by Bob Everson, Global Director of Mobility and 5G, Cisco
The first 5G launches came earlier than expected in 2019, most notably in South Korea and the USA. While South Korea was a more broad-scale launch, the introductions in the US were limited, with sparse availability. These restricted initial releases, unfortunately, created a lot of noise around what 5G is and whether it has any value. In 2020, we get to stop arguing about whether it’s here, and actually experience what it can do in many markets. The spectrum that is enabled for 5G, and device availability are the two most critical factors that determine user experience. 2020 will see significant 5G deployments across low, mid, and high bands; and many more devices released. The latest GSA statistics show 183 5G devices have been announced, with 42 currently available – that number will ramp up in 2020 as new 5G chipsets become available, allowing for broader and richer capabilities.
While consumers are having fun with the faster download speeds and richer offerings enabled by 5G, enterprises will move forward to leverage 5G connectivity as a strategic asset in their portfolio. This will begin with mobile users leveraging it for things like enhanced real-time collaboration plus WAN connectivity for branch offices and will rapidly expand beyond that. The broader availability will allow for development and testing of numerous use cases in verticals like healthcare, transportation, and manufacturing; the first of these will be deployed in the latter half of 2020.
Health services outside of the hospital
Healthcare is one specific industry where we’ll see quicker adoption of 5G. Consistent, low-latency connections will allow richer medical services to extend beyond the walls of hospitals – to homes and remote locations. In emergency situations, transportation from home to hospital may not even be necessary due to enhanced communication between paramedics and hospital personnel. They will be able to connect with doctors from around the world over a reliable and fast connection in seconds, to provide on-the-spot care.
Next decade of frictionless, mobile connectivity
As 5G moves forward, consumers and enterprises alike will witness how frictionless mobile connectivity will be. Users won’t have to question connectivity, because connectivity will simply be omnipresent. The combination of 5G and WiFi 6 will provide fast, low-latency connections anywhere a user is with no need for manual network selection or authentication. Key innovations are being developed and deployed to enhance this such as Open-Roaming on WiFi and Mobile SD-WAN. Over the next 5 years this new era of connectivity will be a catalyst for major improvements in productivity and widespread innovation. The increased speed, capacity, and availability enabled by 5G and WiFi 6 will create a richer platform for innovation and we’ll see entirely new business models develop by leveraging these capabilities.