03.06.2019Enterprise Tech

What the Eight Currencies of 5G mean for business

By: Tami Erwin
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On January 8, 2019 at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg talked about the Eight Currencies of 5G – throughput, service deployment, mobility, connected devices, energy efficiency, data volume, latency and reliability. Verizon is building out the infrastructure for all eight. This is a project we have been working on for years. We convened a broad group of hardware and chip manufacturers four years ago to create standards for 5G. We made investments and put resources toward building a 5G network; this included investments in fiber, additional spectrum – especially in the millimeter wave spectrum – high network density and small-cell infrastructure, and real estate. When we say 5G, we mean it.

The point here is a company can't just decide they want to offer 5G and be ready in a few months. It takes years of deliberate planning, testing, and innovation. We believe our 5G Ultra Wideband network has the power to usher in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It will eventually touch nearly every industry sector, impact our economy in a profound way, and dramatically improve our global society.

What does this mean for our business customers? How can companies and government and public safety agencies take advantage of 5G today and build for the future?

Let’s dive into the Eight Currencies, highlighting work we’re already doing and potential opportunities for our business customers.

Throughput and Service Deployment

Our leadership in 4G positions us to be the leader in 5G. Multiple third-party network tests label Verizon’s 4G network the best. We have achieved speeds of 1.45 Gbps in a real-world environment on our 4G network and our 5G network has the potential to deliver speed many times faster than our current 4G network. 5G will ultimately enable peak data rates of 10 Gbps.

This throughput will enable things like autonomous vehicles, drive manufacturing efficiencies, and support AR/VR solutions and remote healthcare services. And we’re already working with entrepreneurs and innovators as they build these and other 5G applications that will change our world in our 5G Labs around the country.

The real-time enterprise will be powered by 5G. 5G and network virtualization (using software to perform network functions) enables service and application deployment without having to install additional hardware. This will lead to a dramatic reduction in typical service deployment times. These faster deployment times will allow us to roll out new features and security improvements quickly to address the dynamic needs of our customers.

Mobility and Connected Devices

5G technology is designed to enable devices traveling up to 310 miles per hour to stay connected to the network. We’ve tested 5G network handoff techniques to enable passengers in fast-moving vehicles and trains to stay connected while they are moving. Imagine highways of self-driving cars or warehouses with automated robots moving at hundreds of miles per hour transmitting data and reacting to changing information instantaneously. With 5G it’s possible.

5G will eventually be able to support up to 1M connected devices per square kilometer – a true Internet of Things (IoT). Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network will eventually handle 10 to 100x more connected devices per square kilometer than 4G. Think that’s overkill? Consider that experts believe the number of connected devices will be more than three times the global population by 2022. This will allow cities to tap into the power of 5G for smart street lights, remote security monitoring, and intelligent rail and smart parking solutions.

Additionally, as chips get cheaper and applications increase, and more things (stadium seats, retail items, manufacturing equipment, etc.) get connected to the network, it will change how businesses operate, the data they collect and the services they provide. We can imagine a time when 5G connected drones can be used for everything from home package delivery to supporting search and rescue operations. The next generation of IoT is coming, and it will be powered by 5G.

Latency and Data Volume

5G’s latency (the time it takes for data to travel from the user, over the network to the central processor and back again) will be one of the drivers of true technological change, bringing data transit speed to many times less than the blink of an eye – eventually less than 10 milliseconds end-to-end response time. By comparison, 4G LTE networks currently offer latency around 40 to 50 milliseconds.

All kinds of new – unthinkable until now – applications become possible once you reach super low latency levels. We’ve already addressed AR/VR and autonomous vehicles, but 5G will allow doctors and first responders to get data-intensive information, like full-body scans or building plans, in seconds.

The 5G standard was designed to support up to 10 terabytes of data per square kilometer. This means the 5G network will carry a massive amount of data for a large number of simultaneous users. Users in high density areas, like airports, stadiums and urban centers, will still experience the fast speeds and low latency of 5G service.

Energy Efficiency and Reliability

Sustainability is one of Verizon’s core values, and more companies are embracing a similar approach that puts social responsibility at the center of business operations. 5G promises to be more efficient than 4G. 5G will have lower energy requirements for our network operations (up to 90% less than 4G).

For our customers using our 5G network, complex functions could happen closer to the end user. That means the end user’s device would require less processing capability and consume less energy and battery power.

Verizon has the most reliable 4G LTE network. And we’re architecting our 5G network to be exceptionally reliable – even more so than our 4G network – with uptimes that could potentially reach 99.999%. 5G should offer reliability businesses can count on at critical moments.

Not all these eight currencies will be addressed for businesses on day one, but our goal has always been to accelerate the 5G development process. That’s why we opened 5G Labs. This desire to lead the industry and our business and government clients as they explore 5G is the motivating factor behind our sponsorship of 5G development challenges focused on education, public safety, robotics, “real-time enterprise” and other critical areas where 5G can impact lives today and tomorrow.

We’re building our 5G network to deliver the full potential of 5G so businesses can drive enhanced productivity, create new revenue streams, respond more quickly to changing business dynamics and deliver better value to customers. We recognize the opportunity 5G creates for businesses, governments and public safety agencies and how the eight currencies will drive the language of 5G innovation. We were first to market with a commercial 5G service and we will lead the way for our B2B customers as well.

About the author(s): 

Tami Erwin is president of Verizon Business Group.