From smart cities to smart factories, e-health to augmented reality, many of the most promising emerging technologies rely on 5G. Now that 5G is a reality, is it living up to the hype? A new survey by Intelligence shows it is meeting or exceeding the expectations of telecommunications leaders, with many believing that its technology advances will drive business and industry innovation forward.

Nearly 350 telecom leaders from around the world completed the survey, the majority of whom have 15 or more years of industry experience. More than 40% said 5G’s overall performance is meeting or exceeding their expectations. Just a quarter (23.91%) said it’s falling short, while others responded that it’s too soon to tell.

5g mobileperformance

Among consumer benefits, half (51%) said high-speed internet would draw the greatest interest. The new report points out that this happens to also be the most marketed benefit, with advertisements touting the ability to download an HD movie in seconds. Some respondents also said consumers will be interested in augmented and virtual reality and 5G-equipped home appliances.

Respondents were also interested in 5G’s potential to generate new value through services like industry automation, followed by stronger customization through the deployment of technologies such as private networks. More than half (55.31%) said IoT devices are most likely to see rapid growth with 5G, followed by autonomous cars.

5G category growth

Evidence of IoT growth can already be seen among major technology manufacturers, who are working rapidly to realize the full potential of 5G IoT. A recent study by a research team in Sikkim Manipal University (India) reveals that advances in cloud technology, sensors, and networks enabling low-power and long-range connectivity are all helping speed the transition to 5G IoT technologies.

Applications of 5G IoT

Figure: 5G IoT Applications

Still, industry leaders expressed some concerns. Nearly a quarter (24.32%) of survey respondents said too many proprietary technologies are creating vendor lock-in, and 5G-capable consumer devices tend to be expensive. They predict 5G smartphones will become mainstream when they drop below a $500 retail price and when major technology companies like Apple enter the 5G market.

Even so, it’s hard to not be excited about the advances 5G could enable. Smart cities will manage transportation, lighting, waste, electric grids and many other essential functions via the 5G network. Smart factories will improve their energy and waste management to reduce their environmental impact, while implementing more advanced inventory tracking methods to prevent stock-outs.

In healthcare, wearable devices will continuously monitor patients, keeping doctors updated and speeding diagnosis and treatment. Retailers will use 5G to manage inventory, speed up mobile pay transactions, and expand mobile commerce. In addition, 5G will enable sophisticated traffic management systems for unmanned aerial vehicles, expanding their use in agriculture, package delivery, critical infrastructure inspection, and more.

We’re just beginning to see the benefits these technologies hold, and 5G will enable more of them to impact our daily lives. Learn more about what telecoms industry leaders expect from 5G by reading the full Intelligence survey report.

For more information on 5G, visit the IEEE Xplore Digital Library.