5G is here, and it’s set to bring a number of changes to the way we transmit information, conduct business, and even interact with one another. With changes of this caliber, we are likely to see some industries disrupted and brand new ones formed. We are going to cover four ways to invest in the 5G wave.
Investment #1: 5G Hardware and Infrastructure
Although 5G simply means the “fifth generation” technology standard for mobile networking, there are a number of new technologies and infrastructure changes that correspond to this. 5G is bringing enhanced speeds and bandwidth, as well as ultra low latency. This decrease in signal processing time is what will allow real-time communication of information.
5G signals will travel at higher wavelengths than the predecessor generations. Due to this, the signals do not travel as far and cannot penetrate through walls as easily. Therefore, 5G will employ new hardware called “small cells”. Instead of one large tower servicing thousands of devices, small cells will be placed throughout cities on power poles and rooftops.
Small cells are one example, but there are numerous other new hardware technologies that are being deployed with 5G. This is a lucrative opportunity for internet hardware and infrastructure companies, as the rollout of 5G is spanning over the next ten years and will have a global footprint.
Investment #2: Internet of Things (IoT)
The cross-section of Internet of Things (IoT) with 5G could have an entire encyclopedia of content within itself. 5G is going to bring the total emergence of IoT, because the technology enables the perfect domain for IoT to thrive. 5G’s coverage will be further-reaching than previous generations, meaning more devices can be connected than ever before. It also brings the increased bandwidth and ultra low latency that we discussed, meaning an entire new realm of possibilities for information that can be transmitted.
We are used to IoT in the sense of smart appliances, cameras, thermostats etc. But 5G will open the floor for micro-devices, mainly referring to sensors. These are going to be used in numerous capacities from agriculture, utilities, power generation, and autonomous vehicles, just to name a few. These IoT devices will lead to a connected world like we could not have fathomed twenty years ago.
With this will come countless areas for investment. Quite literally, pick an industry and search “[chosen industry] + IoT”, and see what is already in progress. We covered some of the agriculture use-cases here.
Investment #3: Cloud and Edge Computing
All of these additional devices transmitting more information than ever before means one thing. There will be an even greater need for cloud infrastructure to process and contain information. Cloud providers will see significant demand increase as there will simply be more applications that capture more data.
We will also start to see a new trend of cloud computing emerge. The focus of this is on placing the data centers even closer to the collection points. When considering autonomous vehicles, for example, the information transmitted from a sensor on a car in motion needs to be processed extremely quickly. Even though these signals travel at the speed of light, a data center 1000 miles away may not be as efficient when information is needed in a matter of milliseconds.
This new trend of cloud is called Edge Computing. The primary difference is that the data processing happens physically close to the collection point, or on the “edge” of the cloud. As 5G technology will allow this [almost] real-time communication, the infrastructure will be changed to accommodate it. You will likely see existing cloud providers shifting into this. New providers will also emerge that focus specifically on edge computing infrastructure.
Investment #4: Security
With all of the new technology and communication touchpoints that 5G brings, one thing is certain. Security is not only going to be of utmost importance, it also has to be intertwined throughout a growing network.
It starts with the 5G infrastructure. As software routing methods are replacing some of the older hardware mechanisms, new security standards and methods will have to be introduced. In addition, an entirely new industry of IoT device security will emerge.
This also comes during an era where consumers have more attention than ever before on privacy. Companies that handle sensitive customer data will have to ensure that secure methods are used for storing, anonymizing and protecting this data across a wide variety of devices and applications.
We have only scratched the service on 5G, cloud, edge, and IoT security. A connected world will undoubtedly be subject to cyber attacks and attempts from countless angles. The cybersecurity industry will begin to look completely different over the next ten years.
5G is the most transformational new technology the world will experience in the foreseeable future. With this will come new ventures, companies, and plenty of avenues for investment.