Preparing for 5G

Published February 15, 2020 Est. reading time 11 Minutes Author Nadeem Amin

Preparing for 5G


What is 5G technology and what will its impact be like in our everyday life?

5G technology, or the fifth generation of mobile connections, will play a key role in Robotics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and the development of smart cities, and it is closer than ever.

Consumers and businesses consider mobile connectivity essential. 5G, the next generation of mobile wireless network technology, which is expected to commence rollout in some countries from 2020, will improve consumer experiences and business utility through faster data transmission and more reliable connectivity.

5G also represents a step-change from previous generations of mobile technology by enabling lower latency—the time it takes for signals to travel through the network. This gives it a wider range of applications by providing the responsive digital technology required to support innovations such as robotics and the Internet of Things (IoT).

5G—faster, better and different

As the next generation of mobile wireless network technology, 5G will provide a better consumer experience and improve business utility through faster data transmission and more reliable connectivity. For example, 4G technology allows download speeds of 100 megabits per second (Mbps), while 5G could potentially enable speeds of more than 1,000 Mbps. It currently takes about eight minutes to download a feature movie using 4G; people could be able to do this in seconds with 5G.

These features, combined with its lower latency—the time it takes for signals to travel through the network—meaning that 5G represents a substantial step change compared to previous generations, with the promise of a vastly increased range of applications. This reduced latency will, for example, allow the responsive digital technology—particularly for spatial applications—required to support robotics and the Internet of Things (IoT).

While 5G will be an advance on previous mobile technology, the wide array of potential uses means that it may develop as a ‘general-purpose technology’ (GPT)—such as electricity or the internet—that becomes ubiquitous in its own right. In any event, 5G is likely to:

  • Support the introduction of new goods and services, with higher data rates and lower latency expected to enable greater use of IoT devices.
  • Improve business efficiency in producing and delivering goods and services and enable scope for greater innovation and the development of new products. For example, faster download speeds and lower latency will make cloud computing more effective and allow for better collection and analysis of big data that can lead to more real-time decision making.
  • Improve health and social outcomes. For example, wearable technology and IoT devices will help people better access health and education services in a more timely and personalized fashion— the gains from which will have a flow-on effect and will largely accrue to individuals.

Ways 5G Will Impact Marketing and Advertising


Advertising infrastructures will need to be re-invented

“5G will blow up the architectures we have.”

Ad exchange OpenX Chief Product Officer Todd Parsons said, since

Present-day programmatic technologies aren’t built for the demands of a system that delivers ads up to a hundred times faster.

David Zapletal, EVP of Media Operations at media holding company Digital Remedy, points out that “the industry needs to prepare” for 5G in other ways as well, such as updating creative specs on ad formats and file sizes.

And those are only some of the “first-order effects.” Greenblatt expects the biggest surprises will be in the “second-order effects,” the way 4G led to the crash in the price of taxicab medallions because of the rise of wireless-managed fleets from Uber and Lyft.


Over the past few years, an avalanche of exciting new technologies and formats have hit the market, but these have often been met with very little uptake from advertisers, mostly due to issues relating to speed.

However, with 5G set to upturn how advertisers think about creativity, users’ experience of these engaging formats could all be about to change.

5G could boost device speeds twenty-two fold from 45Mbps, up to a maximum of one gigabit. That means response times of a couple of milliseconds, and minimal latency, even in much more demanding rich-media formats. That opens the door for exciting, buffer-free content and much more space for new tech – whether that’s more and better video content creation or deeper exploration of augmented and virtual reality.


5G won’t just help with ad creative – it’ll also help advertisers better reach audiences, creating a growing swatch of channels available to advertisers to connect directly with consumers.

A lack of connectivity and sluggish speeds have previously limited the extent of targeting across devices – and a knock-on effect was no doubt the rather glacial pace of IoT adoption in recent years.

But cloud-based processing enabled by 5G networks will boost speeds and connectivity massively, pushing IoT past its break-even point. Mobile networks will move from the back of the pack in speed terms to right at the front, way ahead of traditional wired connections.

Because 5G boasts much faster connection speeds, it allows devices to offload processing into the cloud. In doing so, power-hungry processors will no longer drain device batteries, meaning that more devices (particularly remote, inaccessible, or mobile devices) will become connected.

And, beyond just bettering existing devices, faster speeds and improved connectivity will open the door for a panoply of new ones. That means connected fridges, cars, DOOH displays – you name it. With 5G, anything can become a channel to reach consumers.


Perhaps the largest impact 5G will have is on the quantity and quality of data circulating around the ecosystem which, with appropriate permissions, will be usable by advertisers to better target more scalable audiences than ever before. That’s a fantastic opportunity to look at audiences in a much more detailed and granular way.

But to really harness all that new data flying around, it’s crucial to make sure all these various points are connected and used in an optimal way – that means the right infrastructure, the right technology partners, and the right kind of privacy measures. So, in the run-up to ‘5G Day’, marketers should make sure they’re having conversations with all the various stakeholders to adopt processes that allow them to be able to use that valuable data in a privacy-by-design way.


