The number of IoT devices is expected to reach 75 billion by 2025. This ever-growing number of smart devices requires a fast communication protocol to improve the efficiency of the IoT ecosystem. 5G is the fifth generation of cellular networks, claimed to be capable of downloading 10 gigabytes per second, up to 100 times faster than the 4G network, that can enable consistent connectivity for smart devices.
In this article, we will look at why 5G is important for IoT, what benefits it offers, and look at some use cases.
Why is 5G important for IoT?
There has been a growing interest in the idea of 5G-IoT communication (Figure 1). That may be due to the following factors:
- Low latency makes for a constant and wide-ranged monitoring.
- 5G allows for the simultaneous connection of multiple devices to the same network.
- Providers claim that, at a minimum, 5G allows for the connection of 1 million devices simultaneously for every square kilometer. This has potential for a distributed coordination amongst robots, actuators, and drones in an IoT ecosystem.
- 5G will lead to lower costs across some industries:
- Education is already expected to have a 12% increase in IoT expenditure. Universities and colleges are migrating their infrastructure online, trying to bring the classroom experience to the student’s room by a faster and more consistent connection.
- Because the majority of education is estimated to go digital, students’ tuition should decrease, as they will, theoretically, no longer be asked to finance dining halls, rec-centers, shuttle services, etc.
- Food and grocery deliveries will be more efficient and faster. Amazon has already started drone-delivery of goods. These remotely-controlled drones should be able to cover a wider radius with a 5G network.
- Delivery systems of this nature will reduce cost as they are scalable, where not only is it possible to integrate additional drones into an established infrastructure, but it would also be cheaper than hiring labor.
- Lastly, because drones are exhaust-free, they could be more environment-friendly than delivery guys in cars or on motorbikes.
- With that being said, remote delivery systems are not without any emissions, as powering devices’ batteries and keeping the cloud computing systems running round-the-clock uses a lot of energy, which translates to heat, which then causes a rise in temperature. We have an article that discusses the environmental concerns regarding IoT cloud.
What are the use cases of 5G IoT integration?
Some of the use cases of 5G in IoT include:
1. Research and development
5G connectivity can now allow manufacturers to produce a host of new connected products and services that were unavailable before.
For example, locational virtual reality apps (e.g. Google maps) could offer a more immersive experience by being connected to a host of devices on the street (i.e. street lamps, parking meters, street signs, etc.) transferring real-time images to your VR device. You would no longer be “put” on a cardboard-looking street, but rather see a realistic, live version of it.
2. Smart cities
5G and IoT networks can enhance the welfare of citizens. A relatable scenario could be improved traffic management.
Using the long bandwidth that 5G offers, complementary with more sensors and smart devices could make traffic management more proactive. For instance, before rush hours, traffic lights can preemptively cycle in a way to avoid bumper-to-bumper congestion.
A 5G-powered IoT ecosystem could reduce the number of driving accidents and fatalities.
The real-life location of the closest pedestrians to a moving vehicle could be shown on the car’s radar, hence alerting the driver of blind spots. This is particularly useful for situations when a kid, who is not in the driver’s field of vision because of, say, height, suddenly decides to run across the street. Having preemptive knowledge of the kid’s (or any pedestrian’s) presence in the area, the driver will at least be in a better position to react, even if not to completely avoid the hazard.
IoT in healthcare already exists. But coupled with a 5G connectivity, a growing number of patients will have better and more efficient access to IoT-connected wearable devices, which facilitates the sharing of their data with their physicians regardless of either one’s location.
In addition, remote surgery could also be a possibility, with surgeons remotely directing a robot in real-time to perform delicate surgeries on-premise.
For more on IoT
To learn more about the internet of things:
- The Ultimate Guide to Internet of Everything (IoE)
- In-Depth Guide to IoT Monitoring: Pros, Cons, & Importance
- A Deep Dive into IoT Architecture & Top 10 Components
Finally, If you believe your business will benefit from an IoT solution, feel free to check our data-driven hub of IoT solutions and tools.
And we can guide you through the process:
Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.
Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.
Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.
He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.
Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.
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