After much speculation, 5G has finally arrived. Mobile Internet speeds will be faster than we have ever seen, and will usher in a new generation of technology. From the networks to consumers and even the enterprise, 5G will bring in a plethora of changes to our daily lives.
While this update will be game-changing, it likely will not come without a few hiccups. From an enterprise perspective, any change in technology seems costly and intensive. Are the rewards of 5G worth the costs of updating the devices of an enterprise? This is a crucial debate for enterprises across the nation.
Here are a few different considerations for enterprises to be aware of before making a decision with piloting or long-term adoption of 5G:
Protecting the Enterprise
As with any changes in an enterprise, security concerns are paramount. As seen with recent data breaches at Facebook and Toyota, companies need to ensure their devices and data are secured. Faster internet speeds offer increased efficiency to employees but also increased security risks for hackers to exploit. This means enterprises should ramp up their security efforts to ensure all company data remains safe.
With more companies adopting “bring your own device” (BYOD) policies, this has never been more crucial. All devices should be encrypted and have an ability to remote wipe or lock data in the event a compromised device is detected. Mobile applications should also be equipped with multi-authentication features as an extra level of defense. Enterprises must mitigate any risks with the arrival of 5G, so doubling down on mobile security should be a priority.
What 5G Can Bring to the Table
Enterprises from the top down will experience vastly improved data speeds from personnel in the field. This has a direct correlation on video usage as companies who utilize remote training and video conferencing will see sharp increases in speeds and efficiency. Lower latency will create increased capabilities for remote work. Many critical uses cases like manufacturing, healthcare and controlling equipment will now be accessible from anywhere, in real time.
With greater amounts of data quickly obtained and faster mobile computing power, AI could also play a role to assist with more meaningful data consumption. Think of facial recognition or video editing in real time, which is already happening with augmented reality (AR) solutions. The future could also utilize mixed reality (MR), which brings together aspects from augmented and virtual reality (VR). Greater data transfer speeds and computing power will make this a commonality in the near future. The impacts of 5G will give enterprises the power to boost their operations and increase the quality of remote work. The lines will soon start to blur between employees on and off site as productivity will not be limited by location.
Recent information from South Korea, where 5G was first to market and has already been deployed across much of the country, confirms data consumption has tripled for subscribers. New AR/VR services are accounting for 20% of 5G traffic, compared to 5% in the slower data speeds.
What Enterprises Need to Know before Making the Switch
While 5G will provide much faster speeds for the enterprise, this will come at a steep price. From possible new software built to take advantage of the increased bandwidth to redesigned mobile devices with larger screens and state-of-the-art modems designed specifically for this technology, the upfront costs are substantial.
The US telecom operators are already in the race to provide 5G services across the country. Most of them already have limited functionality in specific cities. As they all expand the services, they are also announcing sales of new devices that support 5G bands and data speeds. A critical component of their 5G deployment going forward will be the back-haul high-speed Internet connectivity. Without this crucial backbone, the data speeds will only be as fast as your local tower can output to your device.
Enterprises can execute pilots today in the limited cities as the devices are made available. This can make clear possible current costs, processes and business needs where 5G could play a role. Over time, this will not only impact mobile handsets, but any communication from laptops, tablets and possible IoT devices.
Overall, 5G will bring rapid change to the enterprise and increase all operations with lower latency and increased bandwidth. An uptick in video applications gives new life to remote work and training and can help companies become more agile with their workforces. It remains to be seen how realistic it is for enterprises to adopt 5G right away, but the benefits of doing so are clear.
Guest Contributor: Marco Nielsen is VP of Managed Mobility Services at Stratix with more than 20 years of cross-functional experience in systems architecture, operating systems, hardware and communications for large enterprises.