4G and LTE standards provide much of what’s needed for IoT devices to get the job done but 5G will transform the IoT landscape. Predicted to reach $520bn by 2021, the internet of things (IoT) is highly reliant on fast, effortless connectivity. What can 5G bring to the table? Consider these key benefits:
Lower latency. 4G networks already provide the capacity for millisecond-latency in the single digits, but 5G IoT promises to reduce latency to sub-millisecond levels. Latency matters where IoT devices drive mission-critical objectives: think operating rooms and self-driving cars. Responsiveness that reach sub-millisecond levels can mean the difference between life and death.
Increased capacity. IoT devices rarely use a lot of bandwidth, the nature of the data transmitted by IoT devices tend to be small in scale. However, large collectives of IoT devices can in aggregate lead to huge volumes of data. This is where 5G will come into play by ensuring that overall network capacity can deal with the profusion of IoT devices.
Reliability. Just like latency, IoT devices depend highly on reliable networks. For example, one of the defining service categories behind 5G is URLCC, or Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communication. This technical standard is built to ensure reliable, uninterrupted data transmission with extremely low error rates. Again, 5G can ensure IoT devices have the reliable, responsive networks that support critical applications.
It is easy to underestimate the impact of enhanced connectivity. The IoT revolution was not exactly widely predicted, but no serious enterprise can now ignore the huge impact of the billions of connected devices lighting up on the internet every year. But which IoT applications stand to benefit the most from 5G?
There is no question that the actionable, real-time edge data that IoT can deliver is opening up previously unimaginable applications. 5G will simply accelerate this trend, and some IoT applications will see massive benefits:
Automotive. Numerous aspects of 5G align closely with the IoT requirements of smart vehicles. Sensor-packed autonomous vehicles require reliability, availability and low latency to function smoothly. Whether it is vehicle to vehicle (V2V) or vehicle to everything (V2X) communications, the improved connectivity on offer on 5G networks will allow vendors to push boundaries.
Manufacturing. It’s the real-time aspect of 5G that is set to transform how IoT behaves in an industrial setting. Super-fast, sub-millisecond latency allow real-time operations in a manner never before possible. Whether it is maintenance, on-the-fly calibration, or human input via augmented reality, 5G can transform industrial settings.
Healthcare. In what is really a matter of life and death, 5G’s extreme reliability offers remote surgeons the certainty which can be lacking under 4G solutions. In fact, the first instance of surgery-by-5G was just performed in Fujian, China. Surgery is an ideal 5G use case, with 5G’s combination of high reliability and low latency reducing the chances of mistakes while allowing surgeons to be more responsive than they would otherwise have been.
5G is not yet widely available, though this is due to change rapidly according to the Ericsson 2018 Mobility Report. Enterprises that use IoT technology will need to prepare for the implications of 5G to ensure that competitors do not overtake them.
Working with an IoT expert is essential. We know that 5G will have dramatic consequences for the IoT landscape, the IoT experts at ELEKS can help your enterprise adjust its IoT deployments to take advantage of 5G and IoT as soon as the latest generation of cellular networks become widely available. Get in touch with us!