We live in an era of disruption — one that will continue for decades to come. We are introduced to so many new technologies on such a consistent basis that it can all begin to feel a little overwhelming. Artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, augmented reality: these are just a few of the innovations that have transformed our lives over the last few years. It’s because of these advancements that we are able to do and have access to things that would have otherwise been impossible.

Recently, 5G has joined the ranks of some of the most talked-about innovations out there. While 5G is an exciting new opportunity that will benefit both local and global populations, it’s not a newfound idea that appeared out of nowhere. The telecommunications industry has been evolving for quite some time now, and leaders like myself who have been in the industry for a while have been anticipating 5G. When used alongside other new technologies, here is what the future of communications technology can bring.

Edge computing and 5G

5G and other telecom capabilities, like edge computing, are kicking off a new chapter for the industry. The two must work together in order for us to see transformative results. Without edge computing, 5G apps and services would have to connect through the core network to the cloud for computing and storage. As you can imagine, this would require a huge amount of bandwidth, which would make 5G’s positive impact seem futile. 

56 percent of providers are either already planning to utilize edge computing, or have already started to experiment with it. Over the next few years, we should see edge computing and 5G capabilities work to automate workflows, influence faster decision-making, create lower latency, and decrease operational costs.

Ramping up AI efforts in networks

As the industry becomes more digitized, more consumers buy mobile phones, and the demand for more immersive experiences continues to rise, it’s going to require more processing power from networks. By the end of 2022, it’s predicted that over half of enterprise-generated data will be handled outside of data centers.

This is where artificial intelligence is key. AI can handle significant amounts of data much faster in order to provide insights that will drive data decision-making. Apps that need real-time feedback to function will benefit from AI technology. 

Better global connectivity 

5G is a wireless connection to users and will provide lightning-fast speeds. 5G is generally operating with very high frequencies that work only for a limited distance. 5G will work best in urban areas with many demanding users concentrated in small areas, not so much in rural environments where users are spread out over large areas and are miles apart. There are other technologies that are better adapted to provide high speed services in low density regions.

5G was always going to be a natural evolution in communications technology. It is not the answer to everything, but it will improve speed and quality for many users.