From Hype to Monetization. What You Need to Know about 5G and IoT
If you still have fears about jumping on the 5G bandwagon, it’s time to put those fears behind you. 5G is already proving its worth in enabling a multitude of Internet of Things (IoT) use cases, which is looking to be the future foundation of almost every industry under the sun. Here’s what you need to know, and how you can avoid the hype cycle and take serious steps towards monetization with IoT connectivity.
We should take a moment to point out that although 5G is globally available, a majority of IoT use cases are low power such as asset trackers, smart meters, and sensors. These devices are typically cost sensitive therefore will prefer using 3G or 4G/LTE connectivity over 5G, mainly due to affordable modems. So, whether you’re all into 5G or prefer the well established and reliable 3G/4G global network, you’re still fully covered with floLIVE now and into the future.
What are the Main Types of 5G?
First up, it’s critical to understand the two main types of 5G, standalone and non-standalone. Standalone is also known as SA, while non-standalone is shortened to NSA. Both approaches have had specifications released by 3GPP, with initial rollouts usually NSA deployments.
A NSA 5G connection involves enhancing existing mobile broadband to offer higher data bandwidth and more reliable connectivity. With existing mobile networks and 4G infrastructure, service providers can offer 5G speeds to their consumers, such as mobile or internet subscribers. This approach relies on a LTE EPC, while SA 5G does not.
Pros of NSA will often be quick time to market, maximizing the use of an existing infrastructure, and the ability to boost capacity and increase efficiency with new 5G spectrums. Consumers can enjoy new features such as AR or VR, and more immersive multimedia experiences. For certain IoT use cases, like critical IoT such as manufacturing or healthcare which have critical communication requirements – NSA may be a good fit.
For many IoT use cases however, 5G advances will need higher capacity and very low latency communication and will therefore need standalone 5G technology, which works alongside its own core network architecture. While NSA works for those that want to offer existing consumers faster connectivity, SA is necessary if an enterprise is launching a new service altogether, or wants to build an infrastructure that is not reliant on existing 4G networks.
With a standalone 5G infrastructure, enterprises can facilitate a far wider range of use cases for any kind of IoT device, offering ultra-low latency, and simplified RAN and device architecture.
The Million Dollar Question: Why Do You Need 5G?
So, what can you do with 5G when you’re moving into IoT?
The perks of 5G appear to be built for IoT technology, offering reliable, real-time connectivity with less susceptibility to interference. 5G networks are many magnitudes faster than 4G networks, with a latency that is one tenth what you could achieve with 4G. For use cases that need real-time information to function or use large amounts of data, this has opened doors for the first time.
5G also addresses the issue of sharing bandwidth on radio frequency spectrum, which was for a long time considered to be a blocker to massive IoT, where billions of devices need to transmit and receive data. 4G networks only use bands between 600 MHz and 3GHz, while 5G IoT can use any bands from below 1 GHZ to more than 100GHz. Not only this, but by using 5G networks, carriers will also be able to use unlicensed bands, providing more options and flexibility.
5G networks are not only faster, less congested, and support low latency use cases, but they also offer greater security, with the ability to encrypt network traffic, and offer deeper authentication mechanisms. For sensitive IoT use cases such as healthcare or manufacturing, this is music to enterprises’ ears.
Use Cases for 5G Technology in IoT
Now let’s talk practical use cases. Here are just a few examples of industries that can launch IoT use cases with the help of 5G technology – not at some vague point in the future, but right now, with ease.
Smart cities: The sensors that make a smart city function efficiently are heavily reliant on 5G technology, specifically multi-access edge computing, or MEC. According to Intel, “MEC and 5G allow developers to build applications with lower latency, high performance, and greater reliability. These technologies can positively impact a wide range of use cases involving automated mass transit, smart parking, crowd management, emergency response, environmental monitoring, and many more.” Enterprises looking to utilize 5G in smart cities projects should consider smart mobility like traffic sensors, autonomous vehicles, and systems to manage congestion, public safety such as infrastructure monitoring and security cameras, and utilities use cases such as smart grids, smart waste disposal for a smart home, or power consumption in public spaces.
