Could 5G be Set to Change the Face of the Small Business World?

Posted on Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Technological innovation and development moves on at a pace that is often difficult to even fathom, let alone effectively keep up with. Further evidence of that – if needed – comes with the fact that whilst Britain is barely getting to grips with 4G technology, giant strides seem to being taken toward the development and introduction of 5G networks.

This is not an invitation to despair about the relentless pace of technological change however, as 5G could just be the next development and innovation to truly change the face of the business world for the better. With the technology still a little way off then, it is a great time to get ahead of the curve and learn a little more about it and what the implications of its introduction may be.

Just What is 5G?

The best way to get to grips with exactly what 5G networks are set to be and what they will offer is by taking a look at the way they are described by the University of Surrey, one of the institutions involved in their development.

The University’s ‘5G Innovation Centre’ website explains that 5G networks are set to be ‘the next generation mobile and wireless connectivity system’ and will provide ‘greater capacity and be more responsive to users’ needs’.

In terms of pure connection speed too, 5G is shaping up to be a huge upgrade on current 4G networks with tests having already clocked speeds of up to 5Gbps – some 50 times faster than the theoretical top speed of 4G networks. Those notable and impressive improvements offered by 5G networks are expected to make them key to the development of subsequent technologies and systems such as ‘smart cities’, advanced logistics and widespread self-driving cars, but they will likely have a profound effect on traditional small business too.

5G Implications for Small Business

For small businesses and business in general, it is not the impact that 5G networks may have on self-driving cars or inter-connected urban environments that is most interesting but what 5G could bring to the office.

In short what that is, is a marked improvement in not only connection speeds but also in the resilience and reliability of internet connection. That enhanced reliability would come from the new network’s improved capacity and from the fact that 5G is likely to have lower latency (the speed at which internet requests complete), and makes a number of potentially beneficial day-to-day business activities far more viable.

Having inter-connected and smart devices in the workplace which communicate and monitor usage to improve efficiency for instance would become a synch with 5G connectivity and video conferencing or telecommuting could also become far easier, quicker and less like to suffer from lags or drop outs. When then can businesses expect to start seeing 5G become available to them?

When Will it Arrive?

As you’ll now be able to understand, there has been a lot of buzz surrounding the development of 5G lately and whilst the technology is not immediately imminent, there has been real movement towards its adoption this week.

That movement has come in the form of an announcement that both Stockholm and Tallinn will see a roll-out of a city wide 5G network in 2018. That will likely serve as something of a litmus test for the technology and could see more widespread introduction follow hot on its heels.

With that significant announcement and such potentially momentous upside attached to 5G technology therefore, its development is certainly something that small businesses should be monitoring with great interest.