How Will 5G Impact Our Lives?

An article by Marc, Editor at IoT Business News.

5G is slowly being rolled out in many countries around the world, with most major mobile networks in the UK, Europe and the United States offering services. Like the roll out of 3G and 4G before it, 5G will be available in the most densely populated areas first, before the coverage is slowly expanded to the majority of each country.

5G promises more than just faster internet speeds on our mobile devices so that we don’t have to wait for our videos to buffer, it unlocks a world of new technologies that need faster connections.

Here are a few of those technologies.

Virtual Reality

Virtual RealityThe true power of virtual reality will be unleashed by 5G technology. A fully immersive VR experience requires a full 360 degree video in high definition to be beamed to each eye. This is considerably more data than just a normal HD video, meaning more bandwidth is required. For gaming and other interactive uses of VR, these “video streams” must be created on the fly and therefore low latency connections are required to prevent lag. 5G will provide this low latency, making VR a more reliable and practical tool.

Whilst virtual reality will likely benefit greatly from 5G technology, VR services do already exist with examples including virtual field trips, new training opportunities for doctors, and even a way to treat patients with certain mental health conditions.

Another area that has already embraced virtual reality is gaming, companies like Facebook and Sony have been investing heavily in the technology, releasing their own headsets. These games are mostly aimed at hard-core fans rather than those than enjoy games more casually, this is because the hardware requirements are quite high and therefore cost considerable sums of money.

An example of this can be seen in the system requirements for PokerStars VR, which requires a minimum of 8GB of RAM, 4 USB ports, a NVIDIA GTX 1060 graphics card and an Intel i5-4590 processor. This is not something that 5G will be able to overcome, and therefore VR will likely remain a technology for enthusiasts and commercial use.

Autonomous Vehicles

autonomous vehiclesSome of the biggest technology companies have been testing self driving cars for several years, with several of them regularly driving around the streets of US cities. One of the biggest factors holding back autonomous vehicles is that they must interact with humans and vehicles controlled by humans. Humans are unpredictable, and it can be difficult for the onboard computers to work out what they are going to do.

5G technology will aid the communication between vehicles thanks to its lower latency rates. Therefore, all vehicles on the road could “talk” to each other, telling them what they are doing or are going to do, removing the requirement for the cars to make predictions.

These vehicles will also communicate with smart sensors built into the roads, traffic lights and other parts of infrastructure. This could make travelling more efficient and safer.


remote surgeryThere are physical and geographical barriers that can prevent or make it more difficult for people getting access to healthcare. This can be because a patient is denied treatment where they live, or that the treatment is not currently available there. In some cases, patients are left with no choice but to travel abroad in order to receive potentially life saving treatment. Not only is this a costly ordeal, travelling can be a serious undertaking for people with some conditions.

5G could be a solution to this, allowing doctors to perform surgery remotely. Not only would this be more cost effective, it could be a safer alternative to travelling abroad and could allow doctors to perform multiple surgeries in a single day, on patients in different countries. The low latency attributes of 5G could allow for doctors to control robotic arms with millimeter precision, making remote surgery a safer option.

5G could potentially revolutionise many elements of our lives, providing us with new ways to travel, new ways to entertain ourselves, and new ways for doctors to save our lives. If 5G delivers on its touted benefits, it could deliver significant efficiencies and cost savings to many parts of our lives.

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