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5G: The Enablement Enabler

Author: James Barton

Published May 2020

First off, I am not here to write about the conspiracy theories around 5G… For me, 5G is simply the latest generation of network technology, but let me define it a little more.

 

A 5G network is:

 

  1. High speed – faster even than you home fibre connections
  2. Low latency – near real time response
  3. Highly available – no more black spots. Apart from Gloucestershire. Obviously.

So, what’s the big deal about 5G, and what was wrong with 4G?

It is the last two points that really makes the difference with 5G. We probably already have reasonable speed, in as much as we can stream a HD movie without any buffering. Going faster is subject to the law of diminishing returns right now.

 

Latency, as it ever was, remains an issue. It is what has stopped a number of technologies reach their potential outside of expensive fixed lines systems.

Here’s why…

Let’s say you are a specialist surgeon in India, and you are remotely operating on a patient in London through the wonders of robotic synchronisation (yes it does exist).  However, your movements are delayed just slightly, only a fraction of a second.  This is fine when everything is going as it should, but what happens if the patient jerks under anaesthetic? What happens if you nick an artery, and suddenly your field of view is swimming in blood?

 

In real life, you adapt instantly, stop the bleed and carry on. With latency on a network, that nicked artery results in the patient bleeding out.

 

That might be a bit dramatic, but you get the point.

 

5G networks are able to operate at or below 0.18ms latency. That might seem like just a number but to give it context, the human brain operates at 0.10ms latency.

 

A 5G network can now respond nearly as fast as we can, opening the door to huge strides in technology solutions.

What does that have to do with enablement?

Enablement for me is a bit more holistic than just delivering a training course. It’s about ensuring the person we are enabling has the best information available to them at exactly the right time, whether that is preparing for a sales call, in the middle of a critical negotiation or when calling out to the prospect for the first time.

 

Can you imagine a day when the sales CRM solution is able to – in real time – offer you conversation starters, insights and tips whilst you are speaking to the customer?

 

Sounds a little spooky and Big Brother, but it’s totally possible. Low latency data networks are able to process responses to and from a client, and then establish what coaching may be best. Older networks could do that after the call, but 5G can do it in real time, and that’s the key.

 

We can already match answers to responses, but it’s laggy… and no-one likes laggy.

 

Of course, enablement also happens outside of sales. What about a social worker or telecoms engineer visiting a new client for the first time? They have to conduct a risk assessment to make sure they are safe to enter the property.

 

They enter the details and there is a yellow flag, and they’re prompted to active their location services or GPS tracking on their device to confirm that they’re safe

 

A good process, but again, subject to lag and latency.

 

Let’s say they enter that property, and things go sideways. The lag on their network meant they missed a crucial update from their supervisor telling them not to go inside… but it’s too late.

 

Sadly, I know a number of cases when that is actually the situation. Seconds matter.

In conclusion…

I also mentioned that 5G should be highly available. I don’t think this needs much more explanation, but removing network poverty and providing a consistent level of performance to everyone is game changing.

 

Developing countries can have the same networking advantages as the developed world. Enablement can be done anywhere at any time.

 

Bravo to Mr Musk (again) for the network of satellites he is pushing out. I am not interested in conspiracy theories here either, but rather giving Kudos for the vision of a better world powered by data availability.

 

5G is going to open the doors to a truly new breed of enablement. It’s around the corner.  Let’s get ready.