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5G: Game-Changing Technology

February 9, 2021 | 5G



We have heard that 5G is a game changer but what does this really mean? Network speeds are faster, with less latency, and the network will be pervasive. In listening to sales pitches organizations often move to new solutions for faster speeds or better devices, and this is simply wrong.


There are, other, significant aspects of these new networks that need to be understood, they are designed to be virtual, flexible, and allow processing at the edge. So, what is the impact? One interesting aspect is that Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT) are converging providing an integrated environment with greatly enhanced outcomes. The digital world is invading the physical world, and the result is a user experience overhaul.


Here are a few quick examples:


1. The Department of Defense tracks trainees during exercises. The network and devices had limitations with a less than ideal environment, so limiting decisions had to be made. In a 5G environment data can be processed on the device. Pervasive connectivity and robust computing allow solutions to massively scale. This greatly enhances safety and the user experience.


2. In Public Safety another IT/OT convergence – paramedics need to monitor a patient’s level of oxygenation, looking at color and perfusion which can be difficult. Implementation of Pulse Oximeters provides a numeric status (Blood pressure and pulse can also be monitored in this manner). A network connection to an Emergency Room physician, provides access to allow remote treatment options, not to mention legal documentation. This allows the paramedic to focus on other immediate treatment positively impacting patient outcome.


3. IT and OT also converge in the Smart City, where the 5G virtual ecosystem allows nearly instantaneous processing. There are many examples: Autonomous vehicles, traffic light management, environmental sensors, emergency response to events (shots fired, explosions, accidents, etc.). All are areas where device presence and activity on the network greatly benefit every citizen.


These solutions have been around in one form or another but the impact of 5G networks can seem transformative by advancing the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Virtual/Augmented Reality.


This allows automated data acquisition, evaluation, and implementation and should be thoughtfully and purposely incorporated. So, to repeat moving to 5G for faster speeds or cool new devices and not addressing the overall experience, is doing it wrong.


If you are not reimagining your business, your competitors will.

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