The world’s population is quickly moving to cities, virtually every country in the world is experiencing an increase in urbanisation. In fact, that increase is projected to accelerate in the coming decades. Based on current rates, two-thirds of the world’s population is forecast to reside in cities by 2050. Over the next 40 years, urban centres will see an astonishing 1 million new residents arriving each week.
To cater to the demands of the future, we need stronger, more reliable networks for mobile connectivity. That’s where 5G comes in. 5G offers wireless speeds comparable to today’s wired broadband while delivering better energy efficiency than modern 4G networks.
As the next step in the evolution of mobile communication, the key aim of 5G is to provide connectivity everywhere for any kind of device that may benefit from being connected. 5G will support a wide range of new applications and use cases, including smart homes, traffic safety, critical infrastructure, industry processes and very-high-speed media delivery. And it will accelerate the development of the Internet of Things.
This will be one of the most significant technological transformations of the twenty-first century, with implications for nearly all sectors of society, including labour and financial markets, as well as shaping demand for goods and services. In response, technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and automation have great potential to improve the way we live and work.
To meet the demands of the new applications and use cases, the capabilities of 5G will extend far beyond previous generations of mobile communication. Examples are very high data rates, very short delay (latency), ultra-high reliability, high energy efficiency and ability to handle many more devices within the same area. But it is about far more than powering smartphones.
In a time of crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, information and communication are critical. Mobile networks are an essential part of the communications backbone that enables health workers, public safety officials and critical businesses to stay connected during this global crisis.
As we continue toward a more urbanised world, the need for 5G becomes truly paramount. Now more than ever, we have a responsibility towards our users. A responsibility to prepare for the many new innovations and emerging challenges, and eventually foster a smarter, connected and more technologically advanced future.
By Zoran Lazarevic, CTO at Ericsson Middle East and Africa