Technology trends come and go. Some are successful while others fade away, but ultimately how can enterprises benefit from these technologies in today’s digital world? In this ‘Interconnection x Hot Tech’ blog series, we will examine the hottest technology trends in Asia-Pacific, and how their applications across different verticals is set to change the way we live. Today, let’s first explore the field of mobile communications and anticipated impact of 5G.
Asia-Pacific has its sights set on 5G
According to GSMA, Asia-Pacific will pioneer the move to 5G technologies and is projected to be the world’s largest market for 5G by 2025. With the US and other countries also making their way towards 5G rollouts, why is Asia-Pacific expected to be so far ahead of the pack?
Four key drivers of 5G development
1. Asia-Pacific has a younger user base
Asia-Pacific has a younger population compared to US and Europe. This generation, born in the Internet and digital era is right at home with digital devices and is more tech savvy. They also have greater demand for digital applications and services, such as social media, gaming, and online video consumption. As both users and creators of digital applications, they have embraced voice interaction, virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR) which they expect to be applied to fields as diverse as online retailing, online gaming and robotics, to name just a few. These applications all need the network and bandwidth capabilities of 5G if they are to deliver on consumer expectations.
2. Savvy mobile users continue to want more speed
According to GSMA, the number of unique mobile subscribers will reach 5.9 billion by 2025 globally, the equivalent to 71% of the world’s population. The up-take of 5G subscriptions in Asia-Pacific will build on the current base of 4G LTE and digitally savvy mobile users who want speed, reliability and minimal latency to use their everyday applications which are often data-heavy content sites like Instagram and YouTube.
Current 4G networks suffer large speed fluctuations throughout the day. Peak-hour usage can often be slow as massive amounts of data jam networks, while speeds can vary greater depending on whether a user is stationery or on the move. Bandwidth hungry users of smart 4G devices are therefore keen to switch to 5G which promises pervasive connectivity.
3. Building smart cities without legacy infrastructure
Some developed markets such as Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore have already rolled out their smart-city initiatives. These will require strong telecommunication network infrastructure to support thousands of IoT devices and manage complex data flows.
On the other hand, there are many developing countries in the region which have the advantage of not been hindered by legacy mobile infrastructure. This has made it easier for governments and enterprises to rollout new infrastructures without the need to upgrade old technology or migrate users over. China is a great example of this – Ping An, Alibaba, Tencent and Huawei are leading a smart city initiative covering 500 cities across the country, all of which are based on new, mobile technologies.
4. Burgeoning R&D in the region
Both Asian and foreign companies are eyeing Asia-Pacific for 5G projects as they rush to be at the forefront of what the technology has to offer.
China smartphone maker, Oppo, plans to spend over US$1.2 billion on R&D over the next year in preparation for 5G. Another example is Qualcomm, which has revealed plans to establish three technology and testing centers in Taiwan, collaborating with the Taiwanese government and businesses on the commercial development of 5G and other advanced technologies.
Realizing the benefits of 5G
With 5G devices and infrastructure set to change the region, how will these new mobile services and applications impact different verticals? Here are two verticals that, in my opinion, will be most impacted.
With 75% of video consumption taking place on mobile devices in Asia-Pacific according to Ooyala, the increasing demand for mobile video streaming is putting pressure on 4G LTE networks which makes consistent quality across all devices hard to fulfill.
5G will offer faster, more stable connectivity with more bandwidth, enabling content service providers to offer superior experiences and enable innovative applications such as VR and AR to be created to deliver more personalized customer experiences.
Healthcare – Currently, healthcare providers rely on 4G to access digital records such as X-rays. With 5G, healthcare providers can remotely monitor patients and gather data in real time by using IoT devices to help allocate resources more efficiently and improve personalized and preventive care.
In addition, with artificial intelligence and big data, patient data can provide valuable insights to help make the right diagnoses and lifesaving decisions, even performing remote surgeries and medical procedures with ultra-low latency.
Unthinkable? Not the case with 5G.
China has already successfully tested the world’s first 5G remote surgery. The lag time was claimed to be only 0.1 seconds between the doctor’s control device and the robot in the surgical room.
Interconnection: the weapon of 5G game
5G is coming but in order to get the maximum business value from this highly anticipated technology, what weapon can enterprises use to stay ahead of the 5G game? The answer is simple – interconnection.
To support 5G demand, a vendor-neutral colocation and interconnection platform will enable enterprises to harness 5G to seamlessly access robust network and cloud ecosystems. For example, enterprises will be able to directly interconnect with network and cloud service providers on Platform Equinix® via Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric™ (ECX Fabric™), so they can find that fine balance of improving network and application performance with low latency and cost efficiency.With its real-time, secure and low latency connectivity, Equinix offers the ideal place for enterprises such as CDM companies to leverage 5G to transform their businesses, and ultimately bring more revenue opportunities.
To achieve seamless 5G connectivity for real time data transmission regardless of location, a reliable, accessible connection of network nodes is mission-critical to support an ever-growing volume of data and traffic generated from multiple locations. At Equinix, network service providers (NSP) can deploy their network nodes closer to users and service providers, on Platform Equinix – the more network nodes in a geographic location, the shorter the distance between a 5G base and terminal. This results in lower latency and faster rate of data delivery, which in turn means enhanced network performance and improved customer experience.
5G, combined with interconnection, will bring disruptive transformation to different verticals. Are you leveraging the right colocation and interconnection platform to support your 5G offerings? Speak to us to find out more. You can also learn more about how to formulate your interconnection strategy by downloading theInterconnection Strategy Guide.