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What does 5G really mean for the enterprise?

By Ron Onur Aksoy

In one of my colleague’s previous articles (read it here), he asked whether or not companies are truly ready for digital transformation initiatives. He also pointed out that hardware plays a major role in every aspect of every IT project.

Given that fact, there is a new technological advancement that is about to impact every business on a global scale: the new world of 5G. Now, I know what you may be thinking. Won’t 5G have more of a consumer-centric impact? In many cases, absolutely. 5G correlates directly with consumer products and services. From streaming to the uploading of files to the cloud, to images and music—all of that data pairs perfectly with high-speed mobile devices. As phones, tablets and laptops continue to tout faster processing speeds, more storage and other features, 5G becomes the flip side of the proverbial coin: the enabler of faster, better, always-on connectivity.

For enterprises, however, there is a one-two punch that correlates directly to 5G. For those companies that develop everything from software applications and consumer-centric hardware to services that impact the public, 5G suddenly becomes the epicenter of both feature functionality and customer expectation. The need to “keep up” in the ever-present connectivity wars therefore means that 5G must be at the center of innovation.

But there is also the internal aspects of 5G that will benefit enterprises in ways that many may not have contemplated previously. The power and speed of 5G directly translates to a new world of hidden functionality and connectivity potential that will lead to reduced costs and greater revenue—even rock-solid business continuity.

In the past few years, new technologies—such as the Internet of Things (IoT), AI and autonomous technologies, cloud services, industry 4.0, and supports for remote working—are all directly linked to the coming rollout of 5G. These technologies will lead to advancements in medical monitoring, smart factories, IoT sensors, network automation, smart networks, and more.

So, with all of this new-found possibility, the market for this technology and the infrastructure that supports it are also about to expand exponentially. According to Gartner, the global 5G market is expected to jump in value to more than $4.2 billion within the next 18 months alone.

In addition, research is showing that communications service providers are already investing heavily in 5G new radio (5G NR), which accounted for close to 6% in new revenue this year. Not-so-shockingly, this number is expected to more than double in 2020.

So, what are companies to do? The future is and always has been focused on speed and functionality. As the walls between the corporation and the consumer continue to dissolve due to the digital world we all live in, all companies will need to comply with the new world order.

This means investments in IT must be a major focus. As everything becomes faster, more connected, and more interconnected, the data and functionality that the new digital age creates represent an entirely new outlook on infrastructure. In the end, 5G is not just about speed, it’s about connecting the world and making sure your IT infrastructure is connected is where that all begins.