We speak to Julian Watson, Smart IoT speaker and IoT analyst at IHS Markit, about the state of 5G adoption in the UK
The unparalleled speed and latency of 5G looks set to provide a swathe of opportunities for UK businesses. Some of the many use cases cited include high-performance analytics at the edge and remote control and automation for manufacturing, while the network’s comparatively high-capacity also appears to be the key to connecting an army of IoT devices to enterprise networks (known as Massive IoT).
While consumer telcos and smartphone makers are busy rolling out networks and 5G-ready devices, it’s still early days for businesses seeking to unlock 5G’s benefits. As with any new technology, the exciting potential of 5G is well-documented, whereas the obstacles to implementing real-world applications have achieved less attention.
On Day Two of Smart IoT London, a panel discussion will be evaluating the state of the “5G Gold Rush”. It will critically examine whether the potential of 5G has been oversold to businesses and take a look at the verticals, applications and use cases where 5G is showing the most promise.
Taking part in the panel is Julian Watson, IoT connectivity analyst at Omdia. As part of his research into what types of wired and wireless connectivity are being embedded into IoT devices, Watson works with network equipment, semiconductor and device vendors to assess the role 5G might play across many different verticals.
Speaking to me ahead of Smart IoT, Watson cautioned that while 5G “momentum is building quickly” and attracting greater interest than when 4G arrived on the scene, there is a “serious risk of overhype”. The fact there is a Gold Rush, he said, does not necessarily mean there is a huge volume of gold to be had.
“As in other countries, 5G is a work in progress. Three out of four of the operators have launched 5G networks and commercial services, coverage is being gradually expanded and there are various efforts by government, academia and industry to investigate and develop future use cases that leverage future enhancements to the technology. Things are moving in a positive direction.”
From the standpoint of businesses, 5G ticks a number of enticing growth prospects, including greater efficiencies, faster time to market with new products, and new sources of revenues. But Watson said the theoretical boons must be weighed up with the practicalities of deployments.