July 30, 2020
The internet has become central to 59% of the world’s population. Activities such as sending emails, online gaming, video streaming and web browsing continue to grow, making a world without the internet impossible to picture, as we’ve learned with the response to COVID-19.
Seemingly overnight, organizations big and small — businesses, schools, government institutions — transitioned employees and students from on-site work to working from home. If anything good has come out of the pandemic, it’s a greater understanding of the increased importance of 24/7 connectivity, with 5G as the conduit for massive technology growth.
But accessing the online world isn’t only about mobile phones or personal computers. It’s also about the development of smart devices for the Internet of Things (IoT) and the infrastructure for autonomous vehicles, smart cities plus real-time voice and video communications, according to Maan Ghanma, strategy and business development director for UL’s IoT and Wireless Communications.
“You can imagine 5G as the integration technology being designed to suffice applications with different demands from high speed, instant responds, accurate data transfer while providing massive connectivity,” Ghanma said. “This brings life to multiple use cases in the healthcare, industrial automation, automotive communications and autonomous technology, smart cities and public safety, to list a few examples that come to mind. Ultimately, 5G becomes the platform for IoT and the connection to the outside world.”
What’s driving the growth of 5G
The need for speed — high data transfer speed with minimal delay — is one demand driver, along with the increased adoption of IoT devices and laying the foundation for increased use of automation technologies.
The highly infectious nature of the COVID-19 has challenged many industries that depended on humans to get their products to market. For example, essential businesses have turned to autonomous mobile robots (AMR) to help fill labor shortfalls. AMRs are a class of robots packed with sensors and internal computers and, while AMRs are not a 5G device, the connectivity of the sensors and computers will benefit from a robust 5G infrastructure.
Media and entertainment, all of which benefited from increased consumption as a direct result of social distancing, will also profit from an acceleration of 5G technologies.
“Strong consumer demand for 5G will eventually drive the replacement of the legacy infrastructure,” Ghanma said. “Additionally, school closures and the shift to online classrooms spotlighted digital inequities once hidden by educational bridges. Building out 5G infrastructure will help even out the disparities.”
“Much of this has to be resolved before we see the full expansion to 5G’s promise,” he said. “The ecosystem needs to grow for all things to plug in and flourish. 3GPP new releases with enhanced 5G features, affordable 5G modules, edge computing and comprehensive 5G network coverage with fiber backhaul are some of the essentials driving the success of 5G.”
Interested in 5G expansion? Learn more about UL’s wireless testing capabilities and our expansion in Fremont, California, Korea, Japan and more.