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Connected Everything: 5G Introducing business to its future self

Deloitte’s perspective: A revolution in connectivity

Earlier this year, we shared our perspective on the future of 5G at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. We believe that in the next five years, 5G-enabled IoT, edge computing and advanced networking capabilities will transform entire markets. Our enthusiasm is clearly shared: Capital expenditures on 5G infrastructure is strong and “co-opetition” among hyperscalers, service providers and the entry of nontraditional players into 5G and edge computing suggests that the fifth-generation mobile network technology is approaching a major inflection point. Some notable indicators:

  • Analysts believe that 5G will have a massive economic impact—many predicting that it will contribute more than US $1.7 trillion to the global economy in the next decade.
  • Executives are also on board. In our Future of Connectivity survey, 80% of respondents believed that 5G and edge computing will transform their industry in the next one to three years.
  • We also foresee huge concurrent Wi-Fi 6 and 5G adoption. In Deloitte’s 2021 Global Advanced Wireless study, 98% of networking executives expected their organisation to use both within three years.

5G and next-gen technologies

Rapid tech innovation has conditioned many of us to greet this week's Next Big Thing with a yawn. So what makes 5G so special? How can it possibly live up to its hype?

Well, for starters, 5G is powerful—supporting ultra-fast speeds, increased data volume, more connect devices, real-time response and precise location sensing. So far, so impressive. But the game-changer is 5G’s ability to power virtualisation, AI, analytics, automation and other next-gen technologies with the capability to transform businesses and industries. In short, connecting everything—instantly and constantly.

Contribution of 5G to the global economy

Let’s look a bit closer at the economic effects of 5G. While it will affect all industries and regions around the world, IT and telecom, energy, utilities and manufacturing stand to benefit the most.

4Deloitte analysis based on multiple reports available on the public domain including Grand View Research, 5G Services Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report, Feb. 2022.

Seemingly endless 5G applications

Within these key industries, 5G's low latency, high bandwidth and high connection density can support a nearly infinite number of use cases. The unifying thread: deeper connectivity between the digital and physical realms. Just a sampling of high-potential use cases by sector:

  • Energy and utilities: Smart metering, smart grid automation, offshore drilling operations, drone surveillance
  • Manufacturing: Smart factories, AR, precision monitoring and control, collaborative robotics, advanced predictive maintenance
  • Government and public services: Smart cities, smart ports, interactive public transportation, real-time supply chain tracking, public safety drones, smart parking management
  • Retail: Optimised store deliveries, automated perishables tracking and replenishment, dynamic and personalised in-store pricing and promotions
  • Logistics. Smart warehouse, asset monitoring, autonomous mobile robots, tamper alert, inventory tracking, environmental monitoring, augmented reality
  • Health care: Remote patient monitoring, virtual consultations, remote diagnosis, robotic surgery, fall detection
  • Financial services: Fraud detection, secure transactions, blockchain-based processes, smart contracts, enterprise teamwork/collaboration, training
  • Agriculture: Smart farming, AI-enabled farming drones, crop yield monitoring, soil and nutrient monitoring

Exploring 5G in your organisation

Given the overwhelming number of potential use cases, if your executive team hasn't identified multiple opportunities to transform connectivity in the organisation, you're behind the curve. To catch up, start by considering how you might use 5G-enabled solutions to:

  • Co-ordinate and connect physical and digital aspects of the organisation
  • Manage disparate data sources to generate real-time insights
  • Expand connectivity beyond the walls of the company
  • Build and maintain a robust partner ecosystem
  • Support staff and ensure that core functions aren't neglected in the face of labour shortages

The 5G of everything

For businesses, the combination of 5G and edge computing will bring together data and assets to yield actionable insights, ushering in an era of smart factories, smart cities, smart shelves, smart deliveries, smart farms. And as smart processes proliferate, so will the number of connected devices and the volume of available data—setting in motion an accelerated feedback loop with the ongoing potential to transform every industry at every level.

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