The term "5G" refers to the fifth-generation wireless broadband technology based on the 802.11ac standard. The packet of technology will bring speed and coverage improvements from 4G, with low-latency wireless up to 1GB/s, and it'll spur a host of new opportunities for enterprises and workplace productivity.
In a panel discussion at CES, a trio of executives from Qualcomm, Ericsson, and Nokia discussed how 5G could transform industries ranging from transportation to manufacturing.
"5G is a departure in terms of network architecture," said Chris Stark, chief business development officer at Nokia. "Part of what this is about is creating new opportunities. We will see more functionality at the edge, with massive speeds, low latency and a large number of connectivity points."
As 5G technology matures and processing moves to the edge of the network, experts anticipate not only a bevy of new services but also device improvements thanks to the reduction of power consumption.
"On device side, there's power consumption tied up in the sending and processing of data," said Erik Ekudden, CTO and head of technology and architecture for Ericsson. "When you get lower latency it allows you to consider the border, and new services can exist now that they can leverage edge computing with reliable radio length."
In terms of industry impact, transportation, automotive, and smart city are considered among some of the more obvious places where 5G's network improvements will be most noticeable. Smart transportation is already a thing, but 5G has the potential to increase safety and computer vision systems with connectivity that's highly reliable and secure. With smart city applications, 5G can be applied to traffic management systems and to improve efficiency in electrical grids.