With the advent of 5G technology, everything is about to change. The deployment of 5G will not only provide far greater bandwidth, but it will dramatically speed up the rate at which devices communicate. This means more devices can talk to one another and coordinate activities. It also enables more devices to be on the network at one time, opening up an array of new possibilities for products and services. At the same, 5G allows devices to consume far less power. 5G devices have the potential to last up to ten years without a change of batteries.
When you combine this with the fact that there will be over twenty billion IoT devices deployed by 2020, it sets the stage for a major shift in how we live and work. The true value will come not just from the network capabilities or the devices themselves but from the data gathered and the advances in AI to process and act upon this data.
We will see far greater device integration and data sharing at work and at home in the coming decade. Every smart device of the future will be talking to one another and exchanging information to make our lives better. Devices will become increasingly autonomous. They won’t require us to download an app and figure out how to control them. Instead, they will figure out how to program themselves and adapt to our needs. This is because they will have the data to know what we prefer in advance. It will all be stored in the cloud. If the data doesn’t already exist, then the device will generate it over time by invisibly interacting with us. It will observe our patterns, measure our preferences through bio and brain feedback, adjust accordingly, and monitor our reactions. We won’t even realize its happening.
“5G allows devices to consume far less power. 5G devices have the potential to last up to ten years without a change of batteries”
We will see an increasing trend towards what I call DaaS, or device as a service. This is where instead of buying a smart refrigerator, we will subscribe to one provided by companies like Amazon and Wal-Mart. This machine will be subsidized through our purchases of products, and it will be complete with all the latest technology to scan those products, provide us with nutritional information, alert us when the milk spoils, order ketchup when it inevitably runs out, and plan our meals.
We will also see 5G connected devices acting as our caretakers. We will increasingly rely on smart devices to monitor our babies, tutor our children, babysit our kids, keep an eye on our teenagers, and even take care of our pets. Imagine an Amazon smart feeder that makes sure your dog and cat eat balanced, healthy diets, dispenses the proper amounts of food, monitors their health, orders new pet food in advance of it running out, and even alerts you when your pets are sick and suggests various treatments.
The value doesn’t stop there. Smart devices will help schedule meetings and make sure everyone attends. Devices will also participate in the meetings, providing AI feedback and data based on what we’re discussing. We may even rely on the devices to manage the meetings, calling on different parties to speak and structuring the conversations so that they are more productive. After the meetings are over, the devices will then follow up and make sure what we agreed upon actually gets done.
We’ll see homes, offices, and factories equipped with intelligent devices to monitor everything from water and chemical leaks to mold inside the walls and machinery that is nearing the end of its life. Every facet of a building will be monitored and regulated like a living organism, saving us time, natural resources, and money. Our cities will work in much the same way, as smart devices manage our energy, recycling, waste disposal, traffic, and city services.
The deployment of 5G will make all of this possible by allowing tens of thousands of devices to seamlessly communicate with one another in real time. I’m just scratching the surface of what will happen in the decade after 5G rolls out. The impacts of 5G and advances in complementary technologies, like AI and big data, will ripple through our entire society, affecting everything. The result will be greater productivity, choice, and opportunities, as we advance towards ever smarter homes, offices, and cities.