Changing the game: Why 5G could revolutionise the way we do business
Technology has driven rapid change in our lives, particularly in the last 20 years. Its caused change in so many ways – Think about the Internet of Things (IoT), virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR)…all of these terms have become part of the daily technology conversation.
The focus of technology is on delivering parts of our lives faster, cheaper, smarter and more flexibly. So much of the conversation is now about ‘convenience’, with companies like Google and Microsoft looking at how they can make parts of our life less time consuming.
Telstra CEO Andy Penn summed this up recently when talking about the next big tech change on their horizon: 5G. What excites me is the impact that 5G will have on many areas of our business and personal lives. For Inland Digital, it’s the business element that has the potential to be a real game changer.
What’s the fuss all about?
5G essentially refers, in laymen’s terms, to our wireless network. It connects our smart phone and allows our apps and other technology to actually work. Every 5-10 years a new standard for this network is born and essentially is named in sequential order i.e. we’re in the 4G age right now, next it is ‘5G’.
5G will bring a huge change in terms of speed, reliability, and connectivity. Reports suggest that the speed element is the game changing part, with predictions of a 10 to a belting 100 times increase over the current 4G network. This is what will drive change.
For business it’s a massive win. 5G will open avenues around data and its uses that today are still just a prediction. From a productivity perspective, our ability to automate and streamline process will be given a steroid-like boost. In fact, a recent study suggests that the impact to our economy is huge, with a prediction that it will add $50bn to our GDP over the next ten years.
5G will enable other technologies to deliver on what has been promised. Think about driverless cars, smart homes, video streaming, live communication…all of these will be run at another level via 5G connectivity. Business communication will see huge gains; video conferencing and other smart collaboration tools will work in true real time. In fact, it has the potential to drive down the cost of communicating, providing the opportunity for business to make it easier to communicate across regions. That in itself is a massive boon for regional areas like the Central West. Remote working will grow dramatically on the back of faster connectivity, breaking down the barriers to living in regional Australia. Escaping the city for a tree or sea change will become easier.
Industries like healthcare will also see a major benefit. Again, for those of us based regionally it could potentially reduce the cost of healthcare. It also provides a commercial opportunity, making healthcare hubs like this in Orange even more commercially viable as they can provide services in real time to just about anywhere.
As a technology company, what really excites me is the AI and BI elements. As we look to streamline workflows, 5G will add to our ability to share and move data. It will open up massive opportunities by streamlining the way we work, transforming business.
It’s not without its challenges…
While there are huge benefits, there’s still some work to do. 5G is a major infrastructure change and given the geographic size of our country, it’s one that will present a few obstacles.
There’s also conflict between 5G and the often diabolical NBN scheme. The reality is that 5G looks likely to not only outperform the NBN but to potentially make it obsolete longer term, adding to what has already been a disastrous rollout. With many of the same businesses involved, there’s also the chance of the past repeating itself in the 5G rollout.
However, for me the potential benefits far outweigh the challenges of getting it done. 5G has the potential to really change the way we work: It’s time for businesses to think about how they can incorporate these developments so they become a key part of their forward strategy.
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