The move from 4G to 5G has been likened to the shift from typewriter to computer and it will have profound impacts on businesses, consumers and marketing.
When a new technology first appears, we typically don’t have a clue what to do with it or what the possible outcomes could be. When electricity was introduced into factories it had little impact because managers continued to arrange plants around the power source – a steam turbine – even though they were redundant due to electricity. Only when a new generation of management realised that electric power allowed them to design factories around workflow did productivity soared.
Similarly, the internet was invented in the late 1960s, but didn’t take off until the 1990s due to Tim Berners-Lee creating the HTML protocol in 1990, and, in turn, the subsequent launch of the Netscape browser.
Another technology that is likely to have a profound effect on the world, and, of course, on marketing in 2019 is 5G. 5G is short for fifth generation mobile networks and, just like electricity and the internet, 5G is going to lead us to ideas and products we cannot imagine now. And it is definitely happening: Vodafone has said it will have 1,000 5G sites by 2020; EE will switch on 16 cities in 2019.
2G was the generation when we first were able to send text messages from one mobile phone to another. 3G came in 2001 but really only took off when the first wave of smartphones arrived in shops in 2007, bringing video calling and mobile data. 2010 saw 4G became available and led to the explosion of everything from video streaming and mobile apps to programmatic advertising.
When 4G launched there was so wearable technology, no internet of things and Uber was a German word meaning over or above. 4G also has more dubious claims to fame, such as enabling the success of cat videos, Instagrammable restaurants and influencers. And 4G provides an entry point into the world of virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence.
As with 4G before it, nobody knows exactly what 5G will usher in but the implications are far-reaching. The reason it is such a big deal is the amount…