5G infrastructure will not only facilitate smart technology, autonomy, smart cities, robotic surgery, and other breakthroughs; they also represent the highest and best use-cases. Mobile phones represent the lowest potential use case for 5G — or the metaphorical “lowest hanging fruit.” The real potential of high-speed 5G will be technologies that specifically require high speed and bandwidth.
Although driverless cars are still in the early stages of testing, early results indicate that one single vehicle would consume as much daily data as 30,000 smartphones. To enable driverless cars on busy roads would require high speeds, reliable connections, and minimal lag time. Ultimately, as infrastructure develops, the vehicle may need to communicate with other vehicles, embedded road sensors, smart bridges, traffic lights, and more to provide a safe and consistent performance.
Smart drones used by police, border patrol, Homeland Security, military, and — ultimately — even private citizens will require fast connections. Commercial drones, such as Amazon’s planned drone delivery system, will rely on a fast 5G connection to facilitate the delivery of packages straight to a customer’s doorstep.
The idea of robots conducting surgery is by no means new, but up until this point, the surgeons operating the robots sat in the same or an adjoining room. 5G will allow remote surgeries to take place even when the surgeon is thousands of miles away. One particularly useful application of this would be in dangerous warzones.
5G-enabled holographic and haptic tech may ultimately mean people no longer need actually to travel to their place of work. Working remotely from home could be taken to a new level as 5G connections may allow for a virtual reality-style workplace.
Thanks to 5G, cities will now likely invest more and more in smart technology to provide real-time data. Using sensors to monitor traffic, weather, public transport, snow removal, traffic lights, and much more can be used to deliver targeted and efficient city services.
With higher-speed networks, manufacturers will be able to monitor all aspects of the production line with real-time data. This will cut down on malfunctions, delays, and inefficiencies.
From forecasting the weather to monitoring crop conditions, 5G may allow farmers to reduce crop or livestock losses. Ultimately, some degree of smart-farming may even become possible
By the year 2020, augmented reality will be a $100 billion industry. Although AR is typically associated with gaming, it can also facilitate other forms of entertainment, education, tourism, and surgical tools.
Smart home tech
5G’s ability to connect numerous devices simultaneously around the home will bring with it the paradigm shift to interconnected smart homes. This will go beyond simply connecting lighting, heating, cameras, and smart fridges remotely; it will bring new capabilities, including things such as diagnostic toothbrushes or toilets — that can tell you when you’re running a temperature.