We are now in the early stages of the next technological revolution: the development of a ubiquitous wireless network that will marry data collection and computation with billions of devices. This will provide us with unprecedented insights and abilities that will change what we do and how we do it. This network is called 5G.
Outside of a few tech-focused circles, the benefits of 5G aren’t widely understood. Reduced to its most elementary definition, 5G may sound a lot like its predecessors — a set of invisible radio waves that transmit information between devices, just faster. Replete with a host of alphanumeric acronyms, it’s going to radically upend many aspects of our lives, just like 4G LTE and 3G before it.
Unlike its predecessors though, 5G is a technological paradigm shift, akin to the shift from typewriter to computer. And it isn’t just a network. 5G will become the underlying fabric of an entire ecosystem of fully connected intelligent sensors and devices, capable of overhauling economic and business policies, and further blurring geographical and cultural borders. It will be capable of delivering at every rung of the ecosystem’s ladder, and will provide seamless, continuous connectivity for business applications.
All industries will feel the effects of the shift to 5G. In particular, automotive, health care, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are expected to bring about dramatic transformations in our daily lives. For example, think about the relationship between the smart city and an autonomous car. With a 5G connection, your car will know your ETA at work, taking the optimal route based on traffic data communicated from other cars and the roadways. While a handful of companies are working on this level of automation, the ability to deliver this type of functionality at scale will require the marriage of intelligent devices and the 5G network.
In health care, 5G will enable always-on, secure device connectivity for patients, caregivers, and care providers. The combination of timely medical-grade connectivity and data integration across the care continuum will lead to radically transformed, predictive care.
And when it comes to IoT, 5G will upgrade the human experience as we connect virtually everything. By 2020, analysts estimate that there will be more than 20 billion installed IoT devices around the world, generating massive amounts of data. With access to this kind of information, industries of all kinds will be able to reach new levels of efficiency as they add products, services, and capabilities.
This unprecedented innovation will create a different economy, according to the landmark research project commissioned by Qualcomm and conducted by independent, third-party research firms IHS Markit, Penn Schoen Berland, and Berkeley Research Group. In addition to an in-depth analysis, 3,588 respondents — from business decision makers to technology enthusiasts and innovators — were surveyed. Leading economist and professor Dr. David Teece, the director of the Tusher Center at the Haas School of Business at U.C. Berkeley, validated the economic impact study results.
A few major findings from the study are:
5G will generate new revenue.
After examining 21 unique 5G use cases, such as enhanced indoor wireless broadband coverage, augmented reality and virtual reality, asset tracking, and autonomous vehicles, IHS Markit found that 5G has the potential to unlock up to $12.3 trillion of revenue across a broad range of industries. To put this in perspective, that revenue figure is nearly equivalent to total U.S. consumer spending in 2016, and more than the combined spending of China, Japan, France, Germany, and the U.K. This revenue also represents about 4.6 percent of all global real output in 2035.
It will inspire new growth.
The 5G Global Value Chain, including network operators, core technology and component suppliers, device OEMs, infrastructure providers, and content and application developers, is expected to grow output to $3.5 trillion in 2035 – larger than the entire mobile value chain is today. China will contribute the most in gross output, with the U.S., Japan, Germany, South Korea, France, and the U.K following, in that order. Researchers also foresee 5G supporting 22 million jobs around the world.
5G’s deployment in enhanced mobile broadband applications, massive IoT, and mission-critical services will fuel sustainable long-term growth in annual global GDP. Between 2020 to 2035, the total contribution of 5G to global GDP is predicted to be equivalent to an economy the size of India today – the seventh-largest economy in the world.
It will accelerate innovation.
People are confident in connectivity’s next renaissance: 91 percent of the study’s respondents feel that 5G will enable new products and services that have yet to be invented. They believe 5G will stimulate innovation, and the technologies and inventions inspired by it will lead to smarter homes and cities, and even healthier people.
The next generation of mobile will inspire the emergence of new industries as well as impact existing businesses and the products and services they design and manage. Business leaders feel strongly about 5G’s promise: 92 percent think 5G’s ability to protect sensitive data is important, while 91 percent value its potential to deliver ultra-high reliability. And nearly 70 percent are concerned that without 5G, their country will become less competitive globally.
The evolution from “just another network” to a robust ecosystem, will be the result of new 5G technologies converging with those used today in advanced Wi-Fi and 4G LTE applications, building on current cloud analytics processes to continue to develop unique data insights.
Qualcomm has made the things that changed everything about the phone, and now the company is making the things that are going to change everything about everything else. Qualcomm is leading the world to 5G and creating the platforms and protocols upon which this technological revolution will be built.
And Qualcomm is using its experience, expertise, and leadership in wireless networks and mobile processing to continue to develop advanced 4G LTE applications that will set the foundation for 5G and expand into new verticals, such as automotive, with Cellular V2X. Additionally, new developments, specifically for 5G, are already taking shape. For example, Qualcomm Technologies recently announced, together with Ericsson and AT&T, field trials of 5G New Radio (NR). The trials intend to help move the mobile ecosystem to faster 5G deployment based on forthcoming standards. Meanwhile, Qualcomm is developing the underlying connectivity technology that uses previously untapped spectrum for mobile devices. These kinds of innovative breakthroughs are paramount in leading the world to the 5G future.
To learn more about the research conducted by IHS Markit, Penn Schoen Berland, and Berkeley Research Group, read The 5G Economy report.