Mobile network operators have from inception chased and upgraded their technology to better improve connectivity and access for their subscribers. Platform and system vendors have also pressed hard on their research and development cycles to deliver on the promise of better, faster and more secure connectivity across voice, SMS and mobile data.
The next generation digital mobile network – 5G is now upon us with operators having tested and begun commercial rollout in various markets and original equipment manufacturers releasing handsets that can maximise the value of the promised high capacity carriage in what is fast becoming an always on, always connected world. While the baseline of giving relatable context to this digital infrastructure is that you can download a full length, high definition movie in under 10 seconds, the opportunities and business value unlocked supersede the very fickle need, at least in my opinion, of plain jane entertainment.
The network of people will reach saturation in many markets and despite higher consumption of mobile data – arguably from cannibalising traditional voice, messaging and an expanding trove of content on the interwebs getting discovered daily, utilisation of available capacity is bound to flat-line soon from simple physical limitation of consumers.
The network of things however will explode in uptake on the upsurge and maturation of commercial use cases in fields such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, drone technology, smart cities, insurance, transportation, logistics, agriculture, healthcare and retail to mention a few.
This fourth industrial revolution will leverage cheaper connectivity costs that will support billions of devices, sensors and systems go ‘online’ exchanging, processing and sharing data in real-time delivering greater average return per node than the comparative average return per human subscriber in the long-term.
Opportunity meets preparedness and the true benefit gleaned from above will be in our ability to ingest, process, analyse and add value from the inbound data in automated fashion and at scale on the edge or in the cloud.
It calls for us to have ready infrastructure cognisant of prevailing data privacy, residency and access headwinds not forgetting the place of future global warfare that will be on resources and intelligence as processed on such infrastructure. We must also build technical capacity – across both hardware and software, if we are to innovate and realise solutions to issues that have long dogged us.