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Innovation and Product Development

If 5G is supposed to be a game-changer, what’s the game?


Part of Apple’s iPhone 12 family announcement included a big push around 5G capabilities and the promise of a better life, all because users will be able to do things faster than they did before.  Apple (and others) are calling 5G a “game-changer” but is it?  And if it is, what exactly is the 5G game and why should you care as a business?

Generically-speaking. The name of the game is speed. 5G translates to faster download speeds, reduced latency, and more available bandwidth.  While availability of 5G coverage is still limited in the United States, businesses should consider how to start building capabilities and products that leverage 5G now.

Improved Consumer Experience Possibilities with 5G

  • Video/Live Streaming
  • AR/VR
  • Realtime Data Automation
  • AI

Consumer markets have tried to deliver Immersive and personalized customer experiences with fits and starts, but with limited success. Consumers expect flawless experiences and to-date, existing networks have been a barrier to that.  With increased speed and bandwidth comes the ability to build experiences that don’t rely on end-users having the perfect connectivity conditions for a seamless experiences. At the same time, these improvements help businesses respond to customer needs faster than before with real, realtime data availability and automation processes enabled to respond in likewise near realtime. With the advent of 5G comes the possibility of finally realizing true 1:1 personalized experiences with AI-driven, realtime predictive modeling that can appear as to anticipate the customer’s next step.  Layer on AR/VR or streaming experiences that aren’t interrupted by glitchy renderings and the future could be a “fourth dimension” of consumer experience for shopping, entertainment, gaming, and communications.

Digital Product Development Innovation Possibilities with 5G

  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • Transportation
  • Automotive
  • Finance
  • IoT

Going beyond consumer markets,  5G capabilities may drive some more significant innovations and quality of life improvements many people may not even realize. Find some industry-specific thoughts here, but going beyond the obvious what if… With improved video and streaming capabilities there may be greater opportunities for more complex remote healthcare delivery.  With improved network capacity there may be cost efficiencies in delivering higher bandwidth to under-served communities and school districts. With faster and deeper IoT integrations there is opportunity to automate data sharing to reduce errors and improve safety across industries.  Intel is sponsoring a very cool labs program that brings innovators from across industries to collaborate on the art of the possible with 5G.  The overall potential for 5G to increase our existing cognitive surplus may allow for the imagination of digital products that significantly support and improve the very way we live our lives.

So Now What?

Regardless of consumer market or business focus, don’t snooze on the potential of 5G. Build into your 2021 budgets some capacity to research and experiment with applications and data that can be improved or better leveraged using 5G capabilities. Understand network rollout schedules for your key markets and device support trends amongst your key users.  Treat this a potential revolution; not evolution. That is the real 5G game and why you should care as a business.

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Kim Williams-Czopek

Kim Williams-Czopek is a Director of Digital Strategy at Perficient. She’s been a senior leader in several digital agencies, digital product companies, and served as VP of Digital on the brand side. She specializes in customer experience, commerce, digital responsibility, and digital business strategies.

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