Titans of global government and industry are descending on Davos, Switzerland, this week for the World Economic Forum to explore the 2020 theme, “Stakeholders for a cohesive and sustainable world.” And, as has increasingly been the case in recent years, leaders from the technology sector are central to this discussion.
Ericsson’s Asa Tamsons, SVP and head of business area technologies and new business, wrote a blog ahead of the WEF looking at the intersection of 5G and the internet of things, and other supporting technologies, as key future drivers of the digital economy and also contributors to corporate and civic sustainability.
Tamsons projected that there will be 2.6 billion 5G subscriptions and 5 billion cellular IoT connections by the end of 2025. Citing McKinsey research, she wrote, “If policy-makers and businesses get it right, the economic value to be generated by IoT globally could generate between $3.9 trillion and $11.1 trillion a year by 2025. Combine IoT with edge computing, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and “5G is powering the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the same way that steam, electricity and silicon powered the previous three.”
Providing more macro context, Tamsons wrote, “Globalization and hyper-competition, personalization and customization are some of the main drivers for digitalization, along with technology maturity…Enterprises and industries must do more and better with less. Embracing the technologies and ideas of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which provide access to data and insights to optimize your business, will be crucial to stay alive long term.”
In a separate blog post, Qualcomm EVP and General Counsel Don Rosenberg also explored the notion of 5G as very broadly serving as a catalyst for business transformation at a global scale. Straight away in his piece, Rosenberg answered the question posed in the title to this piece, with an emphatic, 5G “will change our world.”
He drew a parallel between previous generational cellular upgrades in that, “We had no idea of what new business models and industries would be created in response: The car-hailing services, streaming of movies and live events instantly to and from your smartphone, and so much more we now take for granted.”
Rosenberg continued: “That’s why I refer to potential 5G use cases as infinite, or at least only as finite as the frontier of human innovation. So here’s the question I now find myself and others increasingly pondering: if 4G was to Uber, WhatsApp and Waze the way 5G will be to X, solve for X.”