Television commercials and tech-related news claim that the 5G revolution is here. 5G, or fifth generation, refers to a new cellular network technology that will not only help you stream a video on your phone faster, but it has the potential to change how we experience the workplace, home, transportation, and the way we live. Given 5G’s capacity to shift practices in the commercial real estate industry—and even the fabric of our lives, we created a guide on what you need to know about this technology.
As evidenced in the exhibit below, 5G refers to an entirely new generation of mobile services. This technology promises to eliminate video buffering and lags when connecting to the internet. More importantly, 5G has the potential to connect everyday devices such as thermostats, wearable devices and lighting, as well as vehicles and even buildings, to the Internet of Things that use real-time analytics, machine learning and sensors to track and analyze data on each device. This hyper-connectivity will allow for increased safety and infrastructure in metropolitan areas and will lead to significant improvements in the healthcare sector, technology and other industries.
Source: ITU Report, “Setting the Scene for 5G: Opportunities & Challenges” (2018), p.6;
Global Knowledge Center Research
In 2017, Cisco Systems, a telecommunications and technology conglomerate, reported that smart devices were responsible for 92% of mobile data traffic around the world. For the purposes of their study, they classified “smart devices” as mobile connections with computing and multimedia capabilities that have at least 3G connectivity. Cisco predicted that mobile data traffic will advance at a compound annual growth rate of 46% between 2017 and 2022. By 2022, 90% of global mobile traffic will be generated by smartphones. If Cisco is correct, we are moving into a technologically-advanced world where human beings will engage seamlessly with devices in our homes, the vehicles we use, and in the buildings in which we work.
In the next five to ten years, 5G will bring new levels of Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality to the workplace. Imagine an office where the space you are working is intelligent and capable of conversing with the people using it. Walking through the door of a fully-operational 5G office, you will be greeted by a bot or personal assistant concierge asking what it can do to help you settle into your workday. You will find that some employees in the office will be wearing Virtual Reality headsets and Augmented Reality glasses that allow immersive holographic experiences.
The workplace of the future will have desk spaces and offices that learn your personal habits and preferences. Equipped with bio-informed sensors, these spaces will communicate data about you that will be used by the space to meet your physiological needs. Space and speech recognition software will detect your mood—whether you are alert or slightly less so. The software will then adjust the lighting and temperature around you to not only fit your personal preference but also to allow you to concentrate better.
As real-time video conferencing becomes a standard feature of office buildings, you will have virtual meetings with colleagues overseas in a video-connected conference room where speech recognition and translation software allow you to hear others in your first language, in real time. Following your meetings, the space will provide you with a condensed summary of topics discussed and a digitized action plan for attendees. These virtual meeting rooms may lead to the reduction of physical meeting rooms in the future. Technology will become your co-worker and even your personal companion.
In the future, the industrial sector will likely experience widespread automation and adoption of 5G technology. Ghost cargo ships will cross the Earth collision-free by independently communicating with one another and their surroundings about the delivery of goods. Cars, buses and trains will move autonomously, guaranteeing mobility and transportation services that require little-to-no human interaction. In the background, sensor networks will constantly gather real-time data that will be analyzed using machine-learning. These insights will be used to further improve the services and make them more efficient for human beings.
Several industries will be affected by the implementation of a 5G network. In the transportation industry, autonomous vehicles will change the way we travel and commute. Cars will be able to communicate with one another and with the surrounding infrastructure which will significantly decrease the risk of collisions and other accidents. 5G will also affect how goods are made. We’ll see that in the manufacturing industry, 5G will enable real-time product inspection and assembly-line maintenance. Industrial robots will be able to use 5G to communicate with one another and with machinery on the factory floor, reducing accidents involving humans. Moreover, 5G will likely increase the efficiency of processes and the flexibility of workers, as well as decrease production time, lower maintenance costs and improve safety for factory workers.The ability to monitor patients’ health 24/7 will become possible with consistent uptime of high-quality data. Doctors will be able to perform medical procedures and surgeries remotely using robotic arms, and the consistent uptime in data will improve care and administrative services provided to patients.
In the energy industry, infrastructure has not allowed for much connectivity between oil, gas and electrical industries. Advancements in 5G connectivity will lead to remote monitoring and therefore will improve security. This means that we will not need to send people into dangerous areas for inspections, as sensors will be able to report signals in real-time, giving management and public officials enough time to respond to critical situations. We will also see changes in the agriculture industry. Human beings will be able to further optimize agricultural processes like water management, fertilization, crop monitoring and livestock safety using real-time data collection and fast-response management. Technology currently used in this sector is not equipped to manage large amounts of data, but in the future, smart farming will become possible. These examples indicate just some of the ways that 5G will improve technology, safety and production in the industrial sector.
