5G networks can play an integral role in enabling greater implementation of IoT. With its high bandwidth, fast download speeds and low latency, 5G is expected to be a cornerstone for thriving IoT applications.
IoT devices require a connection to the internet to function, but Wi-Fi is not always available, particularly in poorly defined areas. With some IoT deployments, like those in which speed and bandwidth requirements are low, 4G LTE is more than sufficient. But for some implementations, especially where safety is critical, being able to connect to 5G will be required.
5G networks are still being rolled out in cities across the country, and until it finds more mainstream adoption, the true potential for municipal governments cannot be realized. However, potential use cases are abundant.
A prime example of the convergence of 5G and IoT is traffic management and autonomous vehicle functionality. Today, cars are being built with high-resolution geographic information system mapping and GPS for precise location information. Add cameras, radar and lidar (light detection and ranging) sensors, and cars can quickly determine how other cars, bikes and pedestrians behave within their environment.
Taking traffic management a step further, smart intersections will be able to share traffic information with other vehicles, helping to make traffic patterns safer and more efficient.
Roads are not the only use case concerning public safety. With 5G, taking advantage of technologies like virtual reality (VR) can become more and more possible. One could someday imagine a firefighter outfitted with a 360-degree camera as they entered a building, receiving real-time directions from a colleague wearing a VR headset.