5G is brand new to the UK – so new that at the time of writing, the iPhone 8 is not yet 5G-compatible. Businesses  are being expected to create a 5G environment, without even experiencing the 5G benefit directly first

When it comes to predicting future tech needs, most IT managers and facilities managers, are used to riding a precarious wave – they work hard to stay in the sweet-spot, somewhere between providing adequate speed and resource, and crashing on the beach with an over spent budget.

Fortunately, the clear majority of managers, are very competent at keeping a balance. However the advent of 5G might be enough to wobble the confidence of even the most experienced professionals.

5G brings even more speed and bandwidth –  so of course, it’s beneficial to get on board as soon as it becomes available.   It also brings with it a wealth of feature opportunities, for use in crowd-marketing, data-mining, optimising sales, generating more interactivity and creating memorable events for repeat sales.

How will 5G’s benefits start to make a difference?

Many of the early adopters of 5G are likely to be sports stadiums, massive event venues and exhibition halls.  As before, the owner of the network (“Sign up for free wifi”) will be able to sell and promote to their immediate customers.  But the flexibility of 5G now means that stadium owners, will have another opportunity to re-sell their tech facilities.

 Let’s go to a rugby match to illustrate how it feels to be a 5G consumer

Imagine you’re at a rugby match.  You fancy a hot-dog and a cup of tea, but you don’t want to leave your seat to get caught in a queue, particularly as you also need to look after your teenage son. .  5G to the rescue – signing into the football ground’s 5G network gives you a fast wifi connection (fast enough to do a spot of online shopping at the club shop.  New club shirt  – you’ll pick that up on the way out of the gate).  Oh – and access to all the food vendors in the club.  You can spot one you like, check the menu, and order (paying online).  Your vegetarian son wants a pizza slice, so you order that from another vendor.  Now you can choose to either get your snacks delivered to your seat location at a specific time, or you can collect your snacks yourself, by showing the vendor a code on your phone.   You finish your hotdog, scan the code on the wrapper, and enter the competition that’s drawn at the end of the match.  In the meantime, you’ve also given your personal details to the hot-dog vendor, the football club, the club shop and the competition sponsor (a holiday company) on the wrapper.  Surprisingly, you’re going to walk past that same holiday company sponsor on your way to work tomorrow – they are very efficient, also have 5G, so they recognise you are on the street – you get pinged a text and check their window – only to see the perfect holiday deal for you (just as they promised).

*it goes without saying that as you sign up for the 5G network, you also provide permissions for all these organisations to market to you.

Welcome to a world of convenience, one that is geared, it would appear, around your needs.

What’s the 5G experience as a business owner/manager?

Using the above example, consider what deals the rugby club has just done – they’ve sold their 5G access to their food vendors and their club shop, who are both paying to use it.  They have also sold your details (as you’ve signed up you gave permission) to the competition sponsor.  Of course they have got your own details too now, and next time you go to the match, you’ll probably be pinged messages about hotdog and pizza deals, as well as a coupon from a brand new doughnut vendor (they bought your details from the club), perhaps a new purchase from the club shop, and a voucher for money off at a local restaurant that’s also on your way home.  Surprise surprise.

It’s a joined-up world with 5G.   But first the infrastructure needs setting up.

What hardware and networks are required?

5G is the buzz of major sporting stadia, exhibition and conference centres.  But it won’t run on an existing network – so the first piece of work is to assess today’s opportunities, as well as lining up strategies to meet the future.

A full 5G network would include a fibre optic backbone in a ring network, with bi-directional data, so that new assets can be installed into the ring without downtime.

An effectively collapse-proofed network means that 5G benefits will stretch into the business and a guest network, so the business can benefit from the additional speed, bandwidth and efficiencies.

The network also requires switches, mesh networks and a DAS network – Distributed Antenna System to ensure no cold-spots.

5G is one of the most exciting developments of 2017.  It will take at least a year for the systems to be built, and for consumers to tech-up, however once 5G becomes a general expectation, businesses will be judged against their speed and efficiencies.

 

Our take on it:  Even if you choose not to invest in 5G for another 12 months, at least develop a robust strategy to suit your business.  Far from being just a service, 5G has the potential to make or break marketing campaigns, and therefore seriously impact on business.   It won’t go away.  But you may be able to work around it.   Call us for more details  0121 458 4888