Just a 2-second wait for your website to load could mean that you lose out on 9.6% of your visitors. When 4G was first introduced, it revolutionized mobile browsing and sparked the mobile-first approach to website development and brand experience. But the new generation of mobile wireless technology could take this ten steps further. 5G (fifth generation) technology is an estimated 20 times faster than 4G and promises faster loading times, less latency and a much higher capacity.
The development of 5G technology coincides with the higher reliance on digital channels that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in. Today more than ever, your consumers are more likely to shop online than visit your physical store, attend an online webinar than an offline event and visit your website for more information than speak to your sales reps. But it isn’t just end-customers that benefit from digitization, it’s also your in-house staff.
Here are 7 critical ways 5G services will impact customer experience and internal operations for large and small businesses.
1. Enabling innovative AR and VR technology
Augmented reality and virtual reality have been creating a buzz for a while now, but the next few years could be their moment to grab the spotlight. With people being more open to virtual experiences, brands can create immersive campaigns using augmented reality and virtual reality.
5G services will be a boon to AR and VR as it allows for lag-free, lightning-fast loading times. This means that customers can truly enjoy a seamless brand experience from the comfort of their homes. A number of brands have already started experimenting with this format. Museums and concert halls have started offering AR and VR tours to virtual visitors. Retail companies could mimic an in-store shopping experience very closely through this technology. Ultimately, this 5G use case will remove most technological restraints to what creative experiments brands can conceptualize, allowing them to find creative new ways to engage with customers through all mediums.
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2. Higher employee productivity and work flexibility
Before the lockdown, remote work was largely relegated to small sections of freelancers and other self-employed individuals. Today, however, it has entered the mainstream and it’s popularity is unlikely to subside. A common challenge that businesses face with this model is ensuring that each employee has a fast internet connection that allows them to work without any hiccups. Slow internet can significantly impact employee productivity, which directly affects business outcomes. How many of us in a meeting have said “can you hear me?”
A benefit of 5G for business is that it has a farther reach and devices connected to it enjoy lower latency and faster downloading speeds. This means that employees working from practically anywhere in the world can effortlessly collaborate on video calls, run powerful software applications and never have to complain about ‘low bandwidth’ ever again. As we usher in a new era of remote, flexible work, it’s undeniable that 5G for business will have a central role to play.
3. Strengthen the IoT network
The Internet of Things network today is expansive, connecting everything from our watches, cars, mobile apps, home security sensors and more. IoT is one of the biggest avenues of development because it provides a huge range of customer data and touchpoints to businesses. Physical activity trackers can, for example, help health and wellness companies offer personalized meal plans and products to customers. But the IoT network is only as good as the strength of the connection linking the devices together.
5G networks are uniquely suited to IoT because they have a much higher bandwidth, supporting almost 1 million devices within a square kilometre radius. This ensures a steady connection and a wider array of devices that can be connected. Additionally, a benefit of 5G technology is that it is more energy efficient, allowing devices to go longer periods without having to be charged.
From a 5G business implications perspective, apart from the increased number of touchpoints to engage with customers, a stronger IoT network allows them to seamlessly manage remote production, control the supply chain and reduce time taken for deliveries.
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4. Reaching a wider audience
Businesses have reached close to a saturation point with urban consumers. These customers have had an active online presence for a while now and the competition to attract their attention is very high. The next big area for growth for business, therefore, are rural consumers. Historically, these consumers, especially in relatively isolated areas, have been difficult to target because of connectivity challenges in these parts. But 5G technology will overcome many of those hurdles.
It is estimated that 5G deployments will support one million connected devices per 0.38 square miles, whereas 4G can support just 2,000.
5G networks that use lower bands of the radio spectrum can be accessed by users hundreds of miles away from a mobile tower. This 5G use case can help businesses access underserved communities and expand their consumer base.
5. Better performance and adoption of apps
Apps are in many ways the virtual equivalent of a physical store. They are an interaction that brands can control end-to-end and are an important way to keep engaging with customers. As consumers become more reliant on digital experiences, apps will become even more popular. 5G networks will allow businesses to pack in even richer experiences within their apps. Customers can browse through apps with almost zero loading times and with far fewer possibilities of crashes. For apps that are conversion-driven, this can result in higher order check-outs, which is one of the most important 5G business implications.
5G technology promises to transform digital experiences for customers and businesses. But quite possibly the biggest benefit of 5G is one that we are yet to anticipate. 5G for business will spark new creative ideas, new ways of working and new ways of servicing customers. Businesses of all sizes should gear up for this opportunity and make the most of the endless possibilities that 5G connectivity offers.