2019 will be remembered as the year of 5G commercial kick-off. Although most services and mainstream applications are expected to hit the market in the next two to three years, the superior speed of 5G networks, as well as their low latency and greater reliability in data transmission, will probably catalyse innovation in many industries, putting mobile edge computing at the forefront of technological progress.
Which industries will be likely first to take advantage of 5G? Analysts are quite unanimous about automotive, where the new standard will further push digitalisation and decarbonised business models. Think of how onboard infotainment will change. Connected cars will be able to access data-enriched applications about itineraries and traffic, tourism and multimedia, but drivers will also be encouraged to use smart safety and road assistance services. Thanks to data mining models, it will be possible to reduce the environmental footprint by automatically suggesting sustainable driving behaviours.
As for manufacturing businesses facing the Fourth Industrial Revolution, 5G will accelerate the convergence of Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT), thus contributing to increase productivity and asset performance, enhance efficiency and time to market, make plants safer for workers. Possible 5G use cases include real-time monitoring and remote control of industrial equipment and processes, the launch of predictive and prescriptive maintenance approaches, the introduction of augmented and virtual reality to boost collaboration on shared projects, the integration of complex supply chains.
5G will also enable mission-critical connectivity in the energy business, with the opportunity to make smart grids come alive, complete large-scale smart metering projects, significantly improve distribution networks monitoring and maintenance.
However, even highly sensitive domains such as education and healthcare will benefit from 5G. It’s not hard to imagine that shortly, we will access better medical assistance from home, thanks to the possibility to remotely interact with doctors and health specialists. It will be common to share vital parameters measures with our caregivers, so they can provide an immediate response if and when needed. Computer-aided surgery will surely grow and develop.
Despite some criticism and scepticism, 5G is undoubtedly set to foster innovation in many industries, enabling new services and applications that will hopefully be for the good of people, communities and businesses.
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