5G will bring a massive change to cloud computing. Much of the discussion at the Mobile World Congress, organized in February, was about the upcoming fifth generation (5G) technology. 5G is expected to revolutionise the network and communications industry by providing ultra-fast transmission rates that can be as much as 100 times faster than the existing 4G. 

The first commercial 5G smartphones are already set to roll out by the first half of this year. A recent Ericsson Mobility report predicts that, by 2023, there will be 1 billion 5G subscriptions, accounting for nearly 20% of the entire mobile data traffic.

A number of industries will benefit from what 5G has to offer. From the healthcare industry to the automotive industry, from smart homes to smart cities and beyond, 5G’s features change the landscape, allowing for several applications that 4G just couldn’t handle.

With the increase in potential industries, both tech- and non-tech related, there will be an increased need for cloud services. For example, wearable devices that lack enough internal storage, usually relying on synced larger devices such as smartphones, will be able to function independently with the aid of the cloud via 5G’s low to zero latency.

The communication potential opens doors to several avenues for businesses. For example, IBM and Vodafone recently inked a B2B (Business-to-Business) deal aimed at cloud hosting, along with another part providing solutions in a number of areas including IoT, Artificial Intelligence, and other 5G-beneficial applications.

In essence, for cloud dependent industries and cloud industries themselves, 5G is a welcome force. The fifth generation technology will accelerate cloud business investment through its widespread application to a number of innovations.

Impact of 5G on other technology innovations

The combination of 5G and cloud technologies will enrich the capacity, functionality, and flexibility of a number of industries, especially for cloud businesses themselves. This combination will allow network carriers to offer competitive services in a way non-cellular IoT (Internet of Things) network providers will be unable to copy. These innovations will introduce several investment opportunities for cloud businesses. Here is how 5G’s improvement of cloud technologies will benefit some innovations.

  • Streaming data and analytics: The existing Big Data processing technology uses cloud infrastructure to support the required storage. However, to stream analytics on Big Data, systems still face major challenges related to latency with current wireless networks. As 5G networks are touted to be surprisingly fast, real-time streaming challenges will be minimized greatly.
  • Industrial IoT (IIoT): In industrial use cases, such as supply chain management and process manufacturing, processing and analyzing the massive amount of sensor data in real-time is crucial for valuable insights to manage cost and efficiency. 5G has the potential to reduce the cost of Big Data analysis and make it even more effective given the remote and variable nature of these workloads.
  • Edge computing: 5G hugely impacts the performance of mobile and remote devices. Remote systems such as location tracking apps, home automation systems, and voice assistants, which are based on sensors, will use 5G to transfer a huge amount of data ten times faster than 4G networks.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP): As more and more enterprises are using AI and NLP, they would require the ability to process and manage huge data. Most cloud computing service providers have the necessary computers and storage but need to improve their real-time data ingestion capabilities. 5G will provide the required level of data transmission for AI- and NLP-based apps to work effectively.
  • Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR): 5G will dramatically enhance the quality of VR and AR applications, bringing innovations in industries such as retail, travel, healthcare, etc.

As 5G and its applications evolve, there will be significant technology adoption in the above areas. These areas involve huge and complex workloads, making cloud computing a key component. We are a few years away from when 5G will become mainstream network technology, but such a time isn’t as far as it seems.

Currently, the 3GPP Release 15 standards for this next-generation network classified 5G devices as non-standalone devices. It means these devices can’t perform independently and need significant modifications to network standards and infrastructure. Thus, enterprises, telecommunication firms, and cloud businesses have a few years to design and implement their 5G strategy.

How will 5G impact cloud services?

Today, organizations utilize mobile cloud applications from an operational perspective as well as a customer offering standpoint. The future of mobile cloud applications, from healthcare to banking, and beyond, will see it become more widely used and efficient after the widespread roll-out of 5G technology.

For example, unified communications services used by businesses will gain from 5G’s improved speed and service reliability. Everyday mobile apps are also cloud-dependent and will improve given the availability of 5G’s low latency capabilities. This means faster, smoother transfers and more that are lacking in today’s 4G connectivity. Such lacking performances cause applications to be deliberately light, or have reduced potential, from their development stages. With 5G’s improvement on cloud availability, applications are expected to see their full potentials, without any innovative idea being left behind. There are so many benefits of cloud communications whose primary features will be improved by 5G.

5G technology will enable cloud service providers to reach enterprise mobile customers easily and reliably. Access to virtual machines via phones will become common because of larger computing and machine-to-machine communication provided by 5G. Cloud computing enterprises will offer more features and options to mobile users, and hotspots will become faster, allowing remote workers access to cloud services, even where internet connectivity is lacking.

Final words

5G technology will bring major improvements to the cloud computing world. This is due to the fact that most technology innovations can be more efficient when cloud-dependent. 5G, in turn, improves that integration with its low to zero latency, making for smoother communications.

Applications in this space range throughout several industries. From healthcare applications to autonomous vehicles, and even down to wearables and mobile apps, the cloud is a useful space for non-device storage. Making use of the cloud with 5G connections will boost performance of these innovations. Cloud-based products and services are expected to become more reliable, faster, and efficient. These innovations will, in turn, accelerate cloud business investments.