5G: Will it transform the way we work and live?
10 Dec 2019

If something sounds too good to be true, beware, it usually is! But every now and again the exception to this rule comes along and proves to be just as good, if not better, than all the claims heralding its arrival.

Take 5G, for example. The very latest version of cellular network technology which is going to completely redefine the way we work, live and play in the future. It’s a bold claim but one we feel is completely justified. The possibilities are endless and difficult for all of us living in a pre-5G world to imagine.

It’s true we are at the beginning of this amazing phenomena being widely available to everyone and many of the futuristic capabilities predicted still need to be fine-tuned, honed and perfected before coming into day-to-day use - but we have already started out on that journey.

Our partner O2 started to roll out 5G back in October so we thought it would be a good idea to share our thoughts on how 5G is going to make a difference to all of us in the future.

What are the benefits of 5G?
  • A better and more reliable connection
  • Buffer-free streaming
  • Delay-free downloads
  • Remote working made easier
  • Transformation of the way businesses operate, through greater efficiency and productivity
  • Revolutionise the way healthcare and other services are delivered
  • Aid the advancement of AI technology 

5G won’t just be a case of faster connectivity, which is great in itself, but will also have the potential of a tremendous impact on businesses, the lives of individuals and the country in general.

How will it benefit individuals?

There will be little to no poor connections, allowing the user to do everything they need to do via their mobile devices from any location - whether that be working, downloading, streaming, moving information about more easily or video conferencing.

Individuals will be able to ‘attend’ and enjoy sporting occasions and concerts through Virtual Reality (VR) from the comfort of their own home and the enhanced 5G network is of great benefit when actually attending events as its designed so thousands of people can upload and download as much as they want from the same spot.

And even if you are waiting for 5G to come to you, as it’s rolled out there will be a significant improvement in 4G capability as O2 continues to plough £2m per day into the network.

5G, business and the economy

O2 has been working in partnership with businesses in retail, construction, utility and transport industries discovering how 5G could be of benefit to them. These have included leaders in their particular sector, like Northumbrian Water Group and Network Rail, focusing on such things as production processes, accessing 5G centred revenue streams or creating greater supply chain efficiencies.

5G innovation spaces are being created by O2 all over the country, including our Wayra accelerator hubs. They will make 5G test environments available to any size of business, providing a great boost for our national economy. By the way, did you know it is estimated the 5G transformation of all industries will provide an economic boost of around £6bn?

Easier access to remote working will mean all business activity can be conducted from anywhere at anytime, meaning a business base, office or building may no longer be necessary - along with the associated financial costs. It will also cut down on transport costs of trips to and from work, which will also be more environmentally-friendly, and possibly lead to a shorter working week.

And businesses will be able to take advantage of network slicing, the setting up of a private, tailor-made service to meet their own unique demands.

5G and the Internet of Things (IoT)

The IoT is the technology communicating and connecting with each other using the internet. Looking ahead, 5G will be able to handle huge volumes of data and connect many devices with a low latency level. This will allow for the capture of data and application of machine learning and Artificial Intelligence in near real time.

This will lead to opportunities for smart cities with connected cars, buses and sensors, working in unison to reduce accidents and help traffic flow. 5G should also advance the introduction of driverless vehicles, something we are already seeing being tested on our roads.

And 5G will revolutionise the world of surgery with it being possible for a surgeon to carry out a procedure from a different location to the patient by means of VR, a special glove and a robotic arm at the point of surgery.

When is 5G coming to you?

The O2 started their roll-out in October with areas of Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Slough and Leeds. By the end of the year the O2 5G network will be brought to parts of 20 towns and cities, before being rolled-out to a total of 50 by next summer.