As the tech industry prepares for broader rollouts of 5G networks, many are excited yet daunted at the same time by what faster network speeds will entail.
There’s no denying the vast benefits coming from 5G given the sheer volume of data that needs to be transmitted in real time from all IoT devices that have begun proliferating our lives. Moreover artificial intelligence requires heavy compute power and when that can be done anywhere on any device it truly makes AI powerful. The most obvious benefit come from being able to stream video and transmit other typically heavy data with limited to no latency.
Heena Purohit is a senior product manager at IBM Watson IoT. She helps explains just how tremendous the impact will be.
“5G is the holy grail for applying AI advanced analytics to your IoT data in real-time,” Purohit says. “On average, 5G can reduce latencies of about 80-100 ms to less than 10 ms. This enables you to run more AI-driven calculations in shorter time spans than ever before. So a car that constantly needs to be aware of its entire environment and react instantly and will immensely benefit from 5G. Same applies for applications such as medical devices and fully autonomous robots, among many others.”
To help imagine the widespread impact 5G will have across industries, other industry experts have chimed in. John Walsh is Accenture’s group chief executive for communications, media & technology. He comments, “At the business level, a plant manager in Seattle can use a 5G-powered extended reality headset to immerse themselves in a virtual replica of a factory in Vietnam. Volumetric executives can appear in meetings anywhere in the world with next-generation conferences.” He continues, “Doctors can leverage the ultra-reliable low latency of 5G to perform specialized surgeries remotely, using immersive 3D holograms sent into their homes and offices. 5G will make it possible for experts and top professionals to work virtually onsite where the skills are lacking physically.”
The better network capabilities, however, are also causing some concern that security measures may not keep up. If bad actors are able to leverage 5G, they may be more adept at hacking into systems.
Walsh says, “With this huge new wave of massive machine type of communication and connectivity, CIOs will need to prepare for a new wave of bad actors,” further adding, “The sheer speed and scale of 5G could potentially increase the number of security threats we’re wrestling with today.”
All in all, the 5G rollout will be a huge driver for greater productivity in our society. And like all new technologies that have been introduced in the past, we can expect that its introduction will not be entirely seamless.