Tom Sime: Five ways in which 5G will transform the way we do business

Tom Sime
Tom Sime

New wireless technology is an enabler, not an end in itself, writes telecoms chief Tom Sime.

Major network providers’ rolling out of 5G is a game changer which will accelerate web speeds and give us better connectivity than ever.

We’re already seeing the first mobile devices with 5G capability introduced but the majority of businesses will not be able to harness its full benefits for the next few years.

How exactly will it transform our working lives?

The ‘office’ will become a thing of the past

Increasingly, IT infrastructures will transition to the cloud, which will reduce the need for physical hardware. In turn, the workforce will shift from traditional ways of working to a more virtual and mobile one, thanks to the technology’s ability to stream high-resolution video, audio, content screensharing and images. All that will make remote meetings feel as if you’re in the same room.

That will bring you and your clients closer together, enhancing trust and accountability through improved technology, and providing a richer user experience in real-time.

Deals will be concluded faster

One of the biggest benefits of this technology will be its instantaneous, unbroken communication from anywhere in the world. Business will be completed faster with no frustrating drops or delays in connection, and international barriers will be further broken down.

We’ll be more energy efficient

Currently, the Internet of Things (IoT) allows multiple connected devices to gather data in real time. But the continuous exchange of data puts a strain on the network. With 5G’s reduction in latency – how long it takes for data to transfer – the new wireless network will allow more simultaneous connections and realise a significant reduction in network energy usage, while ensuring better battery life for devices.

Data won’t go out of date

Businesses that depend on IoT technology to leverage data insights will particularly benefit from lowered latency. They will be able to gain near real-time analysis into how their operations are performing.

Virtual reality will be just that

Other technologies which will be enabled by 5G networks include Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), both of which require a faster and more capable network. Retailers and property companies will be able to show their wares in virtual reality to customers far away.

Likewise, industries such as energy and utilities will now able to perform mission-critical operations, including remote control of infrastructure.

Next generation networks won’t necessarily signal a defining technology – rather its potential will unlock more advanced technologies and will change the landscape of what’s possible for businesses.

It’s therefore vital that businesses start planning for change and how they can take advantage of it – whether it’s restructuring of the workforce or considering how they do business.

The possibilities are endless – and those organisations getting on board and stealing a crucial early march will dictate the pace while reaping the rewards.

Tom Sime is chief executive officer of Exchange Communications , a telecoms group based in Glasgow

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