There are billions of IP enabled devices such as cameras, generators and home automation systems on the Internet today. By the year 2020, it is expected that there will be roughly 20 billion of these objects online. This will bring new business opportunities for companies and make peoples lives more convenient. This explosion of new devices will be possible due to a new generation of wireless technology known as 5G.
While you may not be familiar with the terminology, almost everyone is using 4G technology today on his or her smart phones. This is how your phone connects to the Internet while you are on the road. 5G is just an enhancement of this very popular technology. While it works extremely well today, it does have some limitations and the next generation is being designed with the Internet of Things in mind.
Some of these new features include higher bandwidth and higher simultaneous connections all while reducing power consumption. This allows for an ecosystem of devices that are connected at all times. An example of this would be what is known as a Smart City where every camera, parking meter, power meter, water meter, street light, traffic light, etc. are all connected and communicating in real time. They are typically owned and managed by separate entities; however, if implemented correctly, sharing this information with each other would be beneficial to not only each other but the residents/customers as well.
When a traffic light goes out, the city police department would be notified immediately so they can send out a police officer to control the traffic flow. Currently the police are typically informed when someone calls it in to dispatch. The light could be down for a long period of time before this occurs. Sometimes they are notified when an auto accident occurs.
As you can see, these technologies will allow for a level of information sharing that was never possible before. They also produce information that provides visibility in to how cities currently operate and give decision makers the ability to determine how they should operate in future. Over the next 5 to 10 years, we will likely see this being rolled out on a large scale as aging equipment is phased out and replaced with this new technology.