In this second industry round table from Future (opens in new tab) - the leading consumer and B2B publisher - Experts from across the technology sector sat down to discuss where they see the key benefits and use cases emerging for 5G technology over the next 12-24 months.
The march continues
The march towards 5G connectivity has been accompanied by reports of speeds up to 8x faster than what you can currently achieve via 4G (with close to zero latency when compared to LTE). But will this be enough to engage consumers and businesses alike?
In this round table we move beyond the core 5G headlines, and discuss how these benefits will empower businesses and individuals to achieve more over the next two years. And we look at the potential 5G uses cases, and what form they might take.
Topics covered in the discussion included the impact of IoT, future proofing, the changes 5G could make on health care, the difficulty in marketing 5G, VR and AR, and connected devices.
Joining Future executives to talk about the next steps for 5G were:
- Pierre Coppin, Marketing Director at Sky
- Richard Baxendale, Managing Director (Mobile) at AO
- Robert Pryke, Co Founder and CEO of AGM Mobile Devices Europe
- Brendan O’Reilly, Chief Technology Officer at O2
- Darren King, Head of Business Development at Three
- Ronnie Burnett, Director at 3itee
- Christian McBride, Co-Founder and CEO of Genuine Solutions Group PLC
Below, we’ve collected some of the key responses from our panel discussion, which provides an insightful snapshot of the current state of 5G, and highlights some of the major use cases and benefits that 5G will enable over the next 12-24 months.
Brendan O’Reilly, Chief Technology Officer at O2
Brendan O’Reilly, Chief Technology Officer at O2, believes that future proofing and IOT will be key elements in the adoption of 5G.
“I think you have got to take 5G and the benefits in two tranches. The benefits you are gonna get immediately are future proofing, something Samsung has already talked about. Whether that is from a speed point of view, or a device point of view. Also, 5G networks are becoming more secure and more reliable. These are obvious, tangible benefits. I think the benefit for the consumer also comes from how we use standalone 5G and IoT. There are big benefits for business, too, as 5G enables businesses to become more efficient, and deliver services in a more efficient way. Consumers will get those early direct benefits, but will also see indirect benefits that we are currently a few years away from, but which will fundamentally change the way we live and work.”
Darren King, Head of Business Development at Three
Darren King, Head of Business Development at Three, sees the ability to deliver high bandwidth applications as always-on services being key.
“If you look at what we are seeing in particular with IoT in B2B, we are already seeing many more high throughput applications within the mobile space. Also, 5G will enable the provision of high-speed mobile to urban areas, especially new housing projects. But there are other areas where you will see a huge demand for 5G, such as utilities providers, who just need to be connected everywhere; they need it underground, in trucks, and they need that data and insight available wherever they are.”
Ronnie Burnett, Director at 3itee
Ronnie Burnett, Director at 3itee, believes that 5G will have a lasting impact on how health provision is delivered in the UK and beyond, with telemedicine and smart monitoring coming to the fore.
“I see some huge benefits of 5G, particularly in the health sector. I see a context where you can have medical trials, and evaluations, whilst at the same time working with partners collaboratively. In a utopian world, the idea that I can sit in my living room with some kind of monitoring device on me, have a screen in front of me where I can interact with a doctor, with the doctor essentially being able to have a conversation with my body, in terms of monitoring and IoT. And if that is also driving down costs for the NHS, whilst increasing convenience and patient outcomes, then it has to be a good thing.”
Pierre Coppin, Marketing Director at Sky
Pierre Coppin, Marketing Director at Sky, believes that 5G will open up a new world of use cases. And although VR technology isn’t there just yet, he says there is huge potential in this area, especially for entertainment.
“It helps us [at Sky] that we have customers that really value content, and using 5G and other technologies we can engage more with them, and bring the content and connectivity together. And although 5G is going to play a vital role in opening up new possibilities, like VR, that technology isn’t quite ready yet. I have a feeling that these next generation use cases for 5G are maybe a year, two years down the line; at which point VR headsets and glasses will have improved further, too. I could see myself a few years down the line, wearing a VR headset or glasses for an hour and a half to watch a football game, but at the moment it’s not there yet. But we’ve got all the ingredients in place.”
Richard Baxendale, MD (Mobile) at AO
Richard Baxendale, Managing Director (Mobile) at AO, is looking beyond entertainment for potential 5G use cases, and focusing on areas such as improved efficiency, and a better user experience for customers.
“I was having a call with our MD about our delivery set up the other day. We have about 700 trucks on the road, all day, everyday, delivering to postcodes around the UK. One of the things he’s really excited about is what 5G could enable, in terms of smart routing. He doesn’t envisage a world where our 700 vans are autonomous, but the idea that we can build intelligence into delivery systems systems, from cutting carbon emissions, to cutting costs, is appealing. And we can provide more accurate data to customers, so rather than two hour delivery slot, we could narrow it down to 30 minutes. This not only makes life easier for customers, but it also has environmental benefits, and drives efficiency cost saving for a business like ours.”
Robert Pryke, CEO at AGM Mobile Devices Europe
Robert Pryke, Co Founder and CEO of AGM Mobile Devices Europe, sees an historical comparison between what will happen with 5G, and how Apple was able to dominate the smartphone market for almost a decade.
“What Apple did was so clever. When Apple launched the iPhone, it took a load of things that we already did, using technology that was already out there, and it put an experience layer on top of that. And everyone thought ‘Wow! Apple has created something really special’. So I think we have to get to a point where, if we are going take people’s money, we have to be talking about more than just speed. Why do I need 5G, and to spend more money on a handset? It goes fast enough for me, I can watch a video, I can play a game, so why upgrade? The challenge is to deliver it in a way that improves the overall experience in a way that excites people.”
Christian McBride, CEO at Genuine Solutions Group
Christian McBride, Co-Founder and CEO of Genuine Solutions Group PLC, is particularly excited about educating businesses about new ways to use emerging technologies such as 5G.
“We started life as a traditional distributor, but we have very much grown into a business focused on recycling and recovering products. For us, there’s a really exciting journey ahead, as education takes place, and technology continues to evolve. We are already talking about how technology can enable us to gain more insight and data on the amount of units in the marketplace, for example. For us we are excited about the opportunity to better recover those products. An important part of this puzzle will be AI, and to work effectively with the volume of data we’ll be looking at, the high throughput and low latency of 5G technology will be a vital ingredient.”
To keep up-to-date with the latest views from the world's leading experts on 5G, don't forget to check out our Insight section.