You probably already spend a fair bit of time on Facetime, Skype, and other video messaging apps. Whether it’s for business calls or simply to catch up with friends and family at a distance, there’s a wealth of apps that let you chat face to face. These have been made possible by quick network speeds. But just as 4G has allowed video chatting to become widespread, when 5G arrives it will take our communications to another level. Get ready for 3D, holographic video calling. Many predict that lightning fast 5G will be available in the USA and UK as soon as 2020, and with it will come a wealth of new applications and technology.
The benefits of 5G
Perhaps the number one characteristic and benefit of a 5G network will be its incredible speeds. Already, 4G networks can provide data transfer speeds as high as 100MB per second, which enables the type of smooth video chatting we already use. But imagine a network that can reach speeds of 100 times this, and you get some idea of what 5G will be capable of. Big names like Nokia Networks are currently developing 5G. It would open up a new realm of possibilities for both businesses and consumers, including machine-to-machine communication. It would need to run on high frequency radio spectrums above 6GHz, currently reserved for functions like weather monitoring and satellite broadcasting.
Holographic calls and other features
Hologram phones seems like something straight out of Star Wars, but in actuality there will be little barrier to this type of technology once network speeds reach the capacity that many experts believe 5G will be able to provide. Even Ofcom has mentioned holographic calling as a potential function of 5G once it becomes widespread. Imagine being able to dial up your friend and projecting a 3D image of yourself directly to their device. Further functions could include in the medical sphere, to assist with 3D medical images, or enabling the design of fully connected self-driving cars. The sky’s the limit with network speeds this fast.
When will it get here?
At the moment, 2020 is a goal that’s been talked about by governments and telco companies alike. Countries like South Korea in particular have heavily invested in this technology’s future, to the tune of 1.5 billion dollars. Although trial networks may be up and running as soon as 2017, it could take a good 5-10 years before we really get to call our friends using hologram phones. Although some major telco companies are already on board with testing this new network, others will need to invest as well to create a universal standard for 5G. One thing to think about is which radio frequencies could be used. Ofcom in the UK will be heavily responsible for licensing the new networks, to determine which frequency on the spectrum can be used for 5G. Coverage will also need to be improved, to allow networks with this type of capacity to stay up and running. Yet there are many organizations working on overcoming these challenges, ensuring that we could be making hologram calls within the next decade!