Predictions: 5G Will Support “Hundreds of Thousands” of Devices


Mobile World Congress

Earlier this month, tech and telecommunications companies met at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain to show off their plans for 5G, reported AdWeek. The exponentially faster data processing and media downloads this next-generation wireless affords, will enable self-driving cars, the Internet of Things (IoT) and more.

While widespread availability of 5G won’t come until at least 2020, cities like New York, Las Vegas, Sacramento, and Atlanta will get a chance to preview Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint’s 5G networks this year.

According to Mark Hung, an analyst at Gartner, even though towers today can support hundreds or thousands of devices, 5G could help scale the Internet of Things from “hundreds and thousands to hundreds of thousands.” 

There are several factors 5G is slated to transform in cities over the next few years, including infrastructure, public events, and traffic. One benefit 5G will have on infrastructure is gathering data from buildings, helping cities understand patterns in electricity usage, leading to lower power consumption across the grid. The financial impact into these insights will vary depending on the size of the city; a city with a population of 30,000 could see a $10 million impact, while a major metro area’s economic impact is estimated closer to $5 billion.

Where public events are concerned, Verizon is placing 5G in stadiums this year and could expand to airports, convention centers, and other venues, according to Verizon’s VP for smart communities, Lani Ingram. “The amount of usage of data during sporting events and concerts is only growing,” she said. “We see that every year during the Super Bowl, for example.”

5G’s impact on traffic comes in the form of allowing for smart traffic lights, which connect with self-driving cars on the road to enable them to continuously “see” surroundings, improve safety for pedestrians, and allow ambulances to change traffic lights faster.

Carnegie Mellon University tested the use of smart traffic lights and saw a 40 percent reduction in vehicle wait time, a 26 percent faster commute and a 21 percent decrease in vehicle emissions, reported AdWeek.

Jane Rygaard, head of 5G marketing at Nokia, added, “We see more and more of our customers linking smart city and safe city. It will improve their daily lives—whether that’s through safety, energy or countless other ways.”

March 13, 2018      

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