Axis Innovation Team | April, 8 2020
5G use cases and the Coronavirus hurdle
In 2019, major telecom operators and corporations claimed that 2020 would be the year where 5G goes mainstream. Since then, the Coronavirus pandemic has challenged all projections and plans for industries worldwide. While we may see fewer 5G devices shipped this year than expected, 5G implementation and growth has remained strong. However, for the average consumer — and the telcos providing them services — questions remain about how they will use or benefit from 5G. So, the search continues. What are some of the main consumer use cases of 5G, and how can 5G help consumer industries that have been affected by the pandemic?
5G is not simply something that will make browsing on our phones a little faster. In fact, it might just feed into various parts of our lives and transform what we can do and how we can experience everything. In this blog post, let’s take a look at 5 areas where consumers can see massive benefit as the industries discussed could be significantly enhanced by 5G. Moreover, the combination of 5G technology and Coronavirus can lead to unique solutions which may not otherwise have been considered.
In such an uncertain time, a business needs to give itself the best chance of continuing its operations without major cash flow concerns. For that reason, entrepreneurs need to recognise the value in having cash now. To this end, Adam Eisenberg pointed out that startups need not to be over-ambitious with their valuations. They rather need to be realistic and be ready to make a deal if there is a reasonable offer on the table. François Paulus agreed — asserting that a startup should accept money while it can, rather than declining a VC who wants to negotiate.
Many 5G solutions for tourism combine physical travel with immersive experiences. Augmented Reality (AR) has a large role in this, as was shown by Telefonica and MediaPro as they revealed their 5G AR bus windows in Barcelona, displaying information and imagery as never seen before while travelling. 5G data and location service capabilities are vital to such a technology. So too could they be helpful for an app like Podwalk — providing you with a virtual tour guide with site-specific audio content — or for a particular Catalyst Project by tmforum — a video-based experience taking you back to the past whilst exploring the Roman Baths in the UK. However, all these solutions, and many others like them, can disrupt the travel experience using 5G but are challenged until people begin to travel again for leisure post-corona.
A second type of tourism innovation uses immersive technology such as virtual reality, to virtually transport people to tourist sites and engage with other travelers, all without leaving their home. Google has a site of this kind, allowing users to tour museums and famous places from their phones, using 360-degree views and more. AR/VR Journey takes an interesting look at this topic and highlights leading startups in the space, such as Realities.io — a platform which transports people to historical sites and places that aren’t open for public viewing. We expect this type of “virtual tourism” to see a boom in growth thanks to both 5G and the Coronavirus.
Retail is another industry heavily hit by Coronavirus. However, e-commerce and digital retail has seen a boom, and this trend is expected to continue. But once consumers return to shopping in physical stores post-Corona, how will 5G change the experience?
As pointed out by Mckinsey in their paper on the ‘Connected World’ and shown strongly through our current crisis, the young world is moving towards e-commerce — meaning that physical stores need to find a way to provide a more attractive experience to those who currently prefer the online option. The paper shows that 5G could be the catalyst for this improvement, allowing for a frictionless in-store experience and enhanced personalization, through improving technology such as sensors, artificial intelligence, and advanced analytics. 5G’s impact could also be seen through lower power consumption in the IoT space and increased network capacity, facilitating better-connected spaces and immersive experiences in retail stores. Practical examples are automated checkout, gamification, inventory tracking and personalized promotions. Amazon Go, Trigo Vision, and similar startups are revolutionizing and digitizing the shopping experience using 5G.
Gaming has seen a dramatic growth in usage during the Coronavirus — Nokia reported 400% growth in gaming usage in March 2020 . Combined with 5G, gaming is ripe for a massive breakthrough in capabilities thanks to surging demand. Low latency is the major benefit of 5G when it comes to the needs of gamers. A gamer needs their actions to be picked up immediately, or else they may see their downfall on the leaderboard fast. Better live streaming and speed will be possible, without the need for devices with high computing power, according to Intel. Virtual reality (VR) will also receive a major boost from 5G, allowing for more realistic and lag-free experiences for VR gamers. China Mobile and Ubitus have recently launched a 5G cloud-based gaming service, which is expected to attract significant attention and is seen as a way to attract more 5G users. Just how enhanced the gamer’s experience will be, through this, is yet to be seen. But, excitement is certainly high in this space. According to Marc Cook, in a gaming-related panel by Venture Beat, large growth in gaming has come about because of free-to-play mobile games. It is expected that the gaming quality that will come from 5G will increase in-app purchases and also increase 5G subscriptions, which will benefit those who need to profit from all of this. Meanwhile, gamers will be satisfied, as their purchases will seemingly be worthwhile as they enjoy a highly sophisticated gaming experience.
4. Smart homes:
As we all spend more time at home these days, connectivity at home becomes an even more critical issue. Smart home and IOT devices are booming and the combination of 5G and more time spent at home will accelerate their adoption. 5G can bring together all these things and make our homes a fully functioning network that makes everything that we want to control easier, but more advanced. 5G is expected to work on low-power devices, allowing any plugged-in device to connect directly to 5G — a more reliable option than normal Wi-Fi. This was discussed by IoT Evolution, where it was also pointed out that 5G will allow for more devices to be used on the network at a time without much of a noticeable loss of speed. While we may now tend to think of more common uses of this such as browsing and streaming, the real benefit could come through smart home uses such as security, optimized power and water usage and excellent IoT connectedness leading to personalization like never before. An app like TouchWand, on which you can control multiple smart home functions, would certainly become even more beneficial to consumers through more efficient connectedness of the home network. And, all of this can be protected by a solution like SAM Seamless Network — making your 5G smart home network secure despite all of its complex parts.
5. Connected vehicles:
Automotive vehicles are quickly becoming more connected and soon will be autonomous, driving up massive data and requiring 5G technology. Although not an area which will be as severely hit by the Coronavirus as the other areas, vehicles will already see benefits today and dramatic benefits in the future. V2X is a catchphrase — vehicle-to-everything communications which will become significantly more efficient in the 5G era. A 5G-focused article by Infopulse states that “by 2022, 100% of new vehicles shipped by OEMs will come equipped with smart telematics and other connectivity systems”, indicating just how serious manufacturers are about the connected car. Apps with the greatest opportunity for growth in this space have been identified as entertainment, driving and navigation, and productivity — as discussed in the Axis Innovation industry report on the In-Car Experience. An example of an app which brings these all together is the Alexa Auto by Amazon which can act as your co-pilot while driving, with its various voice-activated features. As discussed on Digital Trends, 5G will make such an app more reliable with its additional bandwidth and lower latency, and will allow for new features that can help to provide a fast and complete experience of Alexa while driving.
5G had big plans in 2020 before the Coronavirus pandemic — and these plans have become even more critical today. For consumers, we can expect the combination of 5G adoption and greater need for advanced services due to Corona to catalyze new innovations and services.
At Axis Innovation, we are monitoring the deployment of 5G and many applications of the technology, as well as how it will impact consumers as part of our new telco initiative TIGR, connecting global telco operators with Israeli startup solutions. For more information on TIGR, visit www.tigr.axisinnovation.com.