Technology moves at a million miles an hour. It seems like only yesterday that 4G was the ‘hot new thing’. Fast forward to today and the fifth generation of mobile networks, 5G, is the topic on everyone’s lips.
The impact of 5G can’t be overstated: it will increase the speed at which we send and receive information significantly, fundamentally changing the way in which businesses operate and people live.
It’s an exciting time, with 5G-capable devices such as the Huawei P30 Pro and Samsung’s Galaxy 10+ already on the market – Apple’s 5G iPhone is due for release in 2020.
Of course, 5G phones aren’t cheap.
They’re pricey pieces of kit, worthy of top-tier mobile phone insurance. Nowadays, our gadgets come everywhere with us, operating as our primary connection to the rest of the world. 5G will extend this to a whole host of gadgets, making planet earth truly digital.
If you choose to invest in a brand-new smartphone, protect your investment with reliable mobile phone insurance. Gadget Cover offers truly instant, quality protection, giving you peace of mind that you’re protected in the event of accidental damage or theft.
Want to know more about how 5G will change the world? We’re here to help…
What is 5G and how will it change the world?
Put simply, 5G is an upgraded version of our mobile communications infrastructure – 4G’s successor.
The implementation of 5G will affect factors such as: the frequency at which radio waves travel, which type of bandwidth is employed in the transmission of information/signal, and how cell towers green-light connecting gadgets.
The scope of 5G’s influence on the world, however, is far from simple, bordering on the sci-fi. Let’s start with the basics:
Supply to meet demand
Ever tried to load a website or stream your favourite movie at Christmas?
You may have noticed your device loading content at a slower pace – pretty frustrating, we know. This is because current 4G capabilities only allow for a limited number of users to tap into a network at any given time.
5G should spell the end of busy, over-crowded networks, as it will have access to a greater quantity of spectrum, at higher frequencies.
Radio spectrum (bandwidth) is the lifeblood of mobile networks, allowing users to send and receive data.
5G means more intelligent usage, harnessing huge amounts of spectrum space – previously unavailable – to allow for more devices to successfully connect.
5G networks will be better equipped to cope with the data-guzzling ways of new devices: they’re predicted to facilitate up to one million devices working at full capability in a single square kilometre.
A need for speed
A star feature of 5G is its incredible speed. The days of endless buffering and half-loaded webpages will be over, and almost-instant downloads will be the new normal.
In the days of 3G, an HD film took over a day to download, at an average speed of 8MBps. 4G fared better, taking over seven minutes to download a full HD film, at an average speed of 32.5MBps.
So, what if you fancy downloading a full HD film on your 5G device?
You’ll only be waiting for a jaw-dropping 4-40 seconds, as super-fast 5G capability will allow for an average download speed of 130MBps-240MBps.
In layman’s terms, latency is the time taken for data to travel from one place to another.
Until 5G, there was a considerable delay between the two destinations, with advanced 4G offering latency of roughly 40-50ms.
This meant even the most modern of gadgets took their time loading content, from videos to newsfeeds.
5G will change this, boasting low latency of approximately 1ms, providing near-instant delivery of data. Learn more about 5G capabilities in our article, ‘What to expect from 5G’.
Why is 5G a game changer?
5G is compatible with myriad forms of technology, unlike previous mobile generation networks – this is one of the key reasons it’s such a game changer.
As the world becomes more and more data-driven, the Internet of Things (IoT) is starting to take centre stage. 5G’s capabilities will allow for a radical overhaul of our communication infrastructure, so we really will be living in a fully-connected world.
The Internet of Things
Smart appliances are still in their infancy, but the advent of 5G means soon they’ll be commonplace.
An eye-watering number of items will be able to tap into an extensively-connected infrastructure, harvesting, communicating and sharing data through the use of sensors.
A recent study by Juniper Research suggested that the number of sensors and devices connected to the IoT will rocket from 21 billion to over 50 billion by 2022.
The rise of AI
5G will also advance the progress of AI, enabling devices to learn and adapt over time, analysing the data they receive.
Driverless cars will be able to improve their own performance, learning from daily experiences out on the road, avoiding congested routes and stopping off at owners’ favourite cafés.
AI robots will be able to build their knowledge on the factory floor, learning from other robots and overseeing their own maintenance.
A new reality
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will be significantly impacted by 5G. Currently limited by sluggish Wi-Fi, access to AR and VR will be transformed by 5G’s lower latency and heightened connectivity.
This will have a drastic effect on innumerable industries, with managers being able to make hologram calls to remote workers and doctors checking up on bed bound patients from their surgeries.
While most of us are only aware of blockchain in relation to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, the technology is also used for functions such as product authentication and logistical planning.
Blockchain is a clever way to track high-value items such as diamonds throughout their journeys, giving buyers greater assurance they’re receiving the genuine article.
The increased connectivity of 5G will help make traceable, transparent supply chains a global reality.
Many device companies are considering producing blockchain-friendly mobile smartphones, a sure-fire sign of the larger role blockchain is soon to play.
