5G Opens the Door for Tech Possibility

While IoT is commonly called the “Internet of Things,” I prefer to think of it as the “Intelligence of Things.” Intelligence that is manifested via meaningful insights that deep analytics derive from data generated by numerous “things” like endpoint devices, sensors, cell phones, cars, and machines. However, to be truly intelligent, these endpoints need the ability to connect seamlessly, securely, and in near real time with each other as well as with data aggregator nodes. Connectivity is the unifying force tying all these things together.

This is where 5G comes in.

Up until now, connectivity, whether it’s 2G, 3G, or 4G, has been about phones. 5G will be about the things around us, which various estimates totaled at 50 billion in the coming years.

Connectivity of these devices requires unprecedented flexibility, scalability, reliability, security, and intelligence within their networks. 5G is the inflection point where this happens, unleashing the full potential of the IoT. It will be a fundamental shift from a networking platform to a computing platform with software-defined networks and network functions virtualization coupled with multi-radio connectivity to billions of things at the edge.

It’s this connectivity that will make unique experiences possible across connected homes, smart city infrastructure, security and homeland defense, transportation, healthcare, education, and manufacturing. And that’s just the beginning.

Where Does Intel Fit In?

Intel today is in a unique position. Our technology powers the end-to-end network, from smart gateways at the edge to network infrastructure for cloud and data center providers. Partnering with industry leaders, equipment manufacturers, and service providers, we are working to create next-generation standards and technologies to make these networks future-ready.

Two of these industry leaders recently gave the world a sneak peek into 5G. Using jointly developed proto-hardware running on Intel technologies, Singtel and Ericsson demonstrated the world’s fastest transmitting 4K video content at a throughput of 27.5 gigabits per second with the world’s lowest latency at 2 milliseconds.

Latency makes a huge difference in critical applications like autonomous vehicles. This was aptly demonstrated by Ericsson's balancing gyroscopic robot, which communicated posture information to apply corrections to its position and stay upright. A network latency of anything 10ms or lower kept the robot upright and in motion. But, increasing this to 25ms or higher caused the robot to lose its balance and fall. This demonstration was simple and very effective at showing how important connectivity and network latency is for a true Intelligence of Things.

Ericsson’s Balancing Robot demonstrating Network latency (Source: Ericsson)
Ericsson’s Balancing Robot demonstrating Network latency (Source: Ericsson)

5G is a fundamental change essential to unleashing new possibilities with the intelligence of smart connected things. However, it’s not going to happen overnight. It’s a journey that players in the industry have to make by challenging existing technologies, processes, and systems. We look forward to continuing our efforts on this journey along with our fellow travelers and partners.

Click here to learn more about how Intel is making 5G a reality.