The new 5G mobile communications standard has somewhat stalled around the world since the arrest of the Huawei Chief Financial Officer, Meng Wanzhou, in Vancouver in December 2018. The Chinese technology group is considered to be the world leader in the development of this technology. A ban on the use of Huawei technology in carrier networks – as demanded by the Trump government – would therefore give other market players an edge but would slow down the rollout process.
With or without Huawei components, the current disputes are very unlikely to change the fact that 5G will be introduced as the new standard over the next few years and will gradually replace LTE/4G. The associated figures are impressive. Compared to LTE, 5G is designed to offer a data rate that is one hundred times higher. This is in addition to an increase in network capacity by a factor of 1000, the possibility of reaching more than 100 billion transmitters worldwide at the same time, a drastic decrease in power consumption of up to 90% and finally extremely fast response times, where required.
In particular for industrial applications and large-scale collection, transmission and processing of large quantities of data, 5G therefore offers optimum conditions for easy networking and connecting a wide range of devices without investment in local infrastructure, provided that there is a transmitter mast in range.
The technical innovations that 5G will entail can be summarised as an exponential increase in connectivity, extremely fast connections and ever faster data rates paired with a significant decrease in energy requirements. For these reasons, the new standard is also establishing itself as a competitor to WLAN infrastructure, which will, at some point, be more expensive and which companies have to establish themselves internally.
New application scenarios for companies
With these kinds of performance parameters, we can safely assume that the technology will not only be used to improve the use of smartphones. It will result in completely new application scenarios for companies, in particular in terms of direct communication between devices. With this kind of machine-to-machine communication, it is possible to imagine implementing and networking all conceivable devices, products and machines for applications within companies and in people’s private lives.
Soon virtual and augmented reality will be used not only for product presentations, maintenance operations, work simulations and learning opportunities, but also, for example, as a marketing tool, for the medical treatment of diseases, in product development, as meeting rooms and for the remote control of machines.
Easily established, extensive traffic control systems for whole cities as well as global control of production facilities will also be possible. Recording and analysing data from a wide range of sources and from various systems and linking this data, for example, with geological, sociological, climatological or commercial/economic information will open up new dimensions.
However, in order for these developments to take place, all these heterogeneous systems must speak the same language. Or it must be possible to translate their language based on global standards. While everyone is talking about the motorways on which the data will soon be travelling, hardly anyone has yet thought about whether the data vehicle that is due to arrive will even fit in the company garage and whether the recipient can actually make use of the delivered pallets. Standardised, efficient interfaces, which can be rapidly adapted to the respective situation without significant effort, are where the process gets held up.
Making arrangements for the 5G data flood
Once 5G is here, data integration will become one of the most pressing issues in order to ensure that the rapidly transmitted data can also be used smoothly and rapidly. Data integration within companies, between companies as well as between billions of new devices can only truly function and thereby enable the IoT and the IIoT if the interfaces are operating in a standardised, and where possible automated, manner and the flood of data is integrated at the target location in a smooth and rapid manner by user-friendly data integration software.
When the first 5G mobile communications networks become operational in 2020 as planned, the principal task for companies will therefore be to establish solutions for data integration. Otherwise this rapid data will fall by the wayside and our intoxication with data will leave us all nursing sore heads.