Connectivity to and across multiple touchpoints along the Internet of Things ecosystem is critical to every deployment both consumer and business.    Gartner expects the number of connected devices to almost double (from 11B to 20B) between 2018 and 2020 — and the expected arrival of 5G in 2020 could usher in exponential growth.

According to Tim Sherwood, VP of Mobile Strategy, Tata Communications, defined 5G’s benefits for the IoT :

“5th generation wireless systems are enhanced networks that will provide greater speed, lower latency and the ability to connect several devices at once. It will dramatically increase the speed at which data is transferred across the network. 5G will make it easier for people to download and upload video and support thousands of internet-connected devices.”

5G benefits specifically for the IoT being touted by industry experts include:

  • Increases the connection speed between IoT devices and the Web
  • Improves the consistency of experience for users
  • Increases the number of endpoints that can be connected to a network
  • Enables the development of wirelessly connected mission-critical and delay-sensitive services and equipment (e.g. industrial robots)
  • Creates the ability to scale networks up to the promised speeds of 5G and scale down to support narrowband connections
  • Supports more advanced IoT devices and use cases that consume greater bandwidth

An article by stated,

5G becomes more of a necessity when we look towards autonomous vehicles, remote surveillance and increasing interactions across different IoT endpoints leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning. All of these higher bandwidth use cases require a faster, more responsive “network on demand” in order to realize their full potential,” Sherwood explained.

5G promises significant benefits to dramatically increase the viability of the IoT across all industries and use cases. However, a remaining question needs to be asked, “how expensive is 5G to deploy?” According to Manish VP of Communications Business, at Tech Mahindra, stated, “communications service providers (CSPs) are going to need to invest billions of dollars to enable 5G.”  He continued,  “Consumers will continue to demand speed and stability, while CSPs are expected to struggle with declining revenue per byte, combined with the necessity to make large investments in networks, while facing high amounts of debt. Business models will need to evolve so that the revenues accrued are in line with the huge investments that need to be made.”

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