IoT devices will generate over 50% of the world’s data by 2025, according to IDC’s research. Efficiently transmitting, collecting, and realizing the potential of that data will demand far more capacity than the 4G mobile network can get. 5G, on the other hand, will eventually be able to provide for 1000x greater capacity than its predecessor, so it’s a big promise for connecting more “things.” In our previous post on 5G, where we defined the technology and looked through its main features, we have already mentioned that 5G will open new horizons for the Internet of Things. But how exactly will the new generation of mobile networks boost IoT? What are the benefits for businesses and practical use cases? Let’s dive right into it.
First of all, let’s define IoT. Simply put, the Internet of Things refers to a network of connected computing devices, machines, objects, or even animals and humans. Those are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) as well as the ability to transfer data over a network without any human-to-computer or human-to-human interaction.
In the internet of things, a thing can be, for instance, an automobile with built-in sensors to alert the driver once tire pressure becomes low, a farm animal with some biochip transponder, or any human-made object with an IP address that is able to transfer data over a network.
When coined in 1999, the term “Internet of Things” was largely conceptual as the speed of the Internet was not fast enough to support it. Two decades later, however, IoT relies on quite fast speeds and can support a number of devices. 5G, the fifth-generation mobile network, promises to provide for even higher speed, thus allowing to connect many more things while also decreasing inefficiencies.
Currently, 4G modules are quite expensive and power-consuming and demand sophisticated service plans. A large swath of the IoT has stuck with Wi-Fi and other home technologies for users, or 2G for enterprises. 5G, however, will accept small-sized, cost-efficient, and low-power devices – it will connect a large amount of smaller objects and various kinds of ambient sensors to the Internet.
The first benefit of pairing 5G and IoT is shared data. The new generation of mobile networks will help to connect a lot more IoT devices throughout the networks, and this, in turn, will enable businesses to collect and act on a much greater amount of data that was previously untapped.
Secondly, it will significantly benefit computer vision. Together with connected cameras, 5G will give IoT devices vision-based inference and intelligence, thus creating opportunities for productive manufacturing and safer cities.
Thirdly, 5G will allow for real-time optimization by tieing IoT, cloud, and edge together. Distributing computing resources will help to meet demand and enable time-sensitive IoT applications to constantly optimize.
5G in itself will significantly boost enterprises by supporting connections across industries as well as digitalization.
1. Retail. IoT and 5G will provide retailers with enhanced security, instant inventory updates, and pleasant shopping experiences without any checkout lines. It may well be the case that stores will become cashierless – the items in your cart will be automatically tracked.
2. Manufacturing. 5G and IoT will give manufacturing machines the ability to monitor the supply chain, streamline processes, free workers from repetitive tasks, and calibrate equipment. Industrial processes will be analyzed with an unprecedented degree of precision, downtime minimized, and costs more controlled by the management.
3. Agriculture and farming. 5G technology will widen the horizons of business opportunities for farming and agriculture boosting connected farms and precision agriculture. Soon we may witness an increasing adaptation of health monitoring for livestock – it will allow for reduced use of antibiotics and thus help to avoid compromising the food supply safety. In agriculture, with fast and precise data from sensors in fields, farmers would be able to easily identify which areas require pest management, need water, or have a disease.
4. Connected healthcare. 5G-powered IoT will pave the way for efficient diagnostic imaging technology to leverage cloud analysis and powerful computer vision to improve healthcare. Patients and doctors will be able to be connected seamlessly. For example, a wearable device could alert doctors when a patient is experiencing dangerous symptoms – healthcare providers may be ready for an incoming patient, while also having a complete record of his data.
5. Smart cities. 5G will greatly benefit smart cities by continuously connecting traffic systems, municipal services, first responders, and transit IoT devices. This will provide for better service, lower energy usage, and higher residents’ satisfaction.
6. And a lot more! Although there are already a lot of industries implementing IoT (even without 5G), there is still much to be discovered – the scope of implementation is truly limitless.
To sum up, as hardware goes on with its relentless march toward miniaturization, 5G is a perfect match and indeed a big promise for IoT. The fifth-generation mobile network is meant to foster extremely lean and low-cost connectivity solutions in various industries – from manufacturing and retail to connected healthcare and smart cities. The future of 5G is still being written, and at Idealogic, we believe that 5G-boosted IoT will provide for significant value and are looking toward the future of its global implementation!