BARCELONA — MWC has come and gone. Amidst all the chatter, exhibitions, and panel sessions, one thing is crystal clear: the real star of this year’s show is 5G, a network technology that will make data communication significantly faster than its predecessor (4G).
With high speed and latency, it’s predicted there will be 1.1 billion 5G connections by 2025. The hope is that 5G will not only enable telecommunications providers to improve better customer experiences and increase revenue, but it will also have a positive impact on economies and societies. More specifically, telecommunications providers, phone makers and government bodies are all pinning their hopes on 5G — seeing it as a critical component in achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Agenda by 2030.
This is further supported by a survey from UK telecoms provider O2, which found that 5G coverage would directly contribute an additional £7 billion a year to Britain’s economy by 2026. The survey also found that the economic impact will be felt almost twice as quickly as that of fiber broadband.
During the keynote session on Monday morning, top executives from Telefonica, SoftBank, KT Corporation, and Bharti Airtel each professed their vision for 5G to transform their businesses and their customers’ lives. But one speaker, in particular, stood out to me. It was Chang-Gyu Hwang, Chairman and CEO of Korea Telecom (KT) Corporation, the largest integrated telecommunications and media company in Korea.
Similar to what many industry experts and telecommunications providers have previously professed, 5G delivers greater speed, connectivity and capacity. But he added one additional benefit that many others haven’t considered or addressed – intelligence. For KT Corporation, this “intelligence” boils down to three things – location intelligence, network security intelligence, and orchestration.
While this might seem ambitious and unrealistic to some, I think KT Corporation is ahead of the curve and isn’t solely focused on using technology to increase its business growth and revenue. Rather, it’s looking at 5G – and the increased speed and latency it delivers – as a prime opportunity to improve the lives of people. With its KT Giga 3D Locator, for example, KT Corporation is using location intelligence to reduce the location error from 10 meters (outdoors) and 30 meters (indoors) to less than a one-meter radius. While this will surely make people happier and more efficient in their everyday lives, it serves a greater purpose. As KT Corporation’s Hwang explained, emergency services (e.g. ambulances, police, etc.) could immediately detect the floor a caller is calling from and, in the process, potentially save more lives.
It’s refreshing and inspiring to hear a telecommunications provider thinking of and leveraging 5G to do more than bolster its bottom line and do good in society. That’s the true power of mobile connectivity.
Pat Clawson is CEO of Blancco Technology Group.