This is the first post of our three-part takeaway series from MWCA 2018. In this post, we discuss The Connected Future and what 5G will bring; including how it will provide a lift for both AI and VR technologies. Part II of our coverage discusses the impact 5G, AI & social data will have on mobile retail sales. In Part III, we cover how IoT fits into the 5G landscape.

Quick Notes on 5G

  • $833 billion – is its economic value
  • $114 billion in public funding has been pledged to build a 5G infrastructure
  • 2.4 million jobs will be created as a result
  • An 87% increase in wireless jobs is expected

The kick off keynote for MWCA (Mobile World Congress Americas) 2018 was hosted by Mats Granryd, Director General of GSMA and included noted speakers Meredith Attwell Baker, President and CEO of CTIA (which B-Stock is a member of) and Marcelo Claure, Executive Chairman, Sprint (an avid spokesman for the Sprint / T-Mobile merger). The keynote covered the major topics surrounding the future of 5G and how artificial intelligence (AI) will play a critical role.

According to Granryd, nearly three fourths of the Americas are already connected online; when 5G is deployed (available through Verizon in October 2018 and Sprint in early 2019), streaming speeds, connectivity and low latency will be dramatically improved. A key example of how 5G will impact media is in the ability to live stream HD video in a 360 degree view; this will provide an immersive way to consume content and new ways to experience events such as concerts and sports (on some levels, this is already happening through the NextVR’s LiveNation and NBA League Pass).

5G + VR

When it comes to retail, 5G will enable businesses to provide a VR (virtual reality) experience of their brick & mortar store so consumers can shop without leaving their home. In addition to VR, hologram technology becomes possible with 5G speeds (anyone having visions of Star Wars?). Holograms will take video chat to a whole new level for not only conference calls, but for visiting with family and friends.

From retail and media consumption to education to water conservation and wildlife preservation; not to mention smart homes, smart buildings and smart cities, 5G has the potential to transform many industries.

When 5G + AI Collide

When 5G is combined with AI, a picture of the future comes into focus: in time, personal assistants will know our environments and our needs; they will all be controlled by voice with no need for keyboard input. We are already seeing connectivity improvements with AI through chat bots installed in cars (think Android Auto and Apple Carplay). Tech devices like Google’s Echo dot and Amazon’s Alexa are already in living rooms. As time progresses, these virtual assistants will be integral to self-driving cars or to help consumers make their next purchase. For this to happen, the AI required to run the software will rely on the high connectivity speeds and low latency that 5G will provide.  

Advancements in 5G and AI will transform how robots, sensors and cameras work together to provide real time information flows. Amazon has already started using this technology in three different Go stores located throughout Seattle, boasting—no lines, no checkout, just grab and go! Additionally, retail companies can use these technologies—5G, AI, cameras, sensors and robots collectively—to not only track inventory in the warehouse but in the stores as well (not to mention overstock and returned inventory).

This is the first post of a three-part takeaway series from MWCA ‘18. Part II of our coverage discusses the impact 5G, AI & social data will have on mobile retail sales. In Part III, we cover how IoT fits into the 5G landscape.