In an era of hyper-connectivity and rapid technological advancements, fifth-generation (5G) technology is poised to become a connectivity fabric that brings together people, devices, machines and physical ecosystems, according to a recent research study by Infosys Knowledge Institute.
The study said 5G is being heralded as a major driver of innovation due to its three improved characteristics -- low latency (ultra-reliable connectivity enabling real-time experiences), massive machine type communication (smart connected devices) and increased bandwidth (ability to stream large volumes of digital content).
It has huge transformational potential across industries with its service-based, cloud-native architecture and higher-frequency bands that enable a greater amount of data to be transmitted in real-time. Indeed, most industries are investigating 5G and how it can add value to their business.
Infosys interviewed 850 senior executives representing firms from 12 industries with annual revenues over one billion dollars across the United States, Europe, Britain, Australia and New Zealand for the research study titled 'State of 5G -- The Road Ahead.'
It was aimed at gathering insights around the current state of 5G adoption and identifying current and future initiatives that can serve as a guide for business and technology leaders across enterprises in their digital transformation journey.
The study said that era of 5G will uplift existing technologies like Internet of Things (IoT) and provide avenues to monetise emerging technologies like augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality -- for both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) interactions.
"We are seeing service providers actively forge partnerships with banks, automobile manufacturers, utilities, healthcare and other industries to create joint value propositions," said Nitesh Bansal, Senior Vice-President and Global Head of Engineering Services at Infosys.
"Such collaboration, unheard of during the 2G, 3G or even 4G rollouts, is an indicator of the significant impact that 5G is making in the B2B space. We believe this trend is only going to accelerate as we move forward," he said in the study.
Every generation of wireless technology has had a transformative impact on the user experience, and 5G will be the biggest jump yet. Increased network speeds along with high bandwidth will open doors for smart device technology.
"A fusion of edge computing, advanced sensor technologies, artificial intelligence and machine learning will uplift the connected world ecosystem," said the study.
5G blurs the boundary between a network service provider and the wider digital ecosystem, operating avenues for data monetisation. It is critical to understand where enterprises and network service providers stand in terms of service readiness and deployments.
But challenges remain -- such as security concerns, lack of regulation, a dearth of skilled workforce and lack of standards -- in translating these opportunities into reality. Lack of underlying infrastructure and necessary equipment are other hurdles in the way today.
5G will truly be a step ahead only if enterprises are able to use its unique characteristics for advanced applications like ultra-fast analytics and massive machine-to-machine interaction. "Therefore, parallel development of such technologies will be necessary to utilise the full potential of 5G," said the study.
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