This year, 5G is finally here! 5G is now available across a number of cities and devices, and the UK is planning for a nationwide roll-out (despite some Huawei controversies!). Unsurprisingly, the potential for the fifth-generation network has got us all excited about the possibilities.
What is 5G?
So, without getting into specifics, 5G is the next generation of mobile broadband. The new 5G connection will provide faster internet speeds, much larger capacity for devices, and it will provide an overall much smoother connection with lower latency. All that with improved security, it is set to change how we use the internet, and even replace 4G altogether.
What are the opportunities?
The impact of 5G could bring massive opportunities to us globally, across many industries and use cases. Most importantly, it will pave the way for a more connected future, with more reliability when it comes to IoT and smart devices. The potential of 5G is yet unknown to us, as there could be many use cases that we have not even thought of yet! What is clear is that if we do not adopt 5G as a nation, we will fall behind technologically and economically as a result.
Sounds great, but what does this mean for apps?
We’re glad you asked! We have summarised our most exciting opportunities below:
1. Next Level User Experiences
With 5G, because of the reasons mentioned above, the user experience of mobile and web apps will improve across the board. The performance will improve due to instant data loading, and any aspect of your app or platform that requires access to the internet will run seamlessly. Any connection with external devices will be extremely quick. As app developers, we simply cannot hold in our excitement about the leaps forward in performance for users.
2. Improved Video Apps and Streaming
With reduced latency, we can say goodbye to dodgy video calls, buffering and cutting out. This will mean smoother video calls, uninterrupted video and audio streaming, and a generally improved experience across the board. There will be more and more opportunities to text-based content and communications with video and audio instead.
3. Less Native Apps, More PWAs
With reliable internet connections nationwide, there will be increasingly less need to build native apps with offline functionality. We foresee a rise of mobile-focused web apps and Progressive Web Apps, that can offer all of the features of a mobile app, but via web browsers.
4. Extremely Fast File Transfer
Many apps involve file or data transfer of some kind. Whether that’s file sharing and communication or sharing information between users.
Lightning-fast file transfer will have a massive impact on the performance of these apps, reducing waiting time to next to nothing, and meaning an extremely slick user experience.
5. A New Wave of IoT Apps
The most impactful change that 5G will bring is its capacity as a network. With 5G there will be a huge increase in capacity, meaning that over a million different devices will be able to connect within the same area. This is a huge improvement, which means that it will be so much more possible for devices to connect and communicate with one another. With reduced latency, there will be faster response times between devices too.
Smart cities, self-driving cars and an interconnected world all seem so much closer to us with 5G, which means more apps to connect every aspect of your life!
6. Augmented and Virtual Reality
5G will make Augmented and Virtual reality experiences feel much more real. With improved speeds and lack of latency, the whole experience will be smoother, with 4k HD built-in. Not only that but in time we will see much more complex, with the potential for multiple video streams to be included on mobile. AR and VR apps are set to take a much more prominent place in entertainment, navigation and even healthcare in the coming years.
7. Communication and Chat Advancements
In recent years there has been a large shift to text instant chat format, whether that be through apps like Whatsapp, iMessenger, Facebook messenger, or in business platforms like intercom, where you can set up chatbots and simple AI. 5G brings even more possibilities. Imagine a world where our communication is not just limited to text, but also haptic touches and movements, where you can feel someone’s touch through your screen in real-time? These lightning-fast connections could change how we communicate forever, with technology helping us create more personal and life-like experiences.
We are also excited about improving the possibilities for remote working and global teams!
8. A Change in Developer Mindsets
Many developers have already recognised the need to change their mindset, away from standalone applications, and towards building interconnected, cloud-based platforms. In a way, app development will become more important, but also less talked about in the future. The focus will move towards how we build and support smart, app ecosystems, with AI and smart devices all talking to one another. This means a shift in technologies, focusing on modern, scalable frameworks that can be easily adapted.
This change will also mean that security and data protection come to the forefront of our minds, as with such large, interconnected platforms there are lots of vulnerabilities that must be protected.
So, what’s next for 5G?
In the short term, the 5G rollout will benefit those with 5G enabled devices, in 5G ready areas of the country. These users are going to see a massive improvement in their connectivity and can enjoy the many benefits.
However, in the long term, we know that this change could have any number of unknown benefits, opportunities or repercussions. As developers, we can see clearly how this could make a huge difference in how we consider the development roadmap of our products and must consider how we will use apps differently as 5G reaches widespread adoption. This faster, reliable, and robust network is set to revolutionise our cities, homes and workplaces, and we can’t wait to be part of the evolution!