Mobile video ad spending jumped 80.6% in 2015, according to eMarketer and from 2015 to 2019 it skyrocketed. That occurred with so-so 4G connections. With 5G, consumers will be able to download a 4K movie in a few minutes or at one-twentieth of the time it takes to do so with 4G. For advertisers, this means that video will become a much more targeted medium. Freed from the relative sluggishness of 4G connections, marketers will be able to offer audiences rich video experiences on mobile that they cannot today.

5G will also make it possible to push personalized video content delivered through programmatic. True personalization requires data and content that can be delivered in a 5G world. Marketing will become more about engineering wins during the micro-moments of decision and influence. Marketing is beginning to embrace this change, but 5G will turbocharge it.


5G is geared up to bring outdoor display units into interactive ad screens, just like mobile phones — only larger.

Businesses need to evaluate what technology can do for them. Outdoor display asset owners, for example, need to think about replacing their units to capitalize on the digital era.

As soon as 5G makes a commercial entry into the marketplace, it’s going to create new and exciting opportunities for companies to reach consumers — via interactive and engaging advertisements. Planning ahead will help industry participants across the board.

Those that are able to leverage that opportunity will delight customers and wow them with innovative advertising that makes an immediate impact on revenues.

5 ways 5G will impact retail

It is the ideal time for retailers to start planning how their stores and interfaces will look when 5G becomes widely available.


Amazon Go Store

Connectivity in our physical stores means devices that can constantly exchange data with each other – also known as those under the header of the Internet of Things (IoT). To do so, they need a fast, reliable network that doesn’t require too much power. 5G networks will achieve a 90% reduction in power consumption, guaranteeing up to 10 years of battery life for low power IoT devices.

This means, for example, that more retailers will have access to smart shelves like the ones Amazon implemented in its Amazon Go stores. This technology uses dozens of sensors to provide real-time inventory visibility and update pricing according to demand.

Key tech involved: dynamic pricing, automated checkouts, connected fitting rooms, automatic replenishment.


Puma immercive experince store

Augmented and virtual realities use a lot of processing power and cellular data. With the increased capacity of 5G networks, retailers will be able to create richer, more detailed experiences when integrating their physical and digital worlds. This will make technologies that we’re already experimenting with, and seeing consumer adoption of, only more of a possibility. The result will mean shoppers are able to immediately check product materials or ingredients through the use of smart glasses or their smartphones, for instance. Those same apps will also guide customers to the products they want by projecting directions into their field of view in real-time as they navigate the store space.

Key tech involved: immersive interfaces, gamification, wayfinding


Walmart instore experience

Artificial intelligence will also thrive on IoT devices via 5G. That’s not to say the AI algorithms themselves will change, but that the higher network will enable more accurate real-time data to flow, ultimately facilitating smarter systems. In retail, for instance, managers will be able to delegate more operational and inventory decisions to automation. This means greater efficiencies as well as accuracies on things like forecasting inventory quantities so as to optimize stock levels, leaving sales associates to spend more time on customer care. Having stock in the right place at the right time will also decrease the risk of losing customers to competitors, as product availability will be more accurate.

Key tech involved: retail analytics, inventory visibility, demand forecasting, endless aisle


Nike store offers personalization

With lower latency, retailers will also be able to respond to purchasing patterns and behaviors with immersive, tailored content in real-time. Implementing 5G in-store will allow for greater interactions and data collections between sales associates and customers. Real-time data could be tracked to create personalized adverts or offers based on the preferences of individual customers, helping to increase the incentive to buy.

Key tech involved: marketing automation, personalized promotions, AI recommendations, product search tools, clienteling.


Lowebot customer care

The implementation of 5G will also revolutionize logistics by improving efficiency in fulfillment tasks and increasing the speed of transportation. Greater connectivity and improved reliability will help communications between brands, couriers, and consumers. The full capacity of 5G will eventually also enable the rollout of automation in transport and warehouses, thanks to improved processing of the vast amounts of data required in real-time.

Key tech involved: smart warehousing, robotics, automated vehicles

Seamless, personalized customer journeys will reach the next level

Some of the terms and technology relevant to 5G

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a generic term describing the practice of adding internet-connected sensors and controllers to objects, infrastructure or locations and using the data to provide an improved service or capability. The deployment of IoT sensors is already well-advanced in some sectors but 5G is expected to accelerate the uptake of IoT.

Massive machine type communications (mMTC) is the automatic and real-time communications between IoT-enabled devices. The ability for these devices to communicate with each other is expected to drive productivity growth through the automation of business processes.

Network slicing refers to the partition of 5G networks to provide dedicated capacity for particular technologies. For example, network slicing of 5G could provide dedicated resources to IoT devices to ensure that they work effectively in particular areas or for particular industries. Network slicing may also allow for the sharing of a capital-intensive 5G network between many operators.


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