The headlines are full of cautious companies, reigning in spending plans. The economic climate is rocky, to say the least.
But for 5G — the fifth generation tech standard for cellular networks — tailwinds are in place, as we increasingly go digital, across all facets of life.
In an interview with PYMNTS, Michael Zeto, senior vice president, global strategy and emerging businesses at Boingo, which provides high-speed Wi-Fi and cellular services to airports, stadiums and other public places worldwide, said, “I don’t see the deployment of 5G slowing down.”
Now more than ever, he said, it is “absolutely clear how essential” converged communications platforms have become for businesses and consumers alike.
Looking at the natural progression of 5G adoption across a variety of use cases for enterprises and individuals, he noted some parallels in what has come before.
As he told PYMNTS, what 4G and LTE were for the consumer, 5G will be for enterprises.
Initial adoption, he said, will likely happen on the consumer side of the equation, where the standard already is in place across several cities.
“It’s going to initially across AR and VR applications and gaming and the ability to download videos more quickly over cellular. And by videos, I mean an entire season of ‘Game of Thrones’ and a few seconds versus many minutes,” he said.
Fast forward a bit, he said, additional consumer benefits will accrue on the other side of the pandemic through the use of autonomous vehicles and intelligent traffic management systems.
The vehicles, he said, can communicate with one another, and traffic signals, so they can create efficiencies for travelers and commuters.
Against the backdrop of improving everyday life across a variety of use cases, Zeto said it’s important to look at 5G as a platform that decreases latency and deliver data in real-time or near-real-time.
“You’re able to bring the decision-making process down to milliseconds,” he added, “and so you’re shortening the round trip of the data by having 5G and then having processing at the edge on-site.”
By way of comparison, he said the data can be processed in as little as 2 milliseconds. The brain processes that same information in 13 milliseconds.
With a nod to use cases tied to public health concerns, he said that sensors in airports could take an individual’s temperature, take into account point of origin (across other flights or countries) and provide instantaneous feedback based on those data points.
These and other innovations can drive economic development, said Zeto, as they will spur job creation (and investment is a GDP component).
In terms of setting the stage for the connected devices across an ecosystem and for public venues such as airports, stadiums and conventions to shift fully to 5G — the infrastructure must be in place.
Zeto stated that key 5G technologies driving growth include distributed antenna systems that boost cell signals and network capacity. He pointed, too, to CBRS (short for Citizens Broadband Radio Service), which allows for the deployment of private LTE and IoT networks.
He told PYMNTS CBRS offers another spectrum offering — akin to opening up another lane on a highway to handle new traffic demands.
That traffic is poised to explode as 5G enable devices become increasingly more affordable for consumers.
“You’ll be able to accommodate the use cases that are being developed — or that are already developed — with all that increased traffic across those hundreds of millions, and billions, of devices that are starting to come online from an IoT perspective,” Zeto told PYMNTS.