The fifth generation of mobile telecommunications standards, 5G, is not the linear extension of the four previous generations (1G, 2G, 3G and 4G) that have emerged over the last thirty years. On the contrary, the set of technologies underpinning this latest standard will make 5G the disruptive generation, the generation that will utterly transform the economy. There are three main reasons for this.
First, 5G will boost capacity enormously, and not just in terms of theoretical performance, as early demonstrations have shown. 5G will take us decisively into the era of ultra-high-speed, with data transmission speeds potentially 10 times — or even 100 times — faster than 4G. Second, 5G will be disruptive because of its extremely low latency. The data transmission delay with 4G is in the order of tens of milliseconds, while with 5G it could be less than a millisecond, which is virtually real time. And third, the extensive network coverage of 5G will provide "connectivity everywhere" and support high connection densities, with up to 1 million devices per square kilometre connected simultaneously.
Very large-scale development of AI and IoT
This unprecedented boom in connectivity will make it possible to develop the Internet of Things (IoT) and industrial uses of artificial intelligence (AI) at scale. Tomorrow, 5G will provide the infrastructure we need to roll out the innovations that are so promising today.
"The main interest is B2B."
So 5G opens up a whole world of new possibilities. Up to and including 4G, consumers were the first to benefit from each new generation of wireless technology. By contrast, the main interest of 5G lies in B2B markets. This next generation of mobile telecommunications will be the enabler for the digital transformation of B2B and is set to become the backbone of industrial operations is the broadest sense.
This applies to all of Thales's areas of business. In the transport market, for example, 5G combined with AI and IoT clears the route for connected and autonomous vehicles — not only self-driving cars but autonomous trains, planes and drones as well. In the highly promising field of Smart Cities, there will be significantly more ways to manage the life of the community in near real time, not only to enhance security and mobility but also to measure pollution, optimise energy consumption, improve waste management, etc. The list is virtually endless. In the defence sector, 5G will cross a new frontier in battlefield digitalisation by enabling connected, collaborative combat. For the armed forces, data capabilities will be more crucial than ever to operational supremacy.