The impact of 5G technology on Telecommunications industry

The evolution of cellular mobile networks – from 2G when text messaging and mobile data were first offered at the kbps scale, to 3G where faster transmission of data including the ability to video call was available, to 4G which offered even higher data transmission rates at the mbps scale – has resulted in a tremendous growth of the telecommunications industry. With this growth, we have seen greater traffic in cellular mobile networks which, between 2012 and 2016, increased at a compound annual growth rate of 78% [1]. While managing high mobile traffic remains challenging for telecoms companies, the industry is now meeting demands for high data transmission rates with its incoming 5G technology.

5G – the fifth generation of the cellular mobile networks – is expected to release in 2019 and 2020. Built upon the success of 2G and 3G, 5G is expected to bring about a revolution in not just the telecommunications industry, but also advance technologies incorporating IoT (Internet of Things). Moving from the lab to our wireless networks next year, 5G is expected to create strides in the development of smart cities, autonomous vehicles and provide remote healthcare. 5G will enable disruptive technologies to enter the market, including the development of augmented and virtual reality projects.  

Spectacular speed

While 4G can reach speeds up to 100 mbps, it is expected that 5G will enable speeds up to 10,000 mbps, changing the scale at which telecommunications currently operates at. With more power and improved efficiency, 5G may be the pathway towards connecting the world with greater ease, allowing for HD and ultra HD video streaming at faster rates. In addition to improving broadband speed in an era of ever-increasing mobile traffic, 5G will improve user experience while augmenting current LTE (long-term evolution) networks and perhaps even completely replace them in the future.

5G may be a solution to some of the challenges the telecommunications industry currently faces, including the growth in data consumption, resulting from an increase in the use of mobile phones and other devices utilising mobile data. With 5G, mobile operators are aiming to reduce the cost of data delivery which aims to improve the overall efficiency of providing data to customers. 5G will also focus on connecting machines through IoT, however, this is an area which will need further development from the current 5G standard that is being released next year.

The expectation

The onset of the 3G mobile network brought about GPS (Global Positioning System), allowing businesses such as Uber and Deliveroo to offer services that quickly became game-changers in their respective markets. 5G is expected to offer even greater speeds of up to gigabyte per second rates which will enhance the overall user experience. While 5G promises to be nothing less than a universal access network, it is still uncertain how far will it live up to this promise and how quickly it may be adopted by network providers worldwide. While wireless internet has had a great impact on the growth of mobile data users, pointing to the need for higher speeds and efficiency, the real challenge for the adoption of 5G by cellular networks will be in the management of data traffic, for which the telecommunications industry is now preparing for a 1000-fold increase in by 2020 [1].

[1] S. Chen and J. Zhao, “The requirements, challenges, and technologies for 5G of terrestrial mobile telecommunication,” IEEE Communications Magazine, vol. 52, no. 5, pp. 36–43, 2014.

Why businesses should adopt automation

Automation in the workplace is the use of robotics and control systems to allow seamless and autonomous operation. While the industrial revolution introduced automation in manufacturing – such as the use of robots on the shop floor for the assembly of automobile parts – automation is now receiving attention for its potential to add value to business processes in other sectors.

In fact, automation in the workplace, also known as Business Process Automation (BPA), is a transformative step taken towards streamlining business processes and effectively making things clearer and easier to understand. BPA offers better efficiency, whether it be through automated communication, data storage or procurement. Businesses can improve the quality of their service by streamlining processes, achieving objectives more quickly and delivering service faster. Automation has greatly improved the customer experience at Amazon, for example, by increasing sales through the reduction of shopping time and greater turnaround of orders with next-day Prime delivery.

Automation allows businesses to scale-up quickly and efficiently. In the recently introduced Prime Air scheme, Amazon aims to deliver orders within 30 minutes1. The product is retrieved from the warehouse by a robot and delivered to the customer by an autonomous drone. Automated drone delivery using GPS has also helped deliver life-saving medication, vaccines and blood for transfusions to rural regions in Rwanda, saving many lives as an outcome2.

Automation is now entering all sectors, including the life sciences where companies like Gingko Bioworks3 are reducing labourious manual work in the design of customized microorganisms. This not only improves the designing efficiency but also means that the company can take on more projects which is especially relevant when starting-up.

Additionally, adjusting the culture of your organization to welcome and adopt new technologies in this digital age can boost the longevity of your business. Here are some other ways in which automation can help:

  1. Applications that offer integrated analytics: these are tools that predict the outcome of business decisions through analysis of previous data and recommend solutions to problems.
  2. “Intelligent automation” is the combination of artificial intelligence and automation. Through machine learning, a business can build self-learning tools that generate trends from their data.
  3. Reduced manual efforts: giving robots or drones the trusted independence of performing a job that could be done by a human is saving time for an employee to do a task that could be more fulfilling and bring more value to the business.

While automation may be viewed as a replacement for human labour, it is a way in which businesses can reduce costs and allow individuals to focus on tasks requiring emotional intelligence. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can help alleviate routine tasks and allow individuals to focus on their career goals in the business. Not only is this beneficial to the individual, but also to the company such that the individual is now more likely to work with a creative and self-fulfilling mindset, allowing for a healthier work environment that encourages others around them to feel the same. In the long run, this creates a happier workforce which is key to a successful business.

We have come far from using automation solely on the shop floor to moving this technology into our offices. With applications far and wide, automation offers value to businesses in every sector of the economy, generating efficiency and reducing costs.