5G for the enterprise: Are you ready for it?

5G for the enterprise: Are you ready for it?

Here are a few factors to consider as you plan a transition to 5G.

The transition to 5G, the next generation wireless network that’s been touted as a game changer, seems to be happening, albeit slowly. Chipmakers like Qualcomm and MediaTek have announced that 5G-enabled handsets should be available this year. In the United States, service providers like AT&T and Verizon have started deploying 5G networks. Back home in India too, a global Indian telecom giant has announced the first 5G capable network. Even the Government of India is determined to make a nationwide 5G rollout possible.

Users are excited as 5G is not merely the next version of 4G, but its underlying technology is expected to take wireless connectivity a notch higher than the best broadband connectivity available today. While there is a lot of hype associated with what this technology can deliver, we expect widespread adoption only by 2022. This is particularly so with countries like India where 5G capable handsets will have to be made affordable for most income groups. If the 4G transition in India is anything to go by, it might take a few years for 5G to go mainstream and for service providers to offer full 5G functionality. But once 5G is fully functional it has the capability to disrupt the way enterprises and end users function. It will result in a lot of new benefits. But it will also bring its own challenges. So it is important that enterprises anticipate the disruptive changes 5G adoption could bring about and prepare for them accordingly. Here are a few factors you need to consider as you plan a transition to 5G.

Workplace transformation
Mobility is already being widely adopted globally. 5G will pave the way for smarter, faster and highly data driven, digital workplaces. It’ll make it easier for enterprises to become truly virtual and location agnostic.

Richer content creation
The speeds offered by 5G should enable enterprises and a variety of professionals, like architects and designers, to use virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to create richer 3D content on the fly. Enterprises can use VR and AR to create highly impactful and interactive training modules for their employees.

Emergence of new sensor and IoT-driven applications
With speeds superior to what the best broadband connections have to offer and low latency, 5G networks will pave the way for a host of sensor and IoT driven applications. It will be easier for manufacturing, logistics and other industries to extract data from the remotest of locations.

Disruptive new applications
Harvard Business Review predicts that 5G, with its revolutionary technology, will also make possible new applications that will leave both investors and users salivating. Many others predict that 5G will give way to a whole new set of applications, operating systems, and devices.

High costs and deployment challenges
While 5G is expected to open up a slew of new possibilities, it also comes with its own challenges. The costs of deploying 5G are expected to be on the higher side. There will also be deployment challenges as enterprises looking to adopt millimetre wave 5G will have to deploy huge MIMO (multiple input multiple output) antennae while ensuring they cause minimal interference. Cost of migrating from existing wired LANs will also have to be factored in.

As with most new technologies, transitioning to 5G will come with its own security risks. Experts point out that 5G and the various new applications that will come with it will widen the arena for cyber criminals. It’s important that enterprises work out stringent security measures while adopting the technology.