The recent 2022 spectrum auction (which we summarised in this previous post) has meant that South Africa’s mobile operators are now able to take advantage of next-generation technologies, including 5G.
Unsurprisingly, there’s been a significant amount of hype around the exciting prospects of 5G Connectivity. With increased speed and reliable mobility, to name just two benefits, businesses of all sizes, across a variety of industries, will be in a position to leverage new, exciting opportunities.
We’re going to unpack the benefits of 5G Connectivity and how businesses can use these to transform the way they operate to become more resilient, efficient, competitive, and profitable.
What Is 5G?
Before we talk about what 5G Connectivity can do, let’s talk about what it is.
5G stands for ‘fifth generation’ and it represents the latest advances in mobile cellular technology. Essentially, 1G enabled our mobile phones to simply exist and 2G allowed for texting, while 3G went a whole step forward and enabled smartphones. 4G LTE, which is what we’re all familiar with, is the technology used for streaming.
5G represents the culmination of all these benefits (plus WiFi and wired functionality) into a single platform, but at lightning fast speeds – allowing more information to be carried at a lower cost.
Which Businesses Can Benefit From 5G?
Regardless of business size and type, 5G is an absolute game changer and likely to disrupt most industries. From our vantage point, we’re already predicting that these 5 industries will be irrevocably changed as a result of 5G.
1. Manufacturing: Not only will the lower latency and higher bandwidth power support the use of sustained augmented reality (AR) in training, maintenance, repairs, and safety, but it should enable the rise of ‘smart factories’ by unlocking further automation, AI, and IoT.
2. Insurance: Increased volumes of more accurate data will further personalise insurance policies, premiums, and incentives for customers.
3. Agriculture: Farmers can use real-time information and IoT technology (enhanced by 5G) to observe, optimise, and automate workflows, like water management, livestock safety, maturity monitoring, and crop management.
4. Supply Chain Management: IoT together with 5G-enabled technology will provide an increase in more accurate, detailed data that can be used to increase production, streamline logistical workflows, and reduce costs.
5. Transportation: We should see a complete change in the manner in which individuals and goods travel through 5G-enabled vehicle-to-vehicle communications, as well as increased visibility and control over transportation networks.
The Transportation Industry: A Key Example
There’s no doubt that 5G technology will greatly impact multiple industries and give all kinds of businesses access to benefits that can be reaped in the real world. Perhaps the greatest example of this is the transportation industry.
For example, 5G-enabled technology will vastly improve transport management systems (TMS), giving fleet managers the benefit of enhanced vehicle-to-vehicle communications, increased visibility on their mobile assets through AR applications, more control over transportation networks, and access to more accurate, real-time data.
Not only will this minimise supply chain risks by leveraging connectivity in rural areas, but managers can better plan their fleet management activities, monitor the condition of each vehicle’s condition and performance, review availability and avoid unexpected breakdowns.
Additionally, with larger volumes of information at their fingertips, fleet management companies can identify patterns of mistakes and make better future decisions, like opting for better routes that result in optimised fuel consumption and reduced environmental impact.
4 Ways SMEs Can Benefit From 5G
The promise for small-to-medium businesses is that they can use 5G to become more efficient and productive, reduce costs, and increase revenue.
The key features of 5G that will facilitate these benefits include higher speeds (we’re talking 100 times faster than 4G), lower latency which means significantly less lag, increased capacity so the network can cope better with many simultaneous bandwidth demanding apps, reliability (think fewer dropped calls), and flexibility so that you can address employee and customers needs in a more responsive and agile way.
More specifically, we are excited about these 4 benefits that 5G unlocks for small-to-medium businesses.
1. Remote Working – It’s not a new concept, but the extra capacity provided by 5G allows more employees (especially in more rural areas) to work remotely, which increases motivation and productivity, better work-life balance, reduces turnover, and also enables businesses to try out new markets by being able to set up closer to a new target customer base or location.
2. IoT – There are a wide variety of applications now available that 5G technology supports, but more importantly, we think that through 5G technology, IoT will enable tracking, monitoring, managing, optimising, and communication of numerous devices to core public and private systems.
3. AR/VR – Lower latency, increased speeds, and more reliability means that 5G will unlock VR and AR applications for small businesses. Think of hairdressers, fashion retailers, architects, and interior designers who can all leverage this technology to help clients visualise the final product.
4. Rural Innovation – Just think of what improved connectivity for rural communities will unlock, giving more people the opportunity to start, operate, and grow businesses in rural locations with lower costs.
5G is clearly an exciting innovation that is all but guaranteed to transform how businesses move into the future, however we are eager to talk to you about how 5G has the power to revolutionise your business in particular.
Connect with us today.