Mobile innovation was a major theme at CES and Mobile World Congress this year. This comes as no surprise given the impending rise of 5G, which promises to enable a new wave of mobile advancements including mass-scale iOT, low-latency communications and enhanced event and media experiences. Outlined below are a few ways this new wave of innovation will affect the mobile industry:

How we got to 5G: A brief history of mobile wireless systems

In the 1980’s, the 1st generation of wireless cellular technology (1G) used analog radio signals. This early form of cellular technology was quickly replaced with 2G. 2G used digital radio signals to communicate with radio towers, thus allowing for more efficient wireless connectivity and communications such as SMS and MMS text messaging. 3G allowed for the birth of mobile applications and higher data transfer rates, while 4G allowed for faster interactions and network connectivity. Fast forward to the impending launch of 5G — and you’ll find a few questions on everyone’s minds: 1.) What use cases will 5G allow for? and 2.) How will it change the mobile industry?

Mass-scale iOT  

5G will be able to support a vast number of devices, as many as 50 billion, allowing for the mass-scale of iOT. Smart sensors will be implemented in virtually everything from our cities infrastructure (roads, railways and vehicles) to large-scale farms and agricultural sites, allowing for reliable more efficient connectivity and communication between machines — and between machines and humans. This means seamless interactions between humans and technology. 5G and iOT will unlock potential new ways for machines and machines and machines and humans to interact. For example, smart cars will be able to interact with traffic lights and other cars, making roads safer.

Low-latency communications

5G will allow for ultra-low-latency. This means only 1 millisecond of delay in the transfer of data between devices — a 30x improvement over 4G. The reliability of lower latency in 5G will allow for greater technological advances in autonomous driving and the remote control of critical infrastructure in healthcare, public safety, government services and manufacturing. Low-latency will affect the mobile space by improving augmented and virtual reality and 360 immersive experiences, making them faster and more accessible to users. These domains will see major improvements with low-latency and the efficient connectivity of 5G.

Enhanced event and media experiences

5G will change how users experience events and other forms of media. 5G will facilitate greater broadband access in crowded areas such as sporting events and concerts. Users will be able to download 4k movies in seconds without a wifi connection. Furthermore, 5G will enable ultra-hi-fidelity immersive AR and VR experiences. Imagine putting the user in the heart of an action film or at a sporting event. Not only will 5G facilitate high-quality immersive user experiences, it will allow for scale with the ability to reach millions of users at a lower cost.

5G has the potential to generate and facilitate numerous use cases in the mobile space. Industries such as healthcare, automotive and professional sports, as well as other forms of media platforms will be greatly impacted. Not to mention, living in a truly connected world will become more of a reality.

Looking forward to experiencing all that 5G has to offer in 2018 and beyond.


By: Carolyn McGuire, UX Architect at Dragon Army, @crlynux

Image by: Carolyn McGuire