5G and the future of office communications

Advancements in mobile technology are not showing any signs of slowing up. Rumblings about 5G in the tech world have existed for a fair few years. In 2013 leading mobile manufacturers Samsung and Huawei announced plans to invest in 5G, with Samsung predicting that by 2022 they will have sold £7 billion worth of 5G equipment[1]. Late last year news publications began to announce that 5G is indeed a reality. Vodafone announced that their 5G network will go live on July 3rd. It’s safe to say that progress has been very speedy, no pun intended. So how fast will 5G be and what impact will it have on the future of office communications? Is no one going to bother coming into the office because they can just show up as a hologram. That would all be very Black Mirror wouldn’t it.

What is 5G?

5G is the fifth generation of wireless network and is the latest innovation in mobile technology. It follows the release of 4G, which was deployed in 2009. 5G will greatly increase the speed and efficiency of wireless networks and promises download speeds 10 to 20 times faster than we have now, meaning all tasks we carry out on our smartphones will perform better and faster[2].

How 5G will impact future office communications

5G has the potential to vastly improve Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), video calls and the overall web meeting experience.

With faster network speeds the quality of VoIP on mobile phones will increase. VoIP quality using 4G results in great strains on mobile networks, with 5Gs increased speed and efficiency this strain will be greatly reduced. VoIP quality and reliability will stay consistent if you’re on a 5G network, happy days.

As well as improving VoIP the faster network speeds will greatly improve video calls. This means that video calls with 5G will outperform current models by a whopping 20 times. It doesn’t end there, video calls using 5G technology will incorporate elements of AI and augmented reality[3]. Although, it could take several years before applications and software work out how-to best harness 5G. When they do though, it will have a drastic impact on office communications, enabling client video calls to run seamlessly.

With the inclusion of augmented reality, that presentation you’ve been working on can be brought to life. You could potentially have meetings with people all over the world using a VR headset in a virtual meeting room, that would definitely take some getting used to. This will only compliment the growing trend in remote working, where the difference between virtual and face-to-face meetings becomes increasingly indistinguishable.

Smart workplaces

As well as impacting how workplace meetings take place, 5G has the potential to drastically change the infrastructure of offices, creating work environments that are ultra-smart and completely interconnected through the Internet of Things (IoT).

Earlier I mentioned a future where remote working will only increase, eventually creating a world where there will be no need for physical meeting rooms due to the capabilities of 5G. The absence of physical meeting rooms means that workplaces could reduce in size significantly, therefore businesses acquiring properties that would have previously never been suitable as an office.

Reducing physical workspace is one thing but we could also see traditional office technology vanishing, such as desktop PCs. Recently SK Telecom, Samsung and Cisco announced a collaboration project to create offices specifically designed to complement 5G. They unveiled a Samsung DeX a hot desk solution that connects an individual’s smartphone to a docking station, creating a mobile virtual desktop infrastructure[4].

So, there you have it…

A very brief look at the potential impacts 5G can have on the office. The roll out for 5G will be coming soon, yet the exciting scenarios outlined above are still quite a way off. At least this gives us time to brace ourselves for a world that seems to reflect premonitions of several 1990s sci-fi directors.

It may be wise to think about how your company could adopt 5G, as it certainly has the potential to help businesses run more efficiently and productively. Exciting times ahead of us!

[1] https://www.techworld.com/picture-gallery/tech-innovation/timeline-of-5g-development-3654794/

[2] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44871448

[3] https://www.videoconferencingdaily.com/latest-technology/the-first-5g-video-call-is-a-step-toward-a-fast-flexible-future/

[4] https://www.zdnet.com/article/sk-telecom-samsung-and-cisco-to-collaborate-in-5g-smart-offices/