This will enable users to check the provenance of goods with a few simple taps, and also store personal content separately from larger, centralised clouds such as the Apple cloud.
How 5G will impact daily life
Day-to-day work will be dramatically altered by 5G. Workers will no longer be tethered to their desks or cubicles, working remotely with ease.
Thanks to fast internet connection and VR, workers can be ‘present’ without actually commuting anywhere – conference calls will become holographic calls!
In turn, this will improve quality of life, allowing workers to enjoy more spare time, exercise, rest and relaxation.
5G will also speed up commuting time, as automated, smart transport will operate more efficiently, suffering from less of the usual glitches.
Many more jobs and industries will become automated, due to 5G’s capacity, speed and low latency, making for more finely oiled operations.
A lot of workers worry about this aspect of 5G, as they’re concerned their livelihoods will be impacted.
However, Qualcomm forecasts that, by 2035, 5G could be responsible for the production of as much as £9.3 trillion worth of goods and services, generating 22 million jobs.
Companies will also benefit from network slicing, a technique which enables 5G-connected businesses to have their own private virtual network, tailor-made to fit their business needs.
Lifestyle & transport
5G means the ‘smart cities’ of sci-fi movies will finally merge with reality, as will smart homes.
Everything from our fridges to our light bulbs could be connected to our very own mobile ecosystem, allowing us to voice control and monitor our homes in ways we never have before.
The effects could be life-saving, with networks detecting issues such as gas leaks early on, automatically making an emergency call.
Smart cities will become the norm, with sensors and cameras tracking utility networks, traffic movements, pedestrian activity and environmental changes, amongst other elements. Big Brother really will be watching!
AI could revolutionise the healthcare industry, improving quality of life and operational efficiency in care homes and hospitals, tracking patients’ routines and health.
Remote surgery will enable doctors to perform critical operations from across the world, via robots.
Those who are rurally based will benefit too, especially in areas where the existing infrastructure offers poor connection speeds.
5G-operated drones and driverless tractors will vastly improve the lives of farmers, using image analysis to assess soil and crops, saving time and energy.
Driverless vehicles will free up time previously spent behind the wheel, allowing drivers to socialise with family and friends or work on the road, as 5G’s lower latency will allow for sustained network connection, even while travelling.
Mass connectivity means more efficiently operated systems. Due to this, 5G will have an incredibly positive impact on the environment.
Smart cities will become more streamlined and energy-efficient, with street lights only switching on when necessary, and smart homes experiencing drastic reduction in their gas, water and electricity usage.
O2 predicts that councils will save a whopping £2.8 billion annually due to 5G-optimised services, while the NHS should enjoy the liberation of 1.1 million GP hours, thanks to remote capabilities.
5G will rake in £6 billion annually in productivity savings alone, owing to smart equipment such as driverless electric cars and smart power grids.
It will likely save households £450 per year, due to lower council, fuel and food costs.
AR and VR capabilities will decrease the need to travel, connecting people with ease, while driverless cars will be able to calculate the most efficient routes to and from locations, reducing the length of journeys.
Likewise, farming methods will become greener and more efficient with the aid of clever agritech.
Will 5G end the world?
The hyper-connected reality that 5G is set to bring about does raise concerns.
As 5G is immersed into our transportation systems, power plants, hospitals and businesses, it will rapidly become the bedrock of vital national infrastructures.
Cyber-attack, sabotage or system failure could have extreme consequences, and the infancy of 5G means it comes with many uncertainties and vulnerabilities attached.
According to GSMA, it’s likely that, by 2025, the number of devices connected to the internet will hit 25 billion.
The allure of 5G’s super-fast network means more and more people will join, and the bigger the network, the more vulnerable it is to hackers. A vaster network is also more complex, and therefore becomes harder to regulate.
5G will facilitate cloud gaming, enabling users to play games on their smartphones that were previously limited to PC use only.
This may be a cause of concern for some, especially parents, as it will likely increase users’ screen time and diminish efforts to get outside or interact with others face to face.
New technology often raises red flags – initially – but 5G is here to stay, so focusing on proper regulation and positive development is the way forward.
Should I get a 5G phone?
While the four main network providers – Vodafone, O2, EE and Three – have launched their 5G services this year, 5G phones are still relatively new to the market.
Due to this, 5G-capable devices currently come with hefty price tags, so they’re still out of many buyers’ budget ranges.
If you rely heavily on your iPhone to conduct business – for example, if your company depends on platforms such as Instagram to communicate with customers – then now might be the time to commit to a 5G device. You may simply be a tech-lover, keen to grab the latest hot gadget.
Either way, a 5G phone is a pricy investment, so securing quality mobile phone insurance is essential. You want to enjoy your shiny new toy with total peace of mind, so don’t wait to act.
Gadget Cover’s mobile phone insurance includes perks such as worldwide cover, perfect for those who don’t go anywhere without their phone handy, and offers the first month totally free on policies paid monthly. Your smartphone will be in safe hands with us.
Enjoy the world of 5G headache free – get a quote today.