4 Practical Benefits of 5G
for Small Businesses
Alongside, ‘AI’ and ‘machine learning’, 5G has become one of the tech sector’s favourite buzzwords in the last 12 months. There’s been a huge amount of excitement around the technological capabilities of this next generation of mobile connectivity, but for many small businesses, there’s still a big question mark over the practical benefits of 5G. With the UK’s 5G coverage still limited to larger cities, now’s the perfect time to break down exactly how this technology will help small businesses in their day to day operations and help secure a digital first future.
1. 5G will empower flexible working
The ability to work flexibly has never been more important, particularly in light of the uncertainty created by a global pandemic. Small businesses have had to rapidly adapt to a huge number of sudden changes, whether that’s meant working from home, or creating Covid-secure spaces for colleagues and customers. When it’s no longer possible to only rely on home or office broadband, 5G can provide a lightning fast, stable connection that businesses can use just about anywhere. Need to share an important file or presentation? A 5G connection will let you do that in seconds. Got an important video call to make? 5G will ensure a crisp, high quality connection, even when you’re on the go. Being able to get more done with a mobile connection means that you and your team aren’t tied to an office, but are free to work wherever and whenever suits you.
The benefit in one sentence: Faster, more stable 5G mobile connections means you and your team can work flexibly and still stay super productive.
2. 5G can transform customer experience
We’ve discussed changing consumer habits before, and the big takeaway has consistently been that customers now expect a seamless digital experience, even when interacting with smaller businesses. This means everything from being able to order online and collect in store, getting live updates on stock levels and submitted orders, right down to using contactless payment at cafes and pop up food stands. All of these digital processes require a fast, reliable connection to provide a great customer experience, which is exactly what 5G offers: A pop up cafe with a tablet and wireless card reader powered by 5G will process orders and payments faster. A warehouse that sends automated stock levels and shipping information via a 5G network will require less bandwidth, allowing for more processes to happen simultaneously and efficiently. These incremental improvements to connectivity might seem fairly small, but together they add up to create a seamless, consistent customer experience.
The benefit in one sentence: 5G networks allow small businesses to join up the dots with their customer experience, both online and offline.
3. New technology is made accessible through 5G
In itself, 5G might not seem like a spectacular new technology - after all, it’s more of an upgrade to existing mobile networks, rather than a brand new idea. However, this faster, higher bandwidth network has the potential to make lots of other new technologies far more accessible to small businesses. An interesting practical example of this is augmented and virtual reality. Without getting too technical, one of the big barriers to the widespread adoption of these technologies is having access to a network connection that’s both superfast and offers extremely low latency1, allowing VR and AR content to be delivered to users seamlessly. This kind of connection is exactly what 5G offers, making it a key piece of the puzzle for organisations looking to accelerate the adoption of AR and VR technology. With tech giants like Apple already teasing AR glasses and selling AR ready devices, small businesses should be thinking about the possibility of creating and promoting AR led content in the not too distant future!
The benefit in one sentence: AR and VR technology could become far more accessible to small businesses, thanks to 5G.
4. A world of opportunity through 5G
At the top of this article, we promised 4 practical benefits of 5G to small businesses. The slight problem with this is that as a relatively new technology, no one has really explored the absolute limitations of 5G, or what might be possible as it becomes even more widely available. However, we can point to some of the inventive, groundbreaking ways 5G is already being used by businesses across the world. From automating farming processes, to the usage of drones and autonomous vehicles, even pioneering remote surgery, there are thousands of ideas built on the connection benefits that 5G can provide. For many small businesses, 5G is still full of untapped potential, but as it becomes more accessible, we’re certain to see new opportunities and innovations open up for small businesses right across the UK.
The benefit in one sentence: 5G is already transforming automation, logistics and connectivity across the globe, and looks set to do the same for small businesses in the UK.
1 ‘VR and AR pushing connectivity limits’, Qualcomm Technologies, 2018 https://www.qualcomm.com/media/documents/files/vr-and-ar-pushing-connectivity-limits.pdf
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