This Blogpost was written by Eric Boonstra, MD of EvoSwitch
Although it is still a few years away, the mobile telecommunications industry is already abuzz with plans and visions for a 5G world. Slowly a picture is starting to emerge that promises to have deep impact on business models and the technologies that drive them. Many expect it to become the enabler of a truly connected world, of people and specifically, ‘things’.
The Internet of Things Enabler
As is often the case with new standards still in development, 5G means different things based on who you ask. Mobile operators, producers of hand sets, governments all have different interpretations. Sticking to specifics, these are some of the goals of 5G that are broadly supported and will have a big impact, especially on the Internet of Things (IoT):
Increased data volume
Faster data transfer speeds
More devices per square kilometer
When studying the above aspects of what 5G will bring, it’s clear to see that IoT has been at the center of the development. To start, 5G will enable file transfers that are 1,000 times bigger than under current 4G, without performance impact. Consider that currently, an Airbus A350 comes equipped with close to 6,000 sensors across its body and wings, generating a staggering 2.5Tb of data each day of flight. Its successor in the same A350 model due for commercial service in 2020 will have three times more sensors collecting data.
5G will reduce latency, mostly in the connection between the endpoint device and the base station it is connected to. This will enable (near) real time control of applications on the same network, or elsewhere connected via the Internet.
Faster data transfers have always be the most noteable improvement with each generation of mobile communications. For 5G, it will mean 1-10Gbps (topping out at an incredible 20Gbps) connections to endpoint devices in the field, more speed than most current fixed broadband Internet offers.
The amount of devices that can concurrently communicate with base stations is a very important feature of 5G, important for IoT applications. Some estimates come to one million devices per square kilometer. Imagine the impact on logistics, where now packages are scanned at intermittent hops in the delivery process, to packages that communicate independently about their exact location.
To close off the list, improved energy efficiency will mean an improved action radius for applications, giving applications bigger autonomy between charges.
The impact will be felt in all sectors of IT. Logistics, Robotics, Big Data, Business Intelligence, immediately come to mind and will all have an enormous opportunity to prepare for in the coming years. Ubiquitous broadband connectivity for millions of mobile endpoints, starting in major cities, transport hubs and highways and gradually finding its way to all corners of a truly interconnected economy.
Impact On Data Centers
This impact will most certainly be felt in the data center industry, seen as a primary benefactor of this oncoming tidal wave of data. To be sure, a big chunk will go straight to big public clouds, interconnected at Edge data centers like EvoSwitch. But for companies to analyze, and take real time decisions, many organizations will look to hybrid cloud deployments at those same data centers to compute and store part of the data at least in a secure, scalable and compliant fashion.
“We believe that data center operators that provide interconnected, scalable, compliant and secure environments for organizations to build and host their Hybrid IT environments, stand to gain from the opportunity that is the Internet of Things,” agrees Andy Lawrence, Research Vice President – Data Center Technologies & Eco-Efficient IT at 451 Research and writer of ‘5G: Innovation, disruption and opportunity ahead’.
Finally, the term ‘mobile endpoint’ seems apt. In a human-driven mobile world that focuses mostly on pulling data, i.e. downloading content to a smart phone or tablet, the term has evolved from mobile phone to handheld device and we are now at ‘endpoint device’, but it still puts human control central. Under 5G, we will talk more of mobile endpoints, because SIM cards will appear everywhere and quickly overtake us as the prominent users. Who controls those SIMs, and whether they will be reprogrammable or not, will also play an important part in the enablement of the Internet of Things in the years to come.
Eric Boonstra, MD EvoSwitch
Download the complimentary 451 Research report here.