Most global firms see 5G will be used for Internet-of-Things

Communications executives said 5G technology will mostly likely be used for Internet-of-things (IoT) applications instead of consumer-based services.

MK Chang, vice president at US technology company Syniverse, said the low latency and high-speed feature of 5G will most likely be “monetized” on services focusing on IoT.

Chang, citing studies said 25 billion “connected things” will flood the market by 2024, and current mobile technologies may not be able to “handle” the requirements of such volume.

This is where 5G will come in, he said.

IoT, which in a nutshell means putting a sensor or a device to almost anything to connect it to the Internet, is expected to impact business sectors such as logistics, health care, automotive (self-driving cars, for example), virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and other broadband-hungry applications.

While use cases for 5G remain scarce, the technology is expected to cover 65% of the world’s population in 2024, Chang said, adding that many of the world’s top global operators have now made concrete investments on 5G upgrades.

However, Chang said challenges for 5G also remain. This will include “systems suitability,” which involves multiparty billing and payment for the service.

But the biggest challenge, according to Chang, is security. Since IoT means giving access to almost any device, there could be security loopholes that hackers might exploit.

As projected, there will be 25 billion connected device in 2024 and these devices will have to be secured.

Chang’s assessment is similar to that of tech investor and noted tech “futurist” Nicklas Bergman who earlier said today’s consumers are apparently still happy with 4G and 5G “does not have that mass appeal yet.”

Bergman, however, added that 5G holds a lot of promise. “As someone interested in technology, I can see them (benefits and applications off 5G). I can see that for robotics, IoT for enterprise, for autonomous driving, for many cloud applications. My impression is that it is still hard to convince companies to actually invest in it.”

He said 5G may follow the same development path that “old technologies” have taken. “Like previous technologies, 5G may follow the same development in all technologies,” he said, adding that companies “need to experiment and find the use cases” for 5G before benefits can be seen and the technology “taking off.”

Chang and Bergman were two of the experts invited to speak at the Asian Carriers Conference (ACC) held last week. Dominant carrier PLDT hosted the 15th edition of the ACC, which attracted more than 1,000 thousand delegates from a global community of telecom operators, mobile services providers, and technology related enterprises attended the conference.

Aside from PLDT and its mobile arm Smart, representatives from Orange, MITTO, Tel Q Global, China Unicom, PCCW, SoftBank Telecom (from Japan), NTT Communications, Telstra, and Verizon, attended the event. 

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