5G has the potential to revolutionize urban environments. By connecting Internet of Things devices to one another and to the public infrastructure of buildings and roads, 5G will likely change the way we interact with our surroundings. It’s high-speed data and guaranteed connectivity will allow for unprecedented advancements in human-machine interactions. In the smart city of the future, 5G could eliminate road accidents and traffic congestion because autonomous vehicles will be able to avoid collision by communicating with one another in real time about their direction of travel. Changes such as these will make cities not only more efficient, but increasingly livable.
If urban environments are successful in building the infrastructure needed for 5G connectivity, cities will transition into smart cities of the future. The uptime of data and real-time feedback will make commuting easier for those who need go to the office, but it will also result in many people not having to commute for their jobs at all. Operators for excavators and building maintenance will be able to operate from the comfort of their homes. Operators for excavators and building maintenance will be able to operate from the comfort of their homes, a concept that has come to be known as the “Internet of Skills”. The ability to work remotely, however, may lead to global recruitment for jobs in a way that we have not experienced before.
In the United States, telecommunications companies Verizon, AT&T and Sprint have already established fixed and mobile 5G services in several cities including Chicago, Charlotte, Dallas and Atlanta. IHS Markit, a London-based global information provider, reported that initial commercial 5G tests were off to a rocky start, with proper market results expected in July 2019. Uber, with support from 5G technology, is planning to test its Uber Air flying taxi in 2020 with the aim of launching the service commercially in 2023 in Dallas-Fort Worth and Frisco, Texas and in Los Angeles. As 5G is not widely available yet, it will be some time before consumers are guaranteed a satisfactory 5G experience. This will change as 5G-fitted devices and the supporting infrastructure are built to support this kind of technology.
South Korea and China are also testing 5G technology on a national scale. In South Korea, the government initially delayed the commercial release of 5G because the price set by telecommunications carriers was too high for consumers. Along with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in the United Kingdom, the government of South Korea is developing a £2.4m pilot project that will transform the Korean metro system using innovative 5G applications.
China is setting an example of how 5G can be implemented in cities. Companies have been testing wireless communications between autonomous cars and their close environment since September 2018. China Mobile, a telecommunications carrier, installed 5G towers along a six-mile long road in Fangshan district, twenty-four miles from Beijing. Testing on 5G-enabled devices, such as autonomous vehicles, are schedule to continue in seventeen other cities to speed up the 5G technology roll-out. In the meantime, the government has allocated appropriate low/medium-frequency bands to China’s largest telecommunication companies—China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom.
Source: Source: U. Verma, Five Steps For A Successful Smart Building Deployment (2019)
Despite its promising potential, rolling out 5G technology will take some time, and there are some drawbacks to consider. The infrastructure of a 5G network requires small cell towers located very close to one another, which will raise concerns about health hazards for people. Moreover, 5G may not do what it has promised—yet. PC Magazine tested 5G systems released by Verizon in Chicago and AT&T in Dallas, and they found that neither one of the networks could service uploads, nor did they have the low latency that was advertised with the 5G service. Sascha Segan, writing for PC Magazine, predicts that the first “real” 5G products will not appear on the market until 2022. Until then, we’re likely to see multiple telecommunications carriers like Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and others trialing and testing the service.
The building’s technological and internet-related equipment needs to be capable of transitioning from 4G to 5G. Optical fiber and CATS cabling will be needed to create a robust wireless infrastructurefor the building.
5G will create smart buildings that monitor and analyze data about their infrastructure. In the future, technicians will address problems virt ually which will help to reduce downtime of utilities in the building. 5G cloud-based Building Management Systems will enhance current systems today.
Do an audit of your technological systems. Take time today to determine what upgrades need to be done so that network hardware, software, and other systems can become 5G ready.
Prepare for the data deluge. Building owners will have to determine which situations are appropriate for collecting massive amounts of data.
Smart buildings with hyper-connected networks will lead to a new kind of building inspection. Prepare for building inspection based on 5G capability. Also consider that augmented reality may be used to inspect buildings.
Cybersecurity protocols will need to be enhanced to minimize exposure to cyber hacks.
Source: Source: U. Verma, Five Steps For A Successful Smart Building Deployment (2019)