SPECIAL FEATURE | Seven predictions: 5G resurgence in 2021

Covid-19 put on hold the march of progress in various fronts most notably, the economy, the health industry, the education sector, and new technology development.

Businessman holding icon of 5g communication network systems.

The past year 2020 will be long remembered in what could be the biggest disruption in human history in the new millennium: the Covid-19 pandemic and its devastation. Not only did the pandemic took immeasurable toll on lives around the world, but it also put on hold the march of progress in various fronts most notably, the economy, the health industry, the education sector, and new technology development.

The rollout of 5G, the next mobile telecom technology jump after the current 4G standard, was expected to have sputtered almost to a standstill. However, the sudden dependence on online transactions everywhere provided the impetus for countries like the United States, China and Korea to keep 5G a top priority in their respective new technology development agenda.

Understandably, 5G promises of blazing speed, low latency and fully connected smart cities will be a game changer in a world now restricted by health safety protocols that require physical distancing, stay and work at home restrictions and lockdowns.

That also means, the world will pick up where it left off in 2020 to possibly make the 2021 a banner year for major advances in 5G expansion. The following 7 predictions collectively make a strong case for such very welcome development in the new year.

1. 5G must start moving to the mainstream. The dependence on mobile phones for work and entertainment, and the need for business to remain connected while benefitting immensely from it clearly demand that the latest mobile technology take center stage. Reliable fast mobile communication has become a necessity in life beyond Covid-19.

2. IoT will finally enable a lot of things. Beyond fitness trackers and blood pressure monitoring in the personal health space, Internet of Things and 5G will help improve the provision of health services, optimize use of traffic lights in cities and precise delivery of the right products in the supply chain.

3. Autonomous vehicles will finally make their auspicious debut. The enterprise will be the first to reap the benefits of the so-called Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) featuring adaptive cruise control, lane keeping, automatic braking, and driver monitoring systems.

4. Smart offices will start replacing traditional work places. Tapping into the enhanced capabilities of 5G-enabled IoT, the digital office of the future will be unveiled showcasing smart energy consumption, environmental monitoring and intelligent space utilization for improved employee safety and resource allocation efficiency.

5. Data analytics will flex its muscles. In the context of 5G, Big Data Analytics will support various business applications over 5G networks and at the same time, analytics play a critical role in the roll-out of 5G and network operations.

6. Network cybersecurity will be transformed. The overall strategy for network administrators will be to plan for the unpredictability and the general operating framework is to quickly respond to cyber threats and data breaches while maintaining the flexibility to relocate people and resources as necessary.

7. New networking technologies will be rolled out. Wi-Fi 6, IoT/Edge networking, network lifecycle automation and the primacy of private networks beyond VPN are in the offing.

In real terms, the foregoing predictions are bound to happen since both consumers and business have to respond to the accelerated digital transformation precipitated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The ball is now on the telco’s court.

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