*NEW* 5G; Not just a technology revolution, but a customer experience revolution
Analysts and commercial players alike are looking upon the emergence of 5G mobile not just as a revolution in technology, but also as the catalyst for a customer experience or CX revolution. Fifth-generation wireless or 5G offers a download speed of 10 gigabytes per second, which is ten times faster than 4G.
Simply put, with 5G networking, any activities on the wireless mobile platform will occur much more quickly than they currently do. And with virtually no performance lags on the network, issues such as dropped calls, choppy audio, or distorted images pretty much won’t happen.
The new standard promises to speed up the internet, expand the scope of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) deployments, and open up new levels of capability for connecting on mobile devices.
A Platform For Multi-Level Connections
As we’ve noted, the "G" in 5G stands for “generation.” 1G was introduced in 1982, 2G launched in 1992, and 3G appeared in the early 2000s. 4G was standardised in 2012. With some networks coming online in 2019, 5G should see wide scale adoption by 2020.
Each generation is characterised by features of the service such as frequency bands, advances in transmission technology, and bit rates. At maximum performance, 4G networks have a theoretical download speed of 1 gigabyte per second. 5G networks start at 10 gigabytes per second, and could possibly go up to 20 or beyond. 5G also offers lower latency or network lag, which essentially means less time for information to travel through the system.
In addition to raw speed and stability, 5G offers a form of segmentation known as network slicing. The technique allows for multiple virtual networks to be created on top of a shared physical infrastructure, together with the ability to span across multiple parts of a network such as the core network, transport layer, or access network. Each network slice can create an end to end virtual network with both compute and storage functionality.
Network slicing truly comes into its own at the contact centre. 5G and Network Slicing will allow call centre administrators to add new capabilities without having to reroute their network, and to configure different levels of security for different zones. So for example, the containers for voice recording and transcription services could be assigned with different security profiles and compliance requirements.
This new generation of wireless networking will need to meet the complex challenges of combining communications and computing together, so that information and intelligence are readily available to consumers, and the products and services with which they interact.
Wearable devices, beacons, and sensors of the Internet of Things (IoT) are already demonstrating their potential for automating processes and creating personalised experiences for users. Innovations like this can also benefit sellers and service providers.
For example, embedded sensors in IoT-enabled products can send valuable diagnostic and user information back to manufacturers and suppliers. By monitoring how customers are using their products, these companies can spot patterns, enabling them to notify customers about necessary product maintenance, or to carry out real-time market research for improving future products.
The emerging technology of autonomous or driverless vehicles currently faces a roadblock in providing the kind of split-second and on the spot decision-making necessary to avoid accidents. Machine learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems performing predictive analytics for preventative maintenance also require more readily available computing power and real-time or rapid response capabilities.
Many of these problems can be addressed through edge computing, which transfers processing and analytical power to the outer reaches of a network, where they can be harnessed on the spot by the devices that actually need them. 5G networks may provide the speed and functionality that enables edge processing to occur in real time, bypassing the cloud.
In fact, the need to connect the growing number of IoT devices was one of the driving forces behind the development of 5G. The fifth generation of mobile is designed to help these devices instantly communicate back and forth between their makers and their users to deliver content, process decisions, and identify and solve issues quickly and efficiently.
The 5G revolution is beginning just as other game-changing technologies, such as edge computing, the Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence, are coming into their own. For businesses of all kinds, this combination of elements has the potential to transform the way they operate, and how they interact with their customers.
5G Will Connect Businesses With Consumers
The adoption of 5G will cause a significant shift in consumer behaviour, with users relying more on their mobile devices to enjoy the high-speed connectivity. One of the promises of 5G is that download speeds for streaming media will be so high, that viewers can ship an entire Hollywood movie to their device in a matter of seconds. A study by Ovum asserts that the average monthly data consumption per user will grow from 11.7GB in 2019 to 84.4GB per month in 2028 - out of which 90% of the usage will be attributable to video.
With the much higher speeds of 5G, loading times for content and applications will reduce, leading some analysts to predict a decrease in the usage of ad blockers (a defence against the slowing down of the mobile experience caused by big advertising files). In adjusting to this new reality, marketers and service providers will have to identify effective ways of harnessing the power and opportunities 5G has to offer.
For example, augmented reality requires high network bandwidth and low latency, as even a slight lag in streaming disrupts the experience. With 5G, the restrictions currently limiting the adoption of AR techniques no longer apply, and immersive experiences on mobile may become the norm, rather than the exception.
As 5G technology becomes more widespread, a greater reliance on conversational AI, voice, and screenless search is also anticipated. A recent study released by travel technology company Amadeus reports that ‘Super apps’, voice-enabled bookings, and 5G rollout will have a significant impact on business travel during 2020.
A major shift is occurring between human and computer interaction, particularly with voice technology across the Asia Pacific region. As travel companies continue to invest in voice technology, businesses gain quicker access to the traveller’s profile, real-time alerts, and in-flight amenity checks - all from within a single natural sentence. This means that travel consultants and travellers won’t have to go through multiple screens. Instead they will soon be able to achieve the same goal much more quickly, using voice.
This same shift applies to marketing. Organisations must therefore prepare to create content that is conversational, while allowing their brand personality to shine through. Companies capable of devising the most efficient ways to sell high value and high engagement products via voice will become winners, under 5G.
The new network and related technology are already finding practical applications. In April 2019, InterContinental Hotels chain teamed up with Chinese telecom Shenzhen Telecom and handset maker Huawei to wire what they billed as the world’s first 5G-powered hotel. The InterContinental Shenzhen will offer an “immersive entertainment experience” including welcome robots that offer hotel and destination information and handle guest deliveries, virtual reality games, 4K streaming video, and a VR rowing machine for guests in hotel suites.