We can drive a new generation of seamless connectivity through 5G
With 5G on the horizon, we’re hurtling towards a digital future of ultra-fast, ultra-reliable connectivity. Damn good news too, our thirst for data has reached almost insatiable levels. With Innovation Point, newly appointed as the company to lead Wales’ Imperative Strategy for 5G the time is right for us to start talking streaming, industry challenges, economic opportunity, and exploiting the 5G future.
I have a confession to make. I am a secret Netflix binger. I have a Fire Stick, get lost in the iPlayer’s back catalogue, and saw every dancing cat video before it went viral. And if there’s one thing I resent – truly despise with every waking breath – it’s when a video stops to buffer. In today’s digital world, laggy connectivity should be a distant memory, rather than a commonly shared bugbear.
Cardiff was one of the first cities to benefit from the rollout of 4G networks in 2012. For me, this eradicated an inability to simultaneously stream Breaking Bad on my laptop while sending that important email on my phone. For you, 4G far surpassed the capabilities of pre-existing 3G networks. It enabled video calls, large file sharing, and connectivity with ever-evolving internet of things (IoT) devices – all at high speeds and on the move.
4G also meant a significant rise in mobile data traffic. In 2016, there was a reported growth of 63%, and demand will only increase. Despite 4G being relatively new – many parts of the UK are still waiting for it –we’re already detecting signs of it creaking under the pressure. That could ultimately result in patchy connectivity and a decline in productivity. We need a solution, and that solution is 5G – a new generation of seamless connectivity. It’s set to be lightning-quick, with data transmission speeds of up to 100 times faster than 4G, and will have the capacity to support the likes of augmented reality, autonomous transport networks, and millions of inter-connected IoT devices.
5G presents new opportunities for Wales. Its deployment requires extensive research, development, and testing to overcome perceived market failures. There is a need to better understand how the creation and application of micro, new model technologies of the future can best exploit 5G networks – and therefore take advantage of the significant economic benefits 5G will bring.
Cardiff Capital Region has stated its intent to establish an ‘innovation district’ that will create and nurture young high-growth companies. It will increase investment in research and development, and place outstanding digital infrastructure at its core. This wider ecosystem must include next generation broadband, and prioritisation of 5G technologies that add value to existing provision. It will also see the inception of a 5G testbed, strengthening the investment in Newport’s £38m semiconductor foundry, which is building the technology behind robotics of the future and IoT devices.
We’re looking at the future of integrated, 5G connected energy systems coming from Swansea Bay City Region innovation. Ebbw Vale could become a ‘hot’ testbed for 5G transport systems, as Welsh Government intend to deliver the area as an autotech park. But harnessing Wales’ innovation and ambition is not the challenge, here. Collaboration is the key to ensuring Wales becomes a leader in the development of emerging 5G technologies.
We need to ensure we have the ability and resources to facilitate the new infrastructure required to introduce 5G. Then, we need to develop affordable products capable of processing data at the speed it’s transmitted on a 5G network. This will drive productivity and growth within the digital industry – particularly for SMEs – and attract investment from outside Wales.
We need to work together to stay at the forefront of a digital revolution. Come and chat to us today about how we can collaborate and crack tomorrow.
Innovation Point’s popular networking event, Digital Tuesdays, is also back on March 6 with a 5G focus. If you are interested in the opportunity which 5G offers, then this is an event not to be missed. For more info click here