The Internet of Things refers to the rapidly expanding collection of devices that collect, transmit and share data via the internet. At present, roughly 8.4 billion “things” make up this universe—known commonly as IoT—from cars to appliances to wearable tech. That represents a 31% increase since 2016. By 2020, some 20.4 billion devices are forecast to connect, and by 2025 that number could swell to 55 billion.
As the trend suggests, anything that can connect will connect. And breakthroughs in sensor technology, software and analytics are poised to disrupt countless industries. But the key to ensuring those connections are strong is building a network that is able to handle whatever speed, battery life or data loads those devices require. For IoT to realize its limitless potential, 5G is critical.
How important is 5G to the future of business?
The “smart home” is a good model for understanding the potential impact of 5G on business. Just today, you may have asked a digital personal assistant to order more toothpaste, or you may have monitored your vitals and charted your exercise goals with a fitness tracker. Maybe you turned on the lights and adjusted the thermostat before walking through your front door.
But that’s just table stakes. Transformative, massive IoT applications—the kind that upend old business models and create new ones—are another thing entirely, and we’re getting closer to that reality. Moving beyond the home, we can now imagine smart offices, smart cities and smart factories, to name just a few.
Based on recent surveys and analysis, almost two-thirds of companies believe IoT is important to their current business, and over 90% believe it will be important to the future of their business. Enterprises will log an estimated $15 trillion in aggregate IoT-related expenditures in the next eight years. And by 2020, more than half of all new businesses will rely on IoT as they work to cut costs, build efficiencies and grow their bottom lines.
The takeaway: Exponential expansion of IoT and its practical business applications are inevitable. And with the power, speed and reliability of Verizon’s 5G network, anything is possible.
How can Verizon’s 5G network help drive IoT?
In 2017, Verizon launched the industry’s first LTE low-power wireless nationwide network for IoT applications, reaffirming its leading position in advancing the technology. Looking ahead, 5G will be more than just an evolution in wireless; it will be a step change that will impact the world of IoT as significantly as it will the rest of the consumer and enterprise communications spaces. And as Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam recently noted, Verizon alone possesses the engineering experience, fiber assets, spectrum and partnerships necessary to advance 5G at the scale required by enterprises.
Verizon’s 5G network will enable lower latency, higher-quality connectivity and blazing data transfer rates—speeds roughly 50 times faster than current 4G capabilities. Lag times will drop to faster than the blink of an eye. IoT technologies that will power businesses, operate self-driving cars, and regulate traffic and medical systems are ascendant. Verizon’s 5G network will help safeguard these critical systems and networked hardware from disruptive—and in the worst case, destructive—latency issues.
What can businesses accomplish over Verizon’s 5G network?
The impact of 5G-enabled IoT on global business will be measured in trillion-dollar increments. “By 2035, 5G will enable $12.3 trillion of global economic output and support 22 million jobs worldwide,” notes Ronan Dunne, executive vice president and group president, Verizon Wireless. “Much of that growth will come from the digitization of transportation, agriculture, manufacturing and other physical industries.”
One of the richest application areas for this technology is the IoT-related field of telematics—the transmission of information to and from remote objects such as vehicles and fleets.
“This technology will have an enormous impact on the way people relate to transportation—and on the way transportation relates to the world,” says McAdam. “Our telematics business will help vehicles reduce their fuel consumption and carbon footprint, resulting in an estimated 43 million gallons of fuel saved annually.”
This plays right into our smart communities work—where connected solutions and instantaneous response times can have massive impact on public safety, citizen engagement and sustainability, all while decreasing costs for municipalities and road users alike. Verizon’s 5G network will further propel its already groundbreaking work in the spheres of healthcare, public safety, city solutions and infrastructure, and shipping logistics.
Given the early successes of Verizon 5G trials, McAdam has argued we’re on the cusp of a Fourth Industrial Revolution. The stakes are high, but the potential of a 5G-powered Internet of Things is limitless. If innovators can dream it, Verizon’s 5G network can deliver it.