The deployment of 5G, the fifth generation of wireless networks, opens a number of doors for major technological advancements powered by greater speeds and higher capacities
This will not only impact our personal lives through technologies such as wearable devices, but also the business environment through autonomous transportation, smart cities and better ways of working.
Conversations around 5G often mention applications for the Internet of Things (IoT), such as smart home appliances and speedy connectivity for consumer devices. However, the rapidly approaching deployment of this powerful network can bring about a flurry of new economic opportunities for enterprises. In this regard, 5G can drive employee engagement and business efficiencies in many ways:
Reliability: 5G is expected to be much more reliable than its predecessor, meaning technical issues such as dropped calls or cut-out internet connections can be prevented. As UK businesses increasingly depend on uninterrupted connectivity to provide vital services to clients and the public, always-on internet will enable more ‘critical’ use cases.
Flexibility: Network slicing will allow a physical network to be divided into multiple virtual networks, enabling users to engage the right ‘slice’ depending on what they require, essentially creating their own network. This means businesses can be empowered to prioritise traffic to protect their bandwidth while also ensuring the security of the network.
Greater capacity: 5G-powered networks will be able to better support high volume applications, so that data-intensive enterprises and hyperscalers can support their workload either through the cloud or storage via a data centre; enabling them to scale at will.
The importance of digital infrastructure
5G will be significantly faster than 4G, with much lower latency, meaning there will be very little delay or lag when using mobile and internet-connected devices. These capabilities are expected to significantly transform the end user experience and introduce a new digital reality with minimal disruption. A robust 5G infrastructure will be essential for facilitating advanced and next-generation technologies such as connected cars and smart cities – but also open up opportunities for the enterprise as well.
As the volume of data from external transactions, internal processes, smart surveillance and AI analysis accelerates across modern businesses, 5G will become the go-to service required to ensure data is quickly transmitted and processed to enable their smooth-running. The 5G technology that powers these processes will however, be reliant on a robust digital infrastructure provided by telecoms organisations. Close collaboration between local government and third-party innovators will also be key in helping to make 5G a reality through high speed, full fibre connectivity.
Evolving workplace culture
If 5G delivers everything it promises, many expect its introduction to support the fourth industrial revolution, where everything is connected, processed and digitised.
So, what will these enhanced capabilities mean practically for the workplace? 5G will be a key driver for business decisions in the near future, enabling companies to widen their search for employees into locations that may have previously been considered too remote. The talent pool could now be opened up globally, with improved connectivity to ensure complex, remote work is not just plausible but effortless.
And as working from anywhere (WFA) continues to demonstrate itself as a valid way of working, businesses will want to have access to 5G connectivity to ensure data can be stored and processed effectively, either in the cloud or the data centre, as companies move storage to the edge to adapt to the long-term shift in work culture.
With most companies having worked through the initial teething problems, 2020 has been a good testing ground for the future of work. Now that it looks as though remote working is set to be a more permanent change for many, businesses will want to adjust their model accordingly – and 5G will help to accommodate that process.
Gearing up for the future of work
5G is poised to leave a lasting impact on the workforce in many ways. But most notably, it will help democratise job opportunities and empower frontline workers, who are often left out of the corporate culture.
For most industries, 5G will pave the way towards working together more efficiently, regardless of geographical location, while providing technical enhancements such as lower latency and more consistent reliability, driving productivity and increasing revenue. As we approach the future of work, 5G will represent a milestone in empowering digital workers and businesses alike.
About the Author
Sarah Mills is Managing Director – Wholesale, at SSE Enterprise Telecom. SSE Enterprise Telecoms is one of the UK’s leading connectivity providers, we operate a 20,000+km private telecoms network and 15 data centres that span the UK. Offering a wide range of products and integrated solutions including leading edge SD-WAN, Ethernet, Optical, Dedicated Internet Access and Dark Fibre services.
Featured image: ©Twenty20