World Economic Forum: 5G is all about ‘real-time remote control at scale’
Latency improvements of 5G and proliferation of the IoT will be disruptive to industries
Autonomous fleet control, remote health monitoring, smart traffic control and the use of digital twins for smart buildings are all among the applications called out by Derek O’Halloran, the World Economic Forums’ head of digital economy and new value creation, in blog posted ahead of the event this week in Davos, Switzerland.
All of these use cases sit at the intersection of 5G and the internet of things. 5G will provide a highly-reliable communications mechanism for a variety of IoT devices that need not just reliability but also a variable set of throughput and latency profiles depending on the application. For instance, an HD security camera streaming real time video needs significantly more network resources than a connected water meter that sends out a status update once an hour.
As these technologies become more widely available and deployed at scale, O’Halloran calls out one primary challenge as “develop[ing] the business and operating models to succeed in a world of ever-present intelligence. The central issue collaboration.” He calls for business to move towards “a partnership-first model, often collaborating with companies from other industries, as well as a broader and richer set of SMEs, civil agencies and government.”
Ericsson’s Asa Tamsons, SVP and head of business area technologies and new business, wrote a blog ahead of the WEF looking at the intersection of 5G, IOT and other supporting technologies, as key future drivers of the digital economy and also contributors to corporate and civic sustainability.
Tamsons projected that there will be 2.6 billion 5G subscriptions and 5 billion cellular IoT connections by the end of 2025. Citing McKinsey research, she wrote, “If policy-makers and businesses get it right, the economic value to be generated by IoT globally could generate between $3.9 trillion and $11.1 trillion a year by 2025. Combine IoT with edge computing, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and “5G is powering the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the same way that steam, electricity and silicon powered the previous three.”
At the heart of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the digital transformation initiative associated with it is the notion of real-time as referenced by O’Halloran. “The real-time and detailed intelligence that will be enabled by ever-present sensors is expected to have significant environmental and social benefits. Such sensors will enable the circular economy and lead to improved traceability of materials. It will even advance our understanding of complex natural weather and related ecosystems.”