Do we dare mention the 5G in the room? Yes!

As we continue to battle the pandemic, the topic of 5G can’t be avoided. Whether it’s because some of us think it is related to the spread of COVID-19, Bill Gates or even Alien Lizards, or just because it is a promising new technology.

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As we continue to battle the pandemic, the topic of 5G can’t be avoided. Whether it’s because some of us think it is related to the spread of COVID-19, Bill Gates or even Alien Lizards, or just because it is a promising new technology.

Since we run a tech company, we will refrain from any health related opinions, and focus on the technology bit and how it relates to our area of cloud integrations. Although perhaps initially less obvious, 5G can mean radical transformation for cloud integrations and the cloud journey more broadly. This makes it a relevant development we need to understand. Let us explain.

Bounty of opportunities comes with change

No-one can be 100% certain of all the opportunities and changes associated with 5G, but that it will bring about a lot of change, is where scientists, telcos, governments and other organisations with relative authority tend to agree. In particular its ability to speed up data connections and processes through its very low latency, the sheer number of connections it can support, increased bandwidth and how it is touted to be a lot more energy efficient than previous mobile networks. This blog sums it up nicely.

Within the world of Cloud computing, there is a lot of change on foot as well. Where initially resources were predominantly virtualised (e.g. virtual machines, containers), now there is a shift underway to serverless computing. Just to state the obvious, this doesn’t mean the world will live without any servers in the near future. However, it does take resource sharing to a whole new level of (cost) efficiency. More on this later in a separate blog post, as we are also looking into all of these Cloud developments relating to our own IT journey and associated roadmap.

Back to 5G, in combination with Cloud computing enhancements. The increased speed, bandwidth, connectivity and efficiency mean that Cloud journeys of organisations will be much better supported in the future. After all, the true potential of Cloud for any organisation is tied to how well the underlying infrastructure can deal with the data the organisation's processes. Therefore, the advancements 5G will bring to the table will amplify the benefits of Cloud that organisations are already experiencing.

A brand new world

Because 5G might leapfrog Cloud and IT paradigms to an extent, it will also enable entirely new business models. In particular in case business models involve real-time requirements, more data-intense aspects of applications of artificial intelligence, virtual and artificial reality, robotics, IoT, etcetera. All the hot tech topics of the past decade, would be lifted to a new level of capability due to 5G’s support. This quote illustrates how consumers' experiences will change:

“Consumers will also benefit from new ways to learn, work, communicate, entertain themselves and manage everyday admin through more immersive experiences using virtual, augmented or mixed reality.”

The icing on the cake is the contribution towards a greener computing future, with the promise of energy efficiency.

For an in depth report, we recommend reading this publication from the Boston Consulting Group here. We have pulled out this quote as a summary:

“Mobile is not just an industry in and of itself. It is also the foundation upon which an impressive array of industries—new and old—have taken root and flourished”

In the same human moment

Some of the same benefits of 5G will supercharge integrations as well. Latency and bandwidth are key for successful (Cloud) integrations. With the enhancements that 5G brings, provided the integration tech is adapted to utilise them, today’s integrations will be put on steroids. In practice, this will lead to instantaneous complex data transfers and transformations between Cloud applications where 5G connectivity is involved. For a user, this might mean that any inputs in a source application are transferred and transformed in the same (human) moment, and are visible in the same (human) moment for a colleague using another (destination) application.

Imagine what this could do for:

  • Critical infrastructure, such as IoT around water management and electricity. Any leaks could be mitigated as soon as humanly possible.
  • A surgeon could perform remote surgeries with an experience identical to, and even better than (due to the associated tech enhancements of the operation), if he was there in the room.
  • Self driving cars can all be connected and prevent road congestion. No more traffic jams! And far less accidents.

The sum is greater than the parts

In this sense, integrations between applications are a foundation on which other technologies, processes and ultimately people rely - in line with the Boston Consulting Group quote above. This means, integrations go hand in hand with other foundational technologies such as Cloud computing and mobile networks. And any advancement in maturity of one of the components, has a downstream effect. Also, in the same report:

“As we look ahead to fifth generation (5G) networks and beyond—which promise to deliver more bandwidth and higher data rates, support the Internet of Things, and dramatically increase the numbers of connected devices—we anticipate a reinvention of communication, content, and services on a global scale”

Mobile tech will provide opportunities and take tech away from fixed infrastructure even more than it is today - meaning it will be ever more pervasive in our lives. Like that or not, it is probably going to happen.

A lot of applications center around the idea of saving time and making things more efficient, so we can do more with our time. There is also the attention economy, meaning there seems to be a vastly growing quantity of information that is offered to us which competes for our attention (with the issuers of said information aiming to capitalise on our attention).

To make this experience smooth for us all and limit the number of applications you interact with, integrations are likely to become more of a necessity than ever before.

Photo by Thaddaeus Lim on Unsplash

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