As always, we at MCI are asking ourselves: how can the MICE industry leverage this latest digital transformation?
5G refers to the fifth generation of mobile technology and is the next generation of mobile and wireless broadband technology, capable of delivering ultra-fast speeds (ten times those of the latest 4G networks), along with better scalability, lower latency, and higher reliability. 5G networks will use new radio technology and will embrace virtualisation and associated innovations within the core network (source).
In the telecommunications world, this process has already begun. Between the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019, AT&T, the world’s largest telecommunications company, launched its 5G mobile network in 19 American cities. And earlier this year, this service provider went live with its 5G network at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. "5G is expected to alter the in-stadium experience in dramatic, exciting ways by blurring the physical and digital experience in ways that are simply not possible on today's networks," AT&T SVP of Wireless Technology Igal Elbaz said of the news.
So, this advancement will have an impact beyond just phones. Because of its ability to move large amounts of data quickly, the extra bandwidth will power advancements in machine-learning technologies such as smart cities, smart vehicles and the Internet of Things.
Here are the 3 main benefits 5G is expected to bring:
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5G technology’s potential to improve communication is not limited to single users. As the AT&T stadium example shows, a change in the way wireless technology is integrated into complex events infrastructure is likely. So how can you prepare and start planning for this new disruption?
In 2010 at an Apple event, Steve Jobs was giving a keynote speech on a new iPhone 4 feature. As planned, he attempted to go on the New York Times website, but the page wouldn’t load. Same happened with other web content. Frustrated, Apple’s CEO invited the audience to “get off the Wi-Fi". It was later revealed that 500 wireless networks were running simultaneously in the venue. The overlapping of these channels caused slower speeds and dropped connections.
Now, one of the biggest complaints among event and congress attendees is a slow or lagging Wi-Fi. This often happens because hotel, venue or event managers have to rely on outdated internet infrastructure to meet the needs of delegates, suppliers and vendors.
Likely, Apple’s woes wouldn’t have happened in a 5G world. As Michele Dupré, Group Vice President of Verizon Enterprise Solutions explained, “5G will provide faster data speeds and carry a massive amount of data for a large number of simultaneous users. So users in high-density areas — like airports, stadiums, or urban areas — can still experience the fast speeds and low latency of 5G service".
Wi-Fi issues will then become a thing of the past.
Having a more advanced wireless network will also strengthen venues’ security efforts. A priority for event organisers as well as venue and hotel managers.
Thanks to a faster and more responsive wireless connection, potentially dangerous individuals can be located through geolocation services; venue managers and event organisers can be informed promptly on incidents; security alerts can be relayed instantly.
Faster internet is not the only benefit 5G will bring to event organisation. Thanks to a less restricted bandwidth, in fact, new, exciting technologies can be implemented on a larger scale. For instance, AR and VR can be used not just to engage attendees, but also to plan the layout of a venue. 5G will also power tools that will enhance event performances:
“We see 5G as the potential to establish a seamless platform that enables things like hologram-based keynotes that generate increased audience engagement; real-time analytics that allow us to instantly understand and adjust trade fair promotions that attract more attendees; and streaming AR to mobile devices as a way to make presentation graphics more meaningful," Juliano Lissoni, managing director at MCI Canada, told PCMA.
As 5G makes its way to the marketplace, it’s a good time for events strategists to start planning how to leverage this new technology before its rollout in 2020!
This article is based on external and internal research data by MCI.