5G Empowering Vertical Industries predicts that the Media, Entertainment, Health, Manufacturing, Automotive and Energy sectors will be transformed immensely in the roll-out of 5G networks globally by 2020. The white paper commissioned by the European Commission shares findings about the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0), Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) which will have significant impact on multiple sectors worldwide.
The next decade will see industries such as manufacturing evolve into digitally connected environments characterised by automation, robotics, video streaming and machine learning capabilities. The fifth-generation network capabilities in both downloading and uploading high speeds will transform many industries and have a direct impact on how brands will interact with their stakeholders.
Ericsson partnered with MTN in South Africa for the first trial of the 5G network on the African continent. They tested LTE-Unlicensed (LTE-U) which will enable MTN to boost its data speeds and indoor network traffic coverage. MTN and Ericsson utilised the unlicensed Gigahertz (GHZ) band that is often used in Wi-Fi networks during such tests. Vodacom, CellC and Telkom have also undertaken to conduct their own trials.
Media and entertainment industries are generally cited as facing the most threat of disruption by new entrants and developments in technology. Brands in these sectors will have to continually innovate and adapt to stay ahead of the curve because 5G promises to lead to significant industry changes. The ubiquity of data and high-speed broadband at affordable rates will transform consumer needs and trends.
Cost of Data
A World Bank economic update in 2016 found that South Africa had the fourth most expensive data costs across 17 African countries and this is said to slow down progress in under-resourced communities. The appointment of Communications Minister, Ayanda Dlodlo, #DataMustFall across social media with Twitter users leading discussions and the recent #SocialMediaShutdown have seen a renewed sense of urgency in reviewing the costs of telecommunications. The minister indicated that she will be working to change the prohibitive cost of data and communications in South Africa.
4K Streaming & Mobile Virtual Reality
High impact services like 4K Video Streaming, a service that streams 4K Ultra HD resolution videos, which has been led by Sony, Netflix and Showmax will be massively adopted by media and entertainment brands as one of the first benefits of 5G networks.
It is predicted that Virtual Reality will be utilised on even more mobile devices and create new user experiences that will lead to an increase in entertainment platforms for consumers. These changes will include gaming, on-site live concerts, sports and awards events.
Customisable 3D Broadcast
5G will also enable new ways of media consumption with augmented reality increasing in usage, news content being beamed into homes, cars and offices. Brands in broadcasting will have the opportunity to provide customisable, interactive and personalised 3D sports broadcast services much faster and cheaper.
South African television network SuperSport became the first broadcaster in Africa to conduct a 360 Degree Virtual Reality Broadcast when South Africa’s Springboks rugby team played against France at Durban’s Kings Park Stadium on 17 June 2017. The live streaming was beamed on both Facebook and YouTube. “We hope this adds to the richness of the traditional broadcast and look forward to seeing the results“, said Gideon Khobane, SuperSport CEO as reported on TechCentral.
The eSports gaming industry’s problem of latency will fade away with the rise of 5G. It is predicted that latency times will be reduced to milliseconds and connections will be clearer. The speeds of 5G networks and related technologies will change the gaming landscape in South Africa. eSports gaming is beginning to gain traction in Africa with the recent Samsung Galaxy CS: GO Championship tournament that had a R1-million prize value – a first of its kind in South Africa.
Gaming platforms will continue to evolve and provide brands with increased growth and marketing opportunities. The gaming scene will give innovative brands an opportunity to grow organically within this mainly millennial demographic.
Growth of African brands
African brands have the opportunity to take advantage of the increased capabilities that 5G promises and to take the lead in this digitally driven, socio-economic and business transformation that continues to evolve across the globe. The implementation of 5G and its effects on industries might take a while, but the impact and disruption can catapult forward thinking market players. It can also be one of the waves that might lead to slow movers becoming obsolete.