Digital transformation has been a buzzword for many organizations and is a term that is all-encompassing when it comes to how businesses are taking a step toward data-driven decision-making to move their businesses forward. 5G technology plays a heavy hand in how businesses are going to be collecting massive amounts of data in the future. Stakeholders need to check a lot off of their list to get the most out of the opportunities 5G brings to the table and make sure their IT infrastructure can handle it. There are many benefits to 5G wireless technology, but it’s also critical to know that your current tech stack can handle that increased power.

Faster Network, access to real-time data

Obviously, one of the benefits of 5G technology that is mostly talked about is it allows for data to travel at faster speeds, meaning having easier access to real-time data. This is critical to easing up the bottlenecks with supply chain delays for example, having increased visibility, efficiency and processing shipments. While the supply chain industry is one application, 5G speeds can really benefit all industries-especially mission critical ones for healthcare. 5G technology achieves download speeds of up to 20 gigabits (Gb) per second, 200 times faster than current 4G technology.

Although access to real-time data is a clear benefit, it can also be a curse if your current tech stack can’t handle it. You need to make sure your tech stack can handle multiple streams of data and is designed to minimize data trips and latency. If it currently can’t handle the volume and velocity 5G will provide, it will be more of a threat than a benefit. A combination of low, medium and high frequencies is required to meet the coverage, capacity and speed requirements. With 5G operating on a new frequency spectrum — millimeter wave – 5G requires new small cell base stations to operate and function. 5G also comes with new features including network slicing and orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing.

Low latency and constant connectivity

In today’s data-driven world, low latency is in high demand especially when your business depends on critical data passing through to make decisions that impact daily operations and the future of the organization and 5G will only bring more data and insights into the mix. More data is a good thing right? Well, not always if you’re not doing anything with it! According to a Gartner report, more than half of a business’s collected data already goes unused. Businesses have to rethink their entire data strategy if they want to bring on data speeds that will only increase the amount of data coming in. The standard for 4G technology is 50 milliseconds, while with 5G there is a latency of less than one millisecond. The high volumes of data will mean high, unrelenting demands. It will be critical to have a tech stack that has a lean and agile architecture to keep up with the what the future holds for applications. It may need a complete overhaul with your tech stack and you may need to upskill your IT team to accommodate all of the opportunities 5G brings-and it will be worth it. 5G’s increased cell density enhances network capacity which means having the ability to support more users and connected devices resulting in more mobile device and connection capacity.

IoT, virtual and augmented reality

With 5G speeds, and the increased throughput and higher device capacity, IoT-based analytics will play a big role in 5G applications. Analytics will evolve way beyond basic intelligence reporting. A common weakness of virtual reality and augmented reality is latency. Implementing 5G will help with establishing a stable connection so the lag time will be faster. According to wireless communications experts, 3.5 billion IoT cellular connections are predicted by 2023 and 20 percent of global mobile data traffic will be on 5G networks. With the number of IoT devices expected to increase due to 5G’s high speeds, IoT-focused organizations can expect deeper data insights and a lot more of them. Current Long-Term Evolution Advanced (LTE-A) 4G is not adequate enough to connect high data speeds, increased bandwidth and low service latency performance- 5G addresses these issues effectively. The applications for faster data are universal- especially in health care shortening times for test results and the ability for physicians to provide care to patients faster. The expected increase in semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles will also require 5G’s additional bandwidth and mobility. To mature more into a data-driven business, stakeholders will need to address the growing pains they will have with adopting 5G.

Advancing your IT team

With these new speeds and more data, your IT team will need to be more advanced to understand and know how this will impact your tech stack and how it will need to evolve to be effective for the business. Partnering with experts like Aptude will allow your internal resources to understand the full scope of the necessary modifications as 5G allows for more devices to be connected and more data is transferred.

According to Gartner, by 2025, 30 percent of new industrial control systems will include analytics and AI-edge inference capabilities, an increase of 5 percent in 2021. IT teams whether they’re in-house or offsite, will be held responsible to manage, monitor, measure and secure all of these assets that are collecting this critical data. Digital technologies will increasingly be involved to keep businesses running that will require the highest level of uptime.

IT organizations will need to deploy and manage a whole ecosystem of devices and software and build multiple layers of redundancy into these devices. The innovations 5G introduces depend on distributed processing and network capabilities.

Data storage and management

As it’s been said several times already, with 5G speeds and more devices means more data…and yes, the need for more storage space to accommodate. Data storage is definitely a critical component to consider. Gartner predicts that by 2025, more than 50 percent of enterprise-managed data will be created and processed outside the data center or cloud.

With the amount of data and devices being managed, automation will be absolutely necessary. The businesses that start to update and upgrade their database management strategy will put themselves in a better position when it comes to 5G. Manufacturing and industrial industries will be overseeing smart factories – a use case that will definitely capitalize on the opportunities of 5G. More organizations within these industries will need reliable database platforms that can handle the massive amount of data with zero downtime. A review of the current organization’s database management solution is needed to determine if it can accommodate the rapid growth 5G will bring. This will mean utilizing systems and applications that can rapidly aggregate and analyze raw data, moving away from siloed ecosystems, cut conflicting format types and prioritizing scalability.

According to a Deloitte survey conducted in 2020, the pandemic accelerated enterprise investments in newer wireless networking technologies—especially 5G and Wi-Fi 6 – their solution to help avoid further disruptions. While this shift is very complex and transforming very quickly, widespread adoption is still a few years away, the benefits are clear and will revolutionize many industries- but the key is to be ready for it before diving in.

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