5G networks are expected to enable great social and economic development. It will provide fast internet with a great capacity to transmit and process information to areas currently with a poor or no connection. Thanks to this, rural populations will be able to access high-tech educational content such as high-quality streamed video classes – and potentially even in VR, AR or 3D. People with reduced mobility will be cared for by e-Health without having to leave home. Small and medium producers will be able to optimise the management and transport processes of their products. Environmental monitoring is also expected to improve with interconnected devices that take more complete readings of pollution levels, pest infestations, or fire hazards.
5G will also strengthen the level of democracy in governments and public services by increasing citizen participation through digital tools. Citizens will be able to exercise their rights and participate in more collective experiences with simpler, faster and more intuitive tools than those that currently exist. These high-speed, high-stability interconnections will enable other long-distance collaborations in areas such as education, political affairs, or scientific research.
Thanks to the characteristics of 5G, it is also expected that internet access will become universal – representing a great opportunity for the development of poor countries and regions. People who until now had no access to the internet, or just a slow and unreliable connection, will be able to acquire new skills in online training courses and apply for higher-paying, remote, digital jobs. For all these reasons, 5G technology is expected to have a great impact on social development, well-being, and economic growth.
5G technology will also transform the job market by enabling the mechanisation of some manufacturing processes. While this may make some jobs obsolete, it will also have its benefits by making work environments safer and creating new jobs linked to the digital world. These new digital jobs will employ workers whose previous jobs have ceased to exist. It will also allow a broader and more efficient extension of teleworking since it will be much easier to work in a team and develop projects with remote employees if the internet connection is fast and reliable. This will give considerably more flexibility to both companies and workers.
Citizen security will be another important area that benefits from the arrival of 5G. The various security systems of all the interconnected ecosystems will have the ability to collect information through sensors, analyse it in real-time, and develop an appropriate response in a matter of seconds to protect people. For example, if an emergency occurs at an airport, the capabilities of 5G will allow real-time data gathering through sensors in the precise location of the event to determine the number of people trapped in the area for example. With this information, and knowledge of the building plans, the security system would be able to calculate the best evacuation route in a matter of seconds.
In addition to all of these improvements to the well-being of citizens, 5G is expected to particularly benefit the industrial sector – where its impact is expected to be profound. The fifth generation of mobile technologies will enable unprecedented automation of production processes, optimise manufacturing, and significantly reduce costs.
Attia, 2019, Challenges and Opportunities in the Future Applications of IoT Technology
Sriganesh K. Rao, Ramjee Prasad, 2018, Impact of 5G Technologies on Smart City Implementation
Rohman and Bohlin, 2012, Does broadband speed really matter for driving economic growth? Investigating OECD countries
Carmi, Yates, Lockley and Pawluczuk, 2020, Data citizenship: Rethinking data literacy in the age of disinformation, misinformation, and malinformation
European Parliament, 2020, How digital technology is easing the burden of confinement