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#44 How will 5G affect to economy and society?

The fourth industrial revolution’s full potential will be fully realized through the wide-scale deployment of 5G communication networks. 5G will be critical and it has enormous, as yet unbranded potential, to serve society as a whole, both in the public and private sectors. 5G makes possible to increase productivity, create a whole new kind of business models and boost the data economy.

5G as a catalyst for economic growth

According to excellent report by World Economic Forum: The Impact of 5G: Creating New Value across Industries and Society, 5G will be a catalyst for socio-economic growth in the fourth industrial revolution with an estimated $13.2 trillion of global economic value and and 22.3 million jobs reached by 2035.

The report says, that 5G will be critical because it will enable unprecedented levels of connectivity. It will provide superfast broadband, ultra-reliable and low latency communication, high reliability/availability, massive automated machine to machine (M2M) -type communications and efficient energy usage. Together, these defining features are radically changing many sectors, such as transportation, public services, health sector and manufacturing industry.

Significant economic and social benefits can be derived from the widespread deployment of 5G networks. Authorities and city officials must decide whether and when to invest in 5G infrastructure; companies need to assess appropriate use cases and business models; and citizens need to find ways to reap the full benefits of technology while ensuring community rights, safety and privacy policy. The transition to 5G networks and their efficient use can only be achieved if all stakeholders - citizens, the private sector and government - work effectively together to address these issues. Stakeholders will have their expectations met, but will need to wait for the full experience. Things will evolve in stages.

5G will increase customer value and willingness to pay for new kind of services. Society changes and revolutionizes when not only people, but also devices connect to the network. The physical and digital worlds are merging even more closely.

As the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes more widespread; cars, televisions, heaters, refrigerators, hospital robots and why not even parts of a building are all online. That means a huge potential to develop new data-driven services and digital disruption. Needless to say, there is a greater need for improved data management and productization or servitization.

The other side of the coin

As an example, the power of technology giants like Google, Amazon and Facebook is likely to grow with 5G networks. Data from IoT devices and network services is stored on cloud service platforms and stored in data centers. Amazon and Google own the majority of data centers, so the data stored is also partially their property. Especially for their part, cybersecurity and data ethics must be much higher level than at present. These giant companies can process and utilize what they collect in a variety of ways. It is very difficult for outsiders to get information about what technology giants are doing with the data they have. There is also a theoretical risk of the dystopian surveillance society.

High-speed data connections to achieve full 5G, require base stations very densely, which is almost impossible in sparsely populated areas. How can we ensure equal treatment of citizens as part of the information society? And do people have the money to invest in new and ever-evolving devices? 5G as part of the society and the data economy, equality must be promoted.


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