5G will unleash the potential of AI, says Michael Baxter. But how will AI and 5G most affect our everyday business lives? What are 5G and AI use cases?
Convergence makes 5G and AI use cases exciting: 5G could unleash the artificial intelligence revolution, moving it into a different league and creating new AI use cases.
When Apple launched the iPhone, few people understood its significance. There was a reason for this. At the time of the product announcement in 2007, wireless internet speeds were quite slow. 3G was launched by NTTDeCoMo in 2001 but network rollout had been gradual at best. It was the convergence of touchscreen phones and 3G and then 4G which created a demand hardly anybody had anticipated.
‘The growing importance of AI will go hand in hand with the emergence of 5G’
There was also a catch — as popular applications emerged, demand for 3G rocketed, and the 3G network became stretched.
The 5G revolution
According to Allied Market Research, the global 5G market will grow from a valuation of $5.13bn in 2020 to $797.8bn by 2030.
IDTechEX has drawn similar conclusions. In a recent report, it concluded: “The 5G market is just about to take off.” It forecast that by the end of 2032, consumer mobile services applying 5G technologies will generate around $800bn in revenues.
Dr Yu-Han Chang, Technology Analyst for 5G at IDTechEX, says: “5G enables greater data flows and quicker data collecting, allowing AI to generate more accurate models and predictions.
“5G and AI together will speed the evolution of a fully connected and intelligent world.”
5G is slated to offer speeds in excess of 100 times faster than 4G, which seems like an incredible increase but applications will emerge to fill the opportunity created.
As ever, with these things, when you drill down, complications emerge. There are, in fact, two distinct 5G networks.
At one level, mmWave, also called 5G II, operates at 100 MHz and provides between 24 – 100 GHz (gigahertz) and offers extremely impressive latency but is limited to a range of 300 metres.
By contrast, Sub-6 GHz, or 5G I, operates at 50 MHz, has inferior latency to 5G II, but is superior to 4G, provides between 3.5 – 7 GHz but has a range of 1.5 kilometres.
In other words, 5G II can support more powerful applications, but because of the low range, it requires more investment in infrastructure. Consequently, to date, most 5G rollout has been for 5G I.
Implications of 5G for AI
The implications for AI will not be immediate, but they will be highly significant.
Although AI is probably more common than is generally supposed, its impact has been limited to date. So, while most of us use AI without necessarily realising it, for example, when we use our smartphone as a navigation tool, AI’s real impact lies ahead.
The growing importance of AI will go hand in hand with the emergence of 5G. The convergence of the two technologies will have an enormous impact on us all, will have huge economic significance and will transform business.
5G, IoT and AI will drive use cases
The Internet of Things (IoT) will underpin the convergence between 5G and AI.
Adam Bujak, CEO and Co-founder at KYP.ai, the process intelligence company, said that “5G will power the growth of the IoT. It will allow organisations to use more connected devices and intelligent sensors.
“We will be able to conduct our processes more digitally in the physical world and online by using connected devices and services. Therefore, we’ll see the growth of phygital [physical + digital] products and services, including virtual reality modes of operations and customer interactions.”
IDTechEX says that “5G [especially mmWave]’s high throughput and ultralow latency enable it to tap into various high-value sectors such as 3D robotic control, virtual reality monitoring, and remote medical control that earlier technologies couldn’t.”
Use cases building upon the IoT and the convergence of 5G and AI
We will see connectivity between products like never before. At one level, we might see coffee cups communicate with coffee vending machines — saying, “I’m empty.” But at another level, we will see the connectivity of autonomous vehicles, which will be of massive significance to the future of transport.
The data collected by the IoT will also provide the kind of ammunition that machine learning or AI needs to develop and create greater insights.
5G and AI use cases — the consumer
The convergence of 5G and AI will underpin the emergence of the metaverse.
The 2021 hype concerning the metaverse has partially turned to cynicism. Part of the issue here relates to the definition of the metaverse. At one level, it conjures up thoughts of a Matrix-type world, but in reality, its meaning is more prosaic. I have heard people say a Zoom call involves the metaverse, and they define it as combining digital and physical worlds.
Virtual and augmented reality or immersive reality will underpin the metaverse, and 5G and AI will transform it.
The convergence of 5G and AI will create new use cases in games and streaming services, for example, offering 3D and virtual reality viewing supporting how we communicate. It will also change social media.
The convergence of AI and 5G will also create tools we will use in our daily lives — for example, real-time language translation tools.
B2B use case of AI and 5G
Business-to-business applications will be many, but one of the most important aspects will be the support 5G gives remote working. Take as an example how Grammarly supports communications by text. But as virtual and augmented reality technologies advance, it is not difficult to imagine how 5G and AI can transform not only remote work but mobile work.
Automation 5G and AI use cases
Still, with B2B, there is also the issue of automation technologies.
Adam Bujak says: “5G will extend the reach of digital transformation and bring us more opportunities for innovation and automation. We will have more data and insights from all these phygital processes and connected devices, allowing us to train AI and to tap it for business and process analytics. In turn, there will be more possibilities for outcome-driven intelligent automation of services.”
Industrial use cases AI and 5G
Office automation is one opportunity, but 5G and AI in combination will also support industry and manufacturing; at one level, it will be able to support the maintenance of equipment, monitoring machinery and identifying potential issues in advance, but it also presents the enticing prospect of remote operation of machinery.
AI and 5G use cases — transport
The connectivity of transport, including autonomous vehicles, drones, and transport infrastructure such as ensuring traffic lights support optimal traffic flow, will be transformed by AI and 5G working in parallel.
AI and 5G use cases — healthcare
The opportunities presented by AI and 5G in healthcare are multiple, but one of the most enticing will relate to remote monitoring of patients when they are out.
Just the beginning
But many more AI and 5G use cases will emerge; the above is just the beginning. The convergence of these technologies will prove incredibly important and will unleash AI, finally justifying much of the hype seen over the last decade.
More on 5G and 6G
Information Age guide to how 5G will affect your business – What does 5G mean for your business? This Information Age guide to 5G looks at which sectors will be disrupted, what low latency means for those businesses, how 5G will be used by enterprise-level organisations and how it will propel AI
What does 5G mean for enterprise business? – A mobile 5G network promises to be the bridge towards Industry 2.0. But the reality is patchy coverage and a high cost of entry. What should an enterprise business CTO consider when throwing the switch on 5G?
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