5G promises machine-to-machine communication much better than what 4G can do and at more economical rates. Picture for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Agency

Dubai: The benefits of 5G mobile technology will connect more machines than people in real-time through the Internet of Things and transform the industrial space.

Previous mobile technologies such as 3G and 4G were built for human interactions, but 5G will allow industries to cut cables to their machines with the intelligence of the cloud. “5G is as big an innovation as electricity was to mankind,” said Sukhdev Singh, vice-president at market research and analysis services provider Kantar AMRB.

“It is going to change the world much more than what 3G and 4G did. 4G took us to a level well connected with various people, but what 5G is going to do is to connect people to everything.”

He said 5G will be a platform for the fourth industrial revolution. Industries to be impacted will be media as it will change the way how on-demand media is consumed. In the long term, healthcare delivery and services will also see significant change, Singh added.

“5G will change the way information is happening when you have connected buildings, connected roads, connected cars and smart cities and catapult Dubai into a different stage,” he added. “With AI also getting into the picture, it is going to be a game-changer.”

Turgut Erkul, head of networks evolution and transport solutions at Ericsson, said the innovation is coming in three parts — 5G, cloud and IoT. All three will impact different industries.

“Since the world is moving towards full automation with 5G communication, we don’t need lights in factories in future and it will be known as dark factories,” said Erkul. “The could be completely dark and machines will be connected with IoT sensors and they don’t need to see each other. They know where they are and which parts need a calibration and which part needs replacement. This could save a lot of time and production cost in manufacturing.”

Moreover, 5G promises machine-to-machine communication much better than what 4G can do and at more economical rates.

Instead of having separate networks for different sectors such as the police, telcos, public safety and electricity, Erkul said 5G promises to serve all of these industries through one network and without interfering with each other. Critical applications such as autonomous vehicles and remote surgery will demand prioritisation. Erkul said commercial 5G networks are expected to go live next year with data-heavy applications like augmented reality, virtual reality, 4K and 8K video streaming.

According to World Economic Forum, the global economic impact of 5G in new goods and services will reach $12 trillion (Dh44 trillion) by 2035. Erkul said that upgrading from 0.5Mbps to 4Mbps in OECD countries will increase income by around $322 per month and $46 per month in the likes of Brazil, India and China.

“What we need to consider is the business models and how telecom operators are going to make money in this kind of set up. We are in a position that operators do not know how to charge and industries do not know what to ask for.”

Erkul said that 5G is not only about speed but also latency, efficiency, high reliability, the number of connected devices and “network slicing”, which will provide more bandwidth for priority needs.

While 4G offers a latency of 15-20 milliseconds, 5G’s would be one millisecond and benefit verticals such as autonomous vehicles, healthcare, virtual reality and augmented reality. In 5G, data speeds will be 10 to 100 times faster than 4G and can provide up to 10Gbps.

Initially, Erkul said that 5G can provide speeds of about 1.3Gbps, but the current 4G network is also benefiting from 5G development. When 4G was developed, he said even 3G benefited from it. 5G requirements are being finalised, but 4G services will have some benefits.

Even with 4G, more than 1Gbps is available commercially in select countries. “Even 1Gbps is a big speed for consumers and getting beyond that will not be noticeable.”