With commercial deployments imminent, the features and functionality of 5G are becoming clearer. Advanced trials are underway, highlighting likely architecture and deployment scenarios, while use cases are being considered and defined. Through this extended testing period, it has become abundantly clear that 5G will radically impact the way people work and play, and the way businesses operate.
In the interest of market competition, service providers are sketching out their 5G future, laying out their plans for how to deploy and use the new communications standard. They’re studying the key 5G business cases that have evolved through the comprehensive trial period, watching trends, and recognizing opportunities. Here are a few of the top 5G business cases that the market will see as the transition to 5G networks begins.
5G Business Case: High-Speed Broadband
One key 5G business case is the ability to offer high-speed fixed wireless broadband access to homes and businesses as a cost-effective way to expand coverage and capacity, particularly in places where traditional fiber is unavailable. In many cases, this 5G business case will open new markets.
AT&T has been testing 5G fixed wireless that will provide high-speed broadband, claiming speeds up to 1 Gb/s and latency rates well under 10 milliseconds for the radio link. In its tests, the company has a better understanding of millimeter wave (mmWave) performance and propagation. AT&T has also learned vital lessons about how foliage, building materials, device placement, surrounding environment, and weather can affect the signal and system in real-world environments.
5G Business Case: Industrial Internet of Things (IoT)
The smart factory of the 5G future will be characterized by a new kind of connectivity, linking automated machines, industrious robots, and software — all in the interest of far more dynamic production capabilities. The existing wired infrastructure of today’s industrial world will be replaced by the flexibility of wireless connectivity, permitting the interconnection of machinery through wireless sensors.
Ericsson has developed a 5G-enabled smart factory prototype using a key 5G network technology called network slicing. According to the company, new 5G technologies such as 5G New Radio (NR) — combined with technologies such as cloud, software-defined networking (SDN), and network slicing — will be key enablers for the smart factory of the future.
5G Business Case: Connected Health Care
When it comes to healthcare, high reliability/availability and low latency in communications systems are essential, which is where healthcare becomes a strong 5G business case. Scenarios classified under Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communication will also be a big factor, as use cases such as wireless remote surgery with instantaneous feedback, robotics, telemetry from wearable devices, and transmission of HD images take center stage in the 5G medical future.
Oulu Health was one of the first entities to test a 5G health care solution in its OuluHealth-ecosystem OYS TestLab environment. “Oulu is the first city to test this next-generation network in the hospital environment,” says Heidi Tikanmäki, key account director of BusinessOulu Life Science.
Healthcare will become increasingly computer based.
5G Business Case: Automated Vehicles
The automotive outlook for 5G involves a high level of connectivity, with networked sensors inside and outside of the car, monitoring everything. Enhanced safety, awareness, and passenger internet access will all be part of the 5G connected car, which will essentially offer a bevy of use cases. The 5G standard will connect vehicles with surroundings, other drivers, and infrastructure.
In 2017 Intel acquired Mobileye, a company researching and producing Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). Together they have actively worked to push the world towards fully autonomous cars by making deals with companies like Great Wall Motors in China to include ADAS in their cars in the coming years.
Taking the 5G Business Case Initiative
Providers are already scrambling to take advantage of these 5G business cases, creating opportunities for their connected future. Competition has grown fierce as major cell phone carriers are striving to setup 5G mobile networks sufficiently and before anyone else.
Updated March 2019