5G is nearly upon us
If you haven’t started thinking about how 5G wireless data networks can create opportunities for your apps, then now is the time to start. 5G is literally ‘just around the corner.’ Commercial trials are underway in Australia. US networks have announced that they will launch 5G network services to their customers in 2019.
It’s possible that you are still dealing with the move to 4G, the technical standards for which were delivered well under a decade ago. The first thing to consider, when wrapping your mind around the impact that 5G technology will have, is that the step up to 5G is far more of a fundamental change, than the step up to 4G.
5G is of such significance that ‘even’ governments around the world, typically bureaucracies which struggle to understand the implications of new tech, have set up working groups and are fast-tracking policy to support its implementation.
The key differences 5G will offer which may influence your thinking around new and upgraded apps, are:
- Fiber like speeds for mobile: Data transmission speeds of up to 1GBps.
- Everything connected: 5G transmission protocols require far less power from attached devices. A single battery in a 5G sensor can last up to 10 years. 5G will lead to always on data connections for up to 1 million devices running in parallel, on a single cell.
- Near Zero latency: Sub 5 millisecond ping requests mean it’s just as fast from a user perspective to access information from the cloud as it is to get it natively on the device.
Here are some thought starters to stimulate the evolution of your app development thinking in the right directions.
- Focus on the internet of things (IoT)
By 2020, there will be approximately 20 billion items in the world connected to the internet, roughly 3 for every man, woman and child on the planet. Each will be generating information and it will all be uploaded to the cloud with affordably priced mobile data plans.
Ask yourself: What apps will people need to engage with, aggregate information from and manage these assets? What problem will this volume of connected products present to families and businesses? How can you solve those problems for people?
- Add a dash of AI in to everything
It will not have escaped your notice that Artificial Intelligence is now a feature of almost any new technological development. AI runs on loose pattern matching and benefits from large data sets which are available for analysis, preferably in the cloud.
Why is Artificial Intelligence becoming real in 20187? More affordable sensors, rich data available in real-time and powerful analysis tools are powering the move. Read more data and research on why Artificial Intelligence will be big in mobile apps and how Artificial Intelligence will be further fueled by cheaper sensors.
The Internet Of Things from item 1, above, will generate more information than the world has ever seen. Many problems which appear unsolvable now will be addressable using the information they provide.
Ask yourself: How can I use AI to solve universal problems using this newly available library of data?
- Develop for Augmented and Artificial Reality
5G is more than just fast data. But it will offer fast data. Download speeds will be practically infinite from a user perspective. In a lab, testing 5G, it’s possible to download every episode of Game Of Thrones in high definition, in less than 10 seconds. Practical speeds will be slower in the real world, they always are but realistic forecasts put connection speeds at around 1Gbps.
The new capacity offered by 5G will create a whole new category of Augmented and Artificial Reality app, connecting cloud processing power and rendering to thin client based mobile devices. Not only will the fundamental principles of 5G – mobility and fast data – combine to deliver more immersive digital experiences but they will be delivered on devices which require so little processing power, batteries will last longer.
Ask yourself: What have you always wanted to show your users but couldn’t because the data rate would have been impractically slow? If you could provide an Artificial or Augmented reality experience around your core functionality, what would your users love about it?
- Think Swarm Computing
The way your app, service and the hardware involved in delivering your experience to your customer will be performed is going to change significantly. Where, previously, a single algorithm might have directed traffic lights and vehicle flows, in a world of 5G, disparate processes will interact more locally to optimize solutions.
Swarm computing is the way these processors are connected. It’ll lead to solutions such as the autonomous cars approaching a junction from each direction interacting with the traffic lights to set up greens at the right time. When one vehicle in a skid is about to hit another, it will be able to send a message requiring the deployment of airbags in the vehicle about to be hit.
Swarm computing is a very different way about thinking about real worked interactions and how components can be used to tie together a solution. How will your app interact with everything else on the internet to achieve your goals?
- Constant connectivity
Longer lasting batteries and effectively unlimited numbers of parallel connections mean that connectivity will be delivered consistently, not in bursts. Essentially unlimited network capacity from a telecommunications provider’s perspective will also, likely, lower the cost per GB of transacting data in a 5G world.
Ask yourself: What information available either in the real world or in the part of the cloud you can access would help your users achieve their goals? What information could you get access to using constantly connected devices which would give them a better experience?
- It all ads up to ‘Ambient Computing.’
Ambient sound is the sound that is always happening in the background. You may not even be aware of it until you shift your focus to what you’re hearing.
Ambient computing applies the same concept to electronics and it’ll be the major cultural change that accompanies the move to 5G.
5G’s always on data connection and the growing array of cheap sensor components mean computing power will soon be built in to any physical asset worth more than about $50.
The result is likely to change the way we see and interact with our physical environment in much the same fundamental way that the smartphone did. When you query the door of a building to establish if your spouse has walked in to it today, or a coffee machine to determine the number of drinks it’s dispensed, you’ll be engaging with Ambient Computing.
Ask yourself: What does your app try and help people to do? How could billions of connected devices inform your app to help your user achieve their purpose, and to encourage them to return?
Alpha Anywhere is a low-code app development platform that offers maximum flexibility for developers, allowing them to address the types of challenges 5G raises. Read more about Alpha Anywhere.
This Post Contributed by Guest Blogger: Neil Aitken, Editor-in-Chief, WhatPhone.com.au
Neil Aitken is the editor in chief for WhatPhone.com.au. He has worked on small business telephony solutions in the past and has written on the subject of telco trends, innovation and SIM Plans for Business Insider, The Sydney Morning Herald, Vodafone Australia and Savings Room, one of Australia’s leading blogs.