Commentary

5G: The Beginning And End Of IoT As We Know It Today

Mobile World Congress 2018 has wrapped, and 5G was everywhere, at least on the show floor. But it’s not alone. Another equally red-hot topic was the Internet of Things (IoT).

There’s good reason why these two seem to be part of the same conversations. Two words: connected devices. We know that every thing is being connected, be it an automobile, manufacturing equipment, building sensors or even your washing machine. But consider just how fast this is all happening. BI Intelligence estimates that 22.5 billion IoT devices will be shipped globally in 2021. This massive number prompts the obvious question of how will networks be able to support this traffic?

The answer, of course, is 5G. In a recent Gartner survey, 57 percent of respondents stated that the main intention of their organization is to use 5G to drive IoT communication. The reason is that 5G is roughly 1,000 times faster than 4G, which will allow connected things to share data faster than ever before, while it’s remarkably low latency will provide greater bandwidth and, most importantly, ultra-high availability. All at a lower cost of delivery than existing networks.

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It’s these capabilities that will open the door to increased IoT growth and adoption. It’s true that IoT already is driving innovation and disrupting traditional business models, whether it’s on the manufacturing line, in an automobile or an elevator.  But IoT deployment via 5G network will support a far larger number of connected devices, in more places, and will provide more data than you imagine. This will drive an entirely new era of IoT use cases.

To get a full sense of what’s to come consider this figure—5G is expected to generate up to $12 trillion worth of goods and services by 2035 as connected devices permeate every industry in places where the 5G advantages, speed, latency, and power, create new reach for IoT. This will include sensors in fields, control systems in smart buildings and a whole new level of capabilities in connected cars.

5G is paving the way for IoT to meet its true potential, and the following pieces are falling into place:

  • Connected Devices: Sensor prices have plummeted, which fueled the rapid growth in connected devices.
  • Edge Analytics: The edge analytics market is projected to reach more than $7 billion by 2021 and 5G will allow connected devices to provide data to drive valuable insights from literally anywhere in the world. It will bring superior connectivity to the network’s edge, even where connectivity is weak or unavailable.
  • Blockchain: As adoption moves beyond finance into new industries such as trucking, insurance, real-estate, automotive and energy and utilities, businesses will have the opportunity to add critical IoT data to private blockchains.
  • Open Standards: Open standards are creating greater interoperability between devices from different vendors, opening innovative possibilities and fueling IoT adoption.

With 5G, the final puzzle piece has emerged, and it will allow IoT applications to fully pervade the far reaches of the world, making information and insight available about anything, from practically anywhere, and the only limit to innovating and solving problems will our imagination. 

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