Technology, Media and Telecommunications

Speed on the move

Greater availability of 5G mobile networks and the widespread use of artificial intelligence; these are the two trends set to have the biggest impact on the technology, media and telecommunications space in the coming years.

In 2019, operators will move from 5G testing to official rollouts, with some 50 mobile networks offering the service by the end of 2020. In that same year, 15 to 20 million 5G-enabled smartphones will be sold, accounting for roughly 1 percent of all handset sales, says Deloitte.

High speed

The chief advantage of 5G over today’s 4G standard is greater speed. Tests in San Francisco run by chipmaker Qualcomm found average data transfer jumped 20 times from 71 megabits per second with 4G to 1.4 gigabits per second with 5G. Latency will be lower too, meaning that when a user sends a message to the network, instead of waiting 60 milliseconds to receive a response, they’ll hear back in just 20 milliseconds.

The path to new technologies

The extra bandwidth 5G provides will be essential to the performance and reliability of data-intensive, next generation technologies, including:

Internet of Things

Autonomous vehicles

Remote surgery

5G is a long-term project. Although it will launch in many locations over the next few years, some countries will need to wait as long as a decade before they have access to the high-speed network. In the meantime, 4G will continue to be the standard, growing its user base to more than half of mobile phone subscribers worldwide by 2023.

Artificially intelligent but truly insightful

As 5G gains traction, so too will the applications it powers such as artificial intelligence, or AI. Until now, the most active players in the AI space have been big companies like Amazon and Google. Historically, they alone have possessed the expertise, computer power and large data sets required to make the most of the technology.

But today, that established state of affairs is subject to change, as those same big tech firms take what they have learned about AI and use that knowledge to build programs and platforms for release to the wider market. This is a democratization of access to AI which promises to spread the benefits of the technology far beyond the tech sector.  

Startups are getting in on the act too

With several early-stage companies with AI at the heart of what they do valued at over $1 billion. Among this club of so-called “unicorns” are:

Cybersecurity specialists Crowdstrike

C3, a provider of enterprise software whose AI can handle tasks such as predictive maintenance, fraud detection and customer engagement.

Automation Anywhere, whose platform automates work across a range of sectors including finance and healthcare

These startups, together with the more established tech giants, are set to bring technologies like 5G and AI into more and more areas of our lives. When our homes, offices, cars and smartphones are all talking to each other online, 5G will be there to move all the data at speed. AI, meanwhile, will take the data and extract insights from it. But it doesn’t take a smart machine to see that our online and offline lives are set to become more interconnected than at any time in history.

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