5G wi-fi killer and the internet of skills, what’s it all about?
When 4G arrived on our smartphones, it changed the way we use them in a significant way, but these changes came subtly and gradually, as more and more people upgraded to a 4G compatible smartphone. One of the main changes that smartphone users now take for granted is the advancements in streaming technology, especially when it comes to music. Services such as Apple Play and Spotify have since become the new way to listen to music through our devices. This streaming technology has seemingly made the concept of MP3 obsolete.
Before services like Apple Play and Spotify, we were expected to download tracks or albums from iTunes (or wherever else), store the data on our phones and listen to the track this way. Today, however, we no longer need to store MP3s (or other data formats) by using our device’s storage. We can simply stream it from the cloud, along with anything else we may choose to listen to.
This convenient new way of enjoying audio which not only enhances our internet of skills knowledge comes at a cost, it eats into our data allowance in a way that storing the data on our phones didn’t. Of course, this isn’t a problem if you’re hooked up to nearby Wi-Fi, but if you’re not; then steaming from your cellular network is likely going to drain your data allowance quickly.
5G could change streaming forever
By all reports, the 5G network is set to finally be the infrastructure to rival Wi-Fi. Super-fast broadband internet on the go is the new standard for cellular networks. If this turns out to be true, then it will make streaming data, be it music or video, even smoother and much easier to do. The difficulty is this added ease will encourage us to do more of it.
If 5G communications are indeed set to become the ‘Wi-Fi killer’ it’s touted to be, then do data providers need to catch up? Home broadband packages haven’t generally capped our data usage for a long time. The concept of a ‘download limit’ is largely forgotten, this is because streaming required it to be. It would be impossible to have one family member watching YouTube while another watched Netflix in a different room if such an idea still existed. We’d probably run out of data within hours.
Is the concept of a data allowance outdated?
So if this is the case, and the concept of a data allowance is long antiquated in our homes, then why does it still exist in cellular form? Streaming outside of the home is becoming just as commonplace as streaming within it. The market is evolving and it seems that data providers may need to catch up if they are to remain relevant in a world that uses a 5G network.
While data packages have indeed become more generous in recent years, we expect this isn’t going to be enough to keep up with the demand that streaming encourages. Once 5G is fully rolled out, and more streaming services become available, providers are going to need to re-think their current strategy.
It’s entirely possible that providers will see 5G as an opportunity to further monetize data and continue to charge a premium, but doing so may force users to change their habits, or not take advantage of new services enabled by a 5G network.
We expect customers will want to enjoy the speed, along with the next generation of apps that a 5G network will usher in. We also expect they will want to do this without being billed every step of the way. Finally, we expect data providers to bend and break a lot sooner than consumers will.
5G and the internet is democratising our knowledge
As a result of emerging ultra-low latency 5G. Artificial intelligence, robotics, and haptic technology will eventually democratise manual labour as well as our existing knowledge base. Remote skillset delivery, spanning the entire globe, could be powered by what’s known as, the ‘Internet of Skills’.
Imagine a surgeon sitting in London, performing surgery on a patient in Nigeria, in real-time. Or, an excavator operator in Indonesia, digging up ground at a construction site in Argentina. Problems getting access to the right skills due to global location could now be a thing of the past.
Converging technology enablers
The Internet of Skills concept is based on the ability for a person with a skillset, to remotely operate a robot on the other side of the world. Remote operation requires ultra-low latency, or delay, between signals passing back and forth, between the operator and robot.
To provide the operator with 360 augmented video through a headset, and haptic and force feedback, requires huge bandwidth for data transmission. Haptic feedback gives the operator a sense of touch through a Human Machine Interface (HMI) e.g. joystick, suit or exoskeleton.
For the first time in telecommunications, 5G networks have a low enough latency and high enough bandwidth, to enable this. Artificial Intelligence could also be deployed to learn how the operator moves, predicting actions to make the robot’s manoeuvres smoother.
Operating an excavator, or digger, remotely, has safety and cost benefits. Construction sites are dangerous places, with many workers killed or seriously injured every year. By taking the human out of harm’s way, injuries could be eliminated.
As well as the emotional and health costs of accidents, the economic costs of losing a skilled worker, and the efforts of emergency service workers could be eradicated.
Humanoid art teachers
Teaching children to paint and sculpt could also be provided remotely, through a human-like robot. Some areas of the world struggle to find art teachers to expand the creative minds of kids at school. Whereas, in other areas, there is a surplus of art teachers. It, therefore, makes sense to use 5G, AI, robotics and haptic technology to help fill this gap at the click of a mouse.
Education as a whole is a key area combined with the impending arrival of 5G, where the Internet of Skills has the potential to make a big difference in the future. Watch this space.