The IoT Generation Will Need 5G
The next generation of cellular communications (5G) will facilitate the free flow of diverse information upon which a mauture IoT depends.
The time to define 5G in pure technical terms has passed. Guidelines for the next generation of mobile networks defining desired latency, bandwidth usage and capacity are already in place, cultivating discussions about what 5G will do for society.
This brings back memories from past decades when I was asking myself if I would ever need a 1GB hard drive when I couldn’t even fill up my 100MB disk! Or when I heard that mobile phones were as small and functional as they could ever be. With more and more data being produced, stored and shared everywhere, the question now is: how will 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) play together?
IoT will only be fully realized when data and information are free flowing between different systems, geographies, vendors and industries, providing highly integrated end-to-end solutions. The main difference between what we experience today and this vision is that future solutions will only take relevant components, or IoT building blocks, from a complex ecosystem of data, services, platforms, vendors and industries in a fast, dynamic and efficient way to produce the information we need. This is when the IoT Generation reaches maturity, and where 5G becomes a fundamental enabler, providing the much required flexibility in connectivity and the core tools needed to enable communication between bespoke and standardized IoT building blocks.
Today in the transport sector, as an example, we have relatively good information for some locations on how we could go from A to B in a multi-modal fashion, involving walking, driving, public transportation, etc. This is complemented with real-time crowdsourcing information from others on our routes. The problem, however, starts when our situation changes without any warning. This might be due to planned roadwork, or traffic jams, which could have been avoided even before starting the journey. This is not only a problem of how to integrate more data into current solutions, but also of how the traffic systems from multiple cities can intercommunicate, how large amounts of relevant information are filtered and sourced dynamically, and how an automated system will make sense of dynamically changing network and data conditions on a seamless national or global basis.