As coverage and speed improve over the next two to three years, mobile device users should see some notable changes. Bandwidth-intensive applications like virtual and augmented reality could be practical on a large scale. Videos should play smoothly and almost instantly. Fans at a football game should be able to access customized real-time statistics about teams and players by aiming their cameras at the field. Gamers could enjoy more immersive experiences.
The number of connected smart devices is expected to reach nearly 35 billion by 2025. Artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to monitor data streaming from smart cameras, sensors and road monitors to help enhance security and public safety, route vehicles around traffic snarls and improve response times to emergency events. When used with connected vehicles, 5G could help lead to fewer traffic accidents and shorter commuting times.
In schools, 5G can enhance learning in the classroom, enabling students to virtually "visit ends of the solar system, construct and dissect cells, meet underrepresented minority icons from history and more," according to Rose Stuckey Kirk, Verizon's chief corporate social responsibility officer.
In manufacturing, 5G could free much of the equipment currently tethered to ethernet cables, enabling robots to roam warehouses and vehicle fleets to be orchestrated at a fine level. This could help redesign manufacturing and logistics workflows with big leaps in productivity.
If all of this sounds like fodder for the Jetsons, consider that the number of 5G connections is expected to reach 619 million globally by the end of 2021. Executives who see the potential for transformative 5G business impact are already rolling out pilot projects. The time to get on board is now.
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