectivity for people in transit, this is the perfect commercial opportunity for media-services industry. I predict that the major streaming services have identified cars as the next place for people to consume their content and will likely plan to tailor their offerings to appeal to these viewers.

AI for human collaboration
While all reports today indicate AI will benefit organisations, there is some fear that the use of AI in the workplace will lead to a loss of jobs. Setting the record straight, a 2018 study of global business leaders found that the technology was actually expected to diversify human thinking, rather than replace it. AI is expected to enhance cognitive diversity within groups, which can yield better outputs and help employees become more nimble and agile. AI will have the potential to free employees from tedious repetitive tasks, allowing them to focus much more on communication and innovation, thereby altering the structure of work. Work is expected to move from being task-based to strategic, enabling workers to enhance their curiosity and creative thinking—something that AI is not yet capable of doing.

Apps on the up
Between 2017 and 2018, app downloads increased by a whopping 15%, with over 205 billion apps downloaded worldwide. This is expected to rise by 25% by 2022. That’s not hugely surprising. Today’s apps perform more functions than ever. As more businesses undergo digital transformation and migrate their services to the cloud, expect more apps to launch for both personal and professional use – just don’t forget your charger.

Focus on privacy and anonymity
With more data being generated and stored, security and privacy have never been so important. Making people aware that their data is being treated with the care it deserves will be hugely valuable for companies. Biometrics make life both easier and safer, but the security of its related data cannot be 100% guaranteed. That means we’ll see stricter laws and punishments to deter those who might be tempted to steal such sensitive data and infringers must be held accountable.

The writer is chief digital officer, Tata Communications

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