The North American market for 5G technologies is expected to exceed $180 billion by 2030, driven primarily by enterprise applications such as connected vehicles and real-time automation in manufacturing. This new means of wireless communication is already benefitting Media & Entertainment and immersive applications.
READ MORE: The Future of 5G Adoption (JP Morgan)
Here’s a look at how that’s so along with a peek into to what we can expect from 6G, which is being worked on in standardization bodies right now. Mark van Rijmenam, tech strategist and entrepreneur, has compiled ways in which 5G will change workflows — from which we’ve identified the relevant M&E applications.
Remote Working Gets Easier
5G wireless will eventually mean people no longer have to be tied down by a mandatory location — even in rural areas. With high-speed internet available anywhere, people will have the freedom to live anywhere they wish.
Edge Computing Goes Next-Level
5G will enable the creation of new edge computing systems that augment cloud infrastructure. This is a bonus for producers of eSports streaming, gaming or live sports broadcasters wanting real-time interaction with their users will be able to offer incredibly fast services in sub-10ms latency.
5G will not only usher in driverless vehicles but will enable a new personalized media hub on the go. The faster response times made possible by low latency data streams means service providers can deploy streaming media applications from home to car and during travel, extending touch points and engagement with the customer.
We need to wait for leaner, more comfortable wearables before wall-to-wall everyday AR and VR immersivity becomes a reality, but steps are being made toward this. For example, T-Mobile and Qualcomm partnered to build AR applications for smart glasses (such as the Niantic Planet-Scale AR Alliance powered by 5G).
With platforms like the Snapdragon Spaces XR developer, “you can create mixed reality or other immersive experiences that transform smartphones into powerful pocket computers.”
Toward a Metaverse Based on 5G
Brands and media companies are keen to explore the potential of a 3D internet. 5G will provide the backbone to make this possible.
READ MORE: The Benefits of 5G for Business (Nutanix)
“[5G] will deliver an excellent customer experience by connecting customers to companies in both the digital and real world, including ultra-fast connectivity,” says van Rijmenam. “5G’s rollout will revolutionize the metaverse, making it even more essential for enterprises to develop a digital strategy.”
6G is Coming: What’s the Latest?
Even though the implementation of 6G technology may still be many years away, it is expected to become an integral part of communications within the next decade. Its capabilities will make it possible to generate massive amounts of data across decentralized networks — and deliver that information instantly.
The increased use of connected devices will require more efficient and advanced technologies to enable faster download speeds with minimal latency. This is something the next phase of 5G aims to tackle. 5G-Advanced, due to be deployed by 2025, uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to manage networks more intelligently.
Meanwhile, the 6th generation of wireless communication networks will boost use of radio spectrum and enhance scalability.
“As a result,” Van Rijmenam says, “connections will be more reliable, and drops will be reduced, which will be crucial to supporting advanced technologies such as drones and robots. Connected devices can use multiple connections simultaneously (e.g., Wi-Fi and cellular) if one is interrupted, so they stay connected no matter what.”
6G vs. 5G: What’s the Difference?
Some specifics of 6G technology in comparison to 5G include:
- 100 gigabits per second (100 Gbps) versus 10 Gbps.
- Frequencies greater than 100 GHz versus 3.5–26 GHz.
- Latency as low as a few microseconds versus ~ 30 milliseconds in practice.
- An energy consumption of less than 1 nJ/bit.
Latency alone will have a significant impact. It’s not that 5G is slow either. While the signal latency in 4G is around 50 milliseconds and 5G lowers this to just five milliseconds, the 6G latency is estimated at one millisecond or less.
“That would mean that huge data transmissions could be made almost instantly available anywhere on earth,” says van Rijmenam.
With 5G’s increased speeds, it is expected to make the Internet of Things more practical and user-friendly. Experts also predict that 6G will enhance the performance of connected devices even further — which may lead to widespread use of IoT devices.
READ MORE: Towards 6G Internet of Things: Recent advances, use cases, and open challenges (ScienceDirect)
Just as 4G hasn’t replaced 3G and 5G complements 4G, the 6G network will run in parallel with previous versions of wireless connectivity.
It’s thought unlikely that every device will use 6G, or more accurately need to use 6G. Current thinking is that 6G will be reserved it for science, medical, industry and military — in its early days at least. No telling where that will go decades hence or if a further ‘G’ can be minded from the spectrum.