5G Olympic glory on full display in Pyeongchang

As the XXIII Olympic Winter Games wrap up, medals are counted, and Norway gloats in the glory of Olympic success, the technological advancements of 5G raced with the best-of-the-best to the top of the world’s technology podium.  The 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics were, not surprisingly, the most technologically advanced Olympics to date.  At the center of this Olympic technological innovation was the use of 5G.  Now widely accepted as a future game changer when it comes to their networks, 5G promises to change the way people and businesses engage with one another, and their ability to stream and share content at speeds far superior than most of today’s wired connections.  So, with a worldwide audience watching, industry stalwarts (including Intel, Samsung and Hyundai) took to the Olympics to showcase the power of 5G and what is possible. 

Intel changed the way viewers were able to watch and track their favorite Olympians.  It partnered with South Korean mobile carrier KT to set up 5G stations to track skiers in action, as well as set up cameras throughout an ice arena to broadcast the events live in virtual reality.  With 5G as the platform, viewers were able to get closer to the athletes than ever before and even control the angle of what they were watching. 

Hyundai and KT demonstrated 5G within Hyundai’s Nexo SUV, the world’s first self-driving electric vehicle to successfully make the four-hour drive from Seoul to Pyeongchang.  The Nexo’s infotainment system used 5G to allow occupants to engage and control their smart home devices, as well as access a variety of entertainment systems including karaoke or video streams. 

Samsung similarly focused their 5G efforts on creating enhanced virtual realities for the average fan to experience what it felt like to participate in specific events.  The rapid speeds of data transfer provided by 5G heightened the mobile experience of the virtual reality and gave exciting glimpses in to what the future is going to hold.

With 5G expected to be at least 10 times faster than 4G, it’s certainly going to become the catalyst for a whole new economy. This change in speed will fuel innovation and further the development and effectiveness of the untethered office, IoT proliferation, and countless mobile applications.  5G’s increase in reliability will also change an organization’s definition and use cases for what capabilities abound for wireless technology.

This transition is occurring today with enterprise’s wide area networks (WANs).  Organizations that are leading the charge are looking to support the elastic edge, a network perimeter that accounts for a wide variety of data sources including the Internet, sensors, kiosks, digital signage, vehicles and people.  To support this type of data and growth, organizations are turning to companies like Cradlepoint that have evolved from the wireless space and have ubiquitous technology that can work with multiple carriers, and is already proven in mission-critical and rugged environments such as first responders and in environments containing multiple data sources. 

The introduction and rollout of 5G will be no small endeavor but we are already seeing companies like AT&T announcing the rollout to 12 cities by the end of the year.  But what is truly exciting, as lauded by Qualcomm, is that 5G could be as “transformative as electricity.” But what makes 5G so compelling yet hard to implement?  It’s the combination of all the aspects of the massive mobile data attributes of 4G, 3G’s voice, video and mobile data capabilities, 2G’s M2M and IoT deployments, as well as WiFi Spectrum…. all with zero latency and gigabit throughput. Expected to be generally available by 2020, 5G will work in parallel with 4G to provide consistent coverage.  This phased rollout plan will allow organizations that are providing the infrastructure to deploy the necessary stations to carry the super high frequency bands that are required for 5G to work. 

The support of 5G will further expand the enterprise WAN.  Today’s WAN is undergoing significant changes in what types of sources are supported and leveraged.  At Cradlepoint, we discuss this change in the network’s perimeter as the Elastic Edge™ because it is always expanding and contracting.  The introduction of 5G as an enabling technology is going to push the limits and thinking of what today we consider to be cutting edge. Organizations that can quickly recognize this paradigm shift and understand that the data that is driving business decisions is outside your brick and mortar establishment will look to harness the power of 5G into all of their business decisions. Therefore, in turn, what are the 3-pointers business should now consider as they prepare for 5G:

 

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  1. Expect to architect software-defined edge networks built on pervasive and reliable 4G/5G wireless services, connecting people, places, and things everywhere, like never before, with enterprise-class visibility, security, and control.
  2. Consider first some of the areas with greatest opportunity to benefit from 5G which include real-time automation, enhanced video services, monitoring, tracking and connected vehicles.
  3. Rethink your edge: As 5G enables even the smallest devices to perform heavy computational tasks by bringing the cloud to the edge of the network.

As we look back on how 5G was showcased in these Winter Games and ponder how much it will have advanced by the Summer Olympics in Tokyo in 2020, I for one am excited to see where the next 24 months takes us, surely the answer is to the Wireless WAN.

To learn more about 5G and Cradlepoint visit us at cradlepoint.com

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