Despite some difficulties regarding expenses and data security, for SMEs, the implementation of 5G can result in remarkable future success. 

Understanding 5G

5G – the fifth-generation mobile network – has been creating a worldwide sensation. Fast, highly reliable data delivery and very low latency are its significant advantages. For instance, 5G networks are 20 times the speed of 4G, reaching up to 10 gigabytes (GB) per second. In terms of latency, 5G’s figure has witnessed a dramatic reduction compared to its predecessor, from 200 milliseconds to 1 millisecond.

5G also enables large-scale device-to-device communication, up to one million devices per square kilometer to be exact. As a result, it is expected to upscale the rollout and adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT); create consistent user experiences; and facilitate larger network capacity. Overall, the technology will help achieve improved performance and efficiency in a smarter, more connected world.

5G – Driving SMEs forward

5G accelerates Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) by contributing to two important aspects: enhancing business efficiency and promoting innovations. First, with 5G, companies can expect to work more effectively. It allows rapid transmission, collection, and processing of data in large volumes. Consequently, the technology assists businesses in making undisrupted connections with their clients. For instance, with the aid of the 5G network, an AI-enabled Chatbot can process and respond to customers’ inquiries at a faster speed and higher accuracy. Backend systems dealing with customers’ orders will function more smoothly with minimum latency and lagging. Similarly, 5G offers a larger capacity and faster upload and download speed, making it more convenient for everyone to complete the tasks. 

Second, 5G encourages innovative changes in SMEs. Its high-speed mobile connectivity supports a stable platform where SMEs can develop and experiment with new technologies. Relying on high data transfer speed, a manufacturing company can operate a real-time surveillance system to manage its assembly processes. 5G also opens many new possibilities for developing the Internet of Things (IoT) in particular. For example, agricultural businesses can remotely employ sensors to track their crops’ health status and trigger automated actions according to the specific condition. 

The question remains: Is it going to pay off?

For SMEs, their executives may be doubtful about whether it is worthy of adopting 5G. They are subject to various expensive changes, such as switching to new compatible devices, rebuilding infrastructures, or employing skilled personnel to handle the latest technology. These investments might be a huge consideration for CIOs and SMEs with limited resources as they can feel unsure if they can yield expected returns. 

Another concern is about data security. Many companies worry that a newly introduced platform for sharing data like 5G can imply foreign access and interference risks. It is a crucial issue for SMEs, as they may not have the advanced infrastructure and technology needed to handle cyber-attacks.

There are two conditions that must be met to achieve the optimal level of security. According to Karsten Nohl (founder of SRLabs, a security research firm), it must be “pure” 5G networks, meaning no presence of previous generations like 3G and 4G. This request is not likely to be realized in a short amount of time. Second, there must be proper compliance with recommended protocols when setting up the network. Due to their lack of proficient personnel or financial resource, SMEs may not be able to fulfill this requirement. By doing so, they bring in unforeseen weaknesses and subject their systems to dangerous breaches.

In the past, consumers may have benefited the most from each new wireless generation. However, businesses will be the biggest winners this time. Though there are shortcomings to be aware of, 5G technology still deserves to be a “game-changer” factor for SMEs to leverage their advantages, making them more resilient and competitive.

Reference:

What is 5G technology: Why it is key for SMEs’ success. Link
Everything you need to know about 5G. Link
Conversation: 5G — Challenges and Opportunities for SMEs. Link
5G Is More Secure Than 4G and 3G—Except When It’s Not.  Link