Most of us would recall the serious public outcry in 2020 regarding the proposed deployment of 5G which unfortunately was launched almost the same time that COVID-19 was first discovered. This made the public not support the technology and also made the different governments undergo specific research on the health implication of 5G. Findings so far have relieved the public as it may have been discovered that there are no major health implications as generally assumed. Hence, countries have begun to deploy 5G in their major cities.
investopedia.com stated in one of its articles that the US, China & South Korea are leading in the overall building and deployment of 5G technology. According to statista.com, 58 countries have deployed 5G technology, and it expects 5G users to reach a billion within a space of 3.5years. This growth should have a corresponding positive reaction in other areas of innovation because 5G technology has been proven to have high efficiency and low latency in communication and transmission of data.
Recently the Nigerian government announced the approval for the deployment of 5G technology in Nigeria. With this announcement, it would mean that Nigerians should prepare for a new shift in technological innovations, advancement, and global competitiveness. This is why we will be looking at some technological innovations that will be encouraged by the deployment of 5G technology.
A major innovation that 5G is coming with is Enhance Mobile Broadband (eMBB). This is an experience of low latency and high speed for mobile internet connectivity. Due to this innovation, there will be a sharp switch from cable television to internet television and video on demand. With 4G, users are already experiencing a level of internet television and video on demand from platforms such as IrokoTV, Netflix, ShowMax, etc, however, due to the cost of data plan, some users still prefer the regular satellite or cable TV. Now because the 5G connectivity should come at a cheaper price and more data transmission capacity, more users will begin to adopt the internet television and video on demand. That said, beyond the already existing internet television and VOD streaming platforms, we should expect more innovative web and mobile streaming platforms where you can watch your football matches, movies, news, etc.
Also, the deployment of 5G Technology will bring about the Internet of Things (IoT) experience. IoT experience is a machine-to-machine communication that is monitored and can be controlled by users. For example, a smart home also known as home automation is an experience made possible by the Internet of Things technology. In a smart home, the bulbs can sense if someone is in the house so as to turn on the light for the person, a connected refrigerator can sense the humidity of the refrigerator to decide when to turn off or turn on the refrigerator so as to reduce the cost of power, Smart TV can sense if someone is actually watching to decide whether to turn it off or on. Another example is IoT in the health sector, which enables certain IoT technology to sense the temperature of a patient, their blood pressure, heartbeat, or even pulse. In fact, it also can help in the area of remote surgery where the surgeon is in a location far away from the patient. Some of these have nothing to do with the internet until when there is a need for remote monitoring and control which include monitoring of patients remotely or controlling home automated appliances or even carrying out a surgery remotely. The speed in 5G will enhance real-time remote monitoring and control of IoT devices. That said, this is another change we should expect as 5G begins to live with us because everything will eventually be connected with everything. So we will have smart cars, smart hospitals, smart cities, smart schools, smart offices, etc. Beyond being able to connect to the internet, the reason they have the smart prefix is because of the ability of machines within the environment to sense, learn, and connect with other machines.
The third innovation that the deployment of 5G will bring is Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality application. This is a reality that happens in the virtual world through your sense organs. For Virtual Reality, all your sense organs are connected to the virtual world, your eyes see the virtual world, your mouth speaks in the virtual world, your ear hears from the virtual world, your hands participate in the virtual world. All these happen through a virtual reality headset/appliance. Augmented reality on the other hand is an experiential reality of the virtual world physically.
Again, because of the speed of 5G technology, you can have the experience of both realities. Some of us may have experienced these in some virtual reality games where you are connected to the virtual world through a headset and you are playing a game. We will begin to see new innovations in virtual reality applications in the area of training and education, where universities will run in the virtual world with virtual classrooms, virtual laboratories, virtual libraries, virtual students, virtual lecturers, etc. This is completely different from online universities. We will also see VR applications in the area of shopping where you will go shopping from the comfort of your home with just the VR headset. We may also see VR applications in real estate where users will own their own building in the virtual world, furnished and equipped with virtual home appliances such as virtual TV, Virtual Laptops, etc.
Whether you are implementing the enhanced mobile broadband feature or implementing the IoT Technology or the VR/AR applications, it is important that we know that most things that we know are about to change. As a country, we can prepare and leverage these opportunities for wealth creation and also become relevant in the next generation by first building the human capital in these areas. Having the right human capital will bring about innovations which in turn will bring about wealth creation that will generally affect the GDP of the nation.