5G is here. There are working 5G chipsets, modems and now devices. It’s going to be the next paradigm shift for technology and the way we live our lives. The economic and societal benefits will enable a revolutionary level of service, with connectivity that will create entirely new business models, increase productivity and allow new industries to emerge.
The inherent strength of 5G is that it’s a platform that can handle a diverse set of services. The opportunities are infinite, and as such, it is hard for many to understand the various options for new business models. It will be a whole new ecosystem. But because Qualcomm has so many different partner businesses, I’ve been able to see first-hand the types of innovations they are working on.
The sectors most likely to see a new wave of inventions
Automotive. The automotive sector is going to benefit from enhanced mobile broadband. Everything from autonomous vehicles to ultra-low cost sensors will allow for new kinds of fleet management and vehicular improvements driven by connectivity, high-performance computing, and AI. Vehicles are increasingly going to be able to connect with everything around them, whether that’s other vehicles, people, infrastructure, or networks. Cars will know where everything is around them, and this can make our roads more connected, as well as safer.
Manufacturing. 5G will reconfigure factories, enable mobile robots and automated guided vehicles, and connect moving parts, allowing for scale to more devices and lower maintenance costs. The Industrial IoT will connect machines and devices to each other in a high-stakes game, where system failures and downtime are not an option. 5G will deliver true Industry 4.0.
It’s the reliability and latency of 5G that will be game-changing here. When connective technology has earned the trust of people who will sign off on its deployment in multimillion-dollar manufacturing plants, innovation will really begin.
Wearables. “Extended reality” (XR) is an umbrella term encapsulating augmented reality, virtual reality, and everything in between. Although a lot of this technology already exists, it’s going to get better with 5G.
5G will see the convergence of the smartphone, mobile VR headset, and AR glasses into a single extended reality wearable. Extended reality has the potential to become one of the world’s most ubiquitous and disruptive computing platforms — similar to the smartphone today.
Financial rewards for the mobile value chain
The 5G mobile value chain alone could generate up to $3.5 trillion in revenue in 2035. It’s going to enable a broad set of industries driven by goods and services and will contribute to real global GDP growth. So betting on the telecoms sector as a subset of the broader technology sector to do well in the coming years would be smart.
Currently the biggest challenge the mobile value chain has to solve if it is to truly maximize these returns is communicating what 5G is actually going to look like for businesses and consumers. Conversations so far appear fixated on how quickly we might be able to download movies in 4K. 5G is so much more than this, and the mobile sector needs to accurately communicate the options available across all industries.
Enrico Salvatori is SVP and President of EMEA at Qualcomm.