After much anticipation and expectation, the next generation of mobile wireless technology, known as 5G is now available in the UK. The race is well on its way, with many of the world’s leading operators rolling out a 5G network to bring more speed, more capacity and lower latency to consumers and businesses.
5G is a step-change in mobile networking and promises exponentially faster download speeds, greater latency and better reliability. Building on the capabilities of 4G, 5G boasts speed uplifts of around 100-150Mbps, with some users able to achieve speeds of 1Gbps on their 5G enabled smartphones. As well as improved bandwidth, a key feature of the technology is greatly reduced levels of network latency, making 5G more responsive than other mobile technology standards before it.
But what does this actually mean for users? Put simply, 5G represents a quantum leap from today’s standards, and for businesses – large and small – it will bring unprecedented levels of business transformation across virtually every industry, both in the UK and across the waters.
And this is just the beginning. Right now, we’re on the cusp of the 5G revolution, and we’re yet to understand the full breadth of benefits it will bring to consumers and businesses. However, one of the earliest advantages of 5G we’re already seeing is a ‘mobile-first’ approach that many SMEs are starting to adopt in an attempt to better reach customer and engage employees.
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In recent years, mobile interactions have surpassed all other media for brand-based interactions. And with 5G, this is likely to continue, with faster mobile speeds and stronger connectivity. Because of this, organisations are looking at a mobile-first strategy, putting the mobile experience at the core of every customer and employee touchpoint. This means looking at design, development, marketing and employee workflow through a mobile lens above all else.
businesses leverage 5G and benefit from mobile-first?
The availability of 5G combined with a growing global workforce, a shift in media consumption and an increase in remote employees, has meant SMEs are able to adopt a mobile-first approach easier than ever before. In fact, recent BT research demonstrates that the business industry – from small businesses right through to global enterprises – are very aware of 5G’s benefits, particularly in bringing fast and reliable connectivity to mobile devices, reinforcing mobile-first as a very necessary and profitable option for SMEs.
SMEs depend on customer communications; a positive experience means high customer retention rates and ultimately business growth. Mobile-first enables SMEs to respond to customer queries and stay in touch at scale and at speed. When customers are increasingly demanding real-time and always-on communication, SMEs that do employ a mobile-first approach gain a competitive advantage over those that rely solely on desktop.
This can also be said for employees. Flexibility to work anywhere, anytime is made possible with a mobile-first approach. Employees can work autonomously, manage their own time and seamlessly switch from their personal lives to work commitments.
This trend will continue to become a critical component to business success with the wave of Millennials in the workplace. By 2020, more than half of the global workforce will be Millennials who have been raised in the digital revolution and expect mobility, flexibility and a stronger sense of work-life balance. Organisations that understand this and prioritise the needs of this next generation will likely experience much higher levels of employee satisfaction and well-being.
Again, this is just the first phase of 5G. Over the coming years, we’ll witness digital transformation for businesses that we’ve not seen before, with 5G IoT applications for analytics and business process automation completely transforming the way we work and connect. Smart cities, autonomous vehicles and smart environmental monitoring are just a few examples of how 5G will revolutionise our communities and businesses in the future.
Whilst this complete end-to-end 5G infrastructure is still some years away, SMEs can benefit right now from 5G’s superfast download speeds, data-sharing in real time, and streaming high quality video without interruption. It’s these SMEs who employ a mobile-first approach and leverage the benefits of 5G that will experience an unpresented level of business productivity, success and growth.