5G is the New Revenant
It is the constant misunderstanding of the nature of each new wave of automation that stops us from getting the full value out of it. Paul Carter, CEO of Global Wireless Solutions has witnessed this happening on the mobile phone side of the comms business. Both providers and consumers endlessly struggle to understand each other. Users don’t understand what their options are and the suppliers don’t anticipate the tastes of their customers. “We’d run survey after survey which never got close to getting under the skin of the customers,” says Carter
“Unless there is wider appreciation of 5G networks, we are never going to realise the full potential this technology can unlock for the IoT”Paul Carter
The leap in complexity from 4G to 5G isn’t reflected in the name. It should really be called Five Six and Seven G, so significant is the advance in all directions.
Not just about speed
As a result of this underestimation of 5G, people will assume it’s just about delivering more speed. If the non-technical people who sign off on projects don’t understand the product, they are less likely to exercise the full range of options open to them.
This is unfortunate given that we are moving to an IoT world, where machine-to-machine transactions give the consumer so many more options. We could, in theory, be able to influence the environment.
But instead, the applications they demand will only scratch the surface of what is possible.
“We try to ask the users what matters to them and whether they understand the environment, and the possibilities,” says Carter.
The possibilities are always a sticking point. When Carter was new to the industry, British TV programs like Tomorrow’s World had been reporting on new mobile phone technology. The conclusions of the telly ‘futurists’ were always that, ‘it works, but nobody would be able to use it because the British government had no plans to release the airwaves’.
This (ultimately) incorrect prediction mattered because spectrum was made available for mobile phones and just a few years later, in 1985, the first UK wireless network was launched.
The point being that developers all over the world will need popular backing for their proposals to work – if they involve the public, that is.
Lower power, longer life
The largely unreported beauty of 5G is that it allows for IoT devices to function on lower power for much longer. That’s a revelation that won’t get lay audiences or boards of directors leaping out of their seats punching the air unless you can put it into a context they will understand. However, it’s the key asset that could help us use IoT over 5G so that we can get better data, change the way we interpret, make better decisions and control all the elements in our environment and ultimately our lives, says Carter.
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