Healthcare: Real-time connectivity is critical in healthcare, and according to Global Market Insights, the 5G market in healthcare will be worth $80B by 2030. However, the high deployment costs of 5G networks are holding back its potential. If enterprises can find a way to sidestep heavy hardware costs, perhaps through a cloud-native approach to IoT, there are a wide range of revolutionary use cases and benefits. Think about remote patient monitoring through an increased use of wearable technologies and the ability to obtain fast and reliable data transmission, a surge in telehealth services – even including remote surgeries in more rural or developing areas, and the potential of decentralized clinical trials to get support for new medicines and treatments faster.
Automotive: 5G is set to make the automotive industry safer and more efficient. Connected vehicles can be programmed with mobile IoT sensors for speed control or to automatically support better traffic management when there are road closures or accidents. 5G will also allow for real-time updates to give drivers more time to react and avoid accidents, and even support remote operation of vehicles where necessary, for example in fleet management of industrial vehicles. The sheer accuracy of 5G technology opens doors for consumer use cases such as smarter navigation, location-based monetization opportunities, multimedia systems, and OTA updates. Mass production updates mean that routes can be optimized for the best use of fuel, and commercial vehicles can optimize routes to better manage carbon emissions and costs. On the back end, OEMs can also see the benefits. According to Team Lease Digital, “through highly connected networks, driver patterns, performance of vehicles, etc. can be analysed to optimize design and other features by manufacturers.”
Manufacturing: In Manufacturing, 5G is ushering in the true age of Industry 4.0. According to PWC, “by eliminating the need for wired connectivity, 5G will supplement the high-speed manufacturing environment with a far greater degree of flexibility. And the sheer richness of the 5G-enabled factory, which will have the capacity to maintain connections among far more sensors than either wired or previous wireless facilities, offers the potential to connect just about anything.” Low latency means that manufacturers can simplify the monitoring and maintenance of machines of all kinds, tracking assets, equipment, productivity metrics, and even performing proactive troubleshooting and optimizing production quality and quantity. 5G can help manufacturers work in a more modular way, where just because one machine isn’t working, the rest of production doesn’t need to grind to a halt. To get the most out of 5G capabilities, manufacturing plants and factories will need a single pane of glass view into all of their devices and sensors, and an easy way to track operational health, network events, and troubleshooting.
How floLIVE Offers a Smarter Option for 5G
Today, many companies are already offering 5G-enabled hardware, and you won’t find an IoT service provider that doesn’t reference the ability to support 5G. However, many of these companies have put the sticker on the tin, but have very little inside.
At floLIVE, we offer 5G coverage through our network of mobile operator partners in a variety of countries. Many of these partners have their own carrier partners, so that when you’re ready to deploy 5G solutions, you can do so with confidence, and without being locked into any specific carrier for coverage. That means if prices are hiked, or contracts change, you have the flexibility to choose a new partner that meets your specific business needs, with no vendor lock-in in sight.
Like everything we offer at floLIVE, the way it works is simple. From a single floLIVE SIM, or in the first profile of an eUICC SIM, your enterprise gains access to our vast IMSI library, allowing devices to seamlessly and compliantly connect, anywhere in the world. You don’t even need to know where devices will be sent after the point of manufacture. On arrival, they will connect to local connectivity in-region, so that data privacy mandates are not an issue as data remains in -region, and you’re always compliant with regulations such as GDPR. As devices are connecting locally, there’s no issue of permanent roaming, and low latency use cases are easy to meet.
floLIVE is a fully cloud-native solution, and has wide coverage of all cellular technologies, from 2G-5G and beyond, as well as NB-IoT and CAT-M, all from a single SIM and with a single SKU. Watch this space for NB-IoT over satellite, too!
At floLIVE, we know that 5G is far from just a buzzword, and we’re ready to support a brighter, 5G-enabled future. If you’re thinking about how you can use 5G to monetize your own new products and services, we should talk.