5G will change how we live; in practice, it may look like the advanced Internet of Things (IoT) devices we use at home such as a smart refrigerator, the security systems to protect our loved ones like our Ring doorbell or the robotic surgery done from across the world in an emergency room.
As 5G improves the way we live and work, opportunity for communications increases on a global level. The storytelling that PR and marketing professionals will be tasked with will help educate the masses about the impact of 5G technology across industries. It’s a big job, but someone has to do it! As communicators, we are responsible for highlighting how increased data, low latency and faster edge computing is going to make a tangible difference.
Merritt Group put out a recent infographic detailing this topic and I'm here to dive deeper today.
Media hype or reality around 5G innovation?
Edge computing, artificial intelligence (AI) and IoT continue to be at the forefront of 2020’s technology trends and headlines, specifically around how 5G-enables new technologies and existing use cases.
5G technology enables a list of possibilities for explosive data since 1.4 billion devices will be connected to 5G by 2025, according to GSMA. While the 5G conversation has been heavily focused on autonomous vehicles and telecom capabilities, the truth is that there is more beyond improving our mobile connectivity with this emerging technology.
To drill down, the rate of technology innovation will increase because of 5G and it will enable AI and machine learning (ML) at the edge and bring with it new companies and tech capabilities like we’ve never seen. As these devices and technology are being developed across industries, what used to take years or months to go to market, will now be done at record speeds. Bill Menezes, a senior principal analyst at Gartner Inc. said in the Wall Street Journal, “5G in the field, in real-world deployments, enhances the value of all these other technologies.”
While the rate of advancement is clear, the speed and quality of data processing will also be greatly enhanced and bring new and reliable products. 5G should be seen and positioned as a technology enabler that will up-level most of what we already do and take us to where we’ve always wanted to go.
The edge brings speed...and opportunities for marketers
5G will enable large amounts of data to be processed at the edge, driving new capabilities such as real-time notifications of available parking locations or smart pills with miniature chips that doctors can use to manage patient health. IoT will be empowered with the needed connectivity and processing ability that will bring us new devices that we’ve only imagined, including wearables with preventative and proactive decision-making capabilities based on your body’s temperature.
Gartner predicts that the 5G IoT endpoint installed base will approach 49 million units by 2023 and within that, the largest market for 5G IoT solutions is outdoor surveillance cameras. These cameras will represent 70 percent of the 5G IoT endpoint installed base in 2020, before contracting to 32 percent by the end of 2023. By increasing the amount of data and speed processed at the edge in real-time, surveillance cameras will be able to not only visually see a situation on video, but, using AI, can analyze the data and proactively generate a response or predictive warning. Data processing speeds will increase at the edge because of 5G, but more importantly, is the data that it’s pulling. This will be a new opportunity for marketers to highlight how 5G takes company data to the next level, empowering existing technologies and enabling new products.
Addressing the customer data narrative in 5G communications
The speed and processing ability from 5G and edge computing will bring in more data than we’ve ever known what to do with. How IoT, telecom and medical companies use and organize their data will become even more crucial because it can either strengthen a product or weaken it. Likewise, how marketing and communication professionals express their brand’s story about how they use or protect their customer’s data will be incredibly valuable.
For example, pharmaceutical development will take on an entirely new pace and a medicine or vaccination that once took years to test will be sped up as 5G speeds and data processing meets data science modeling. Finding the right formula and testing various outcomes will be so directly impacted that it will make the speed of vaccination creation prior to 5G look like the stone age. The pace of launching new products into the market will increase, along with their marketing and PR campaigns, calling for new strategies and processes to be quickly implemented.
If processed data is coming in at a higher speed in real-time, remote patient monitoring, robotic surgeries guided from a doctor across the world or equipment maintenance for assisted living facilities or those with chronic illness and special needs become realities. Machines will become smarter, make better decisions and will be designed to assist humans within the medical world at an increasing rate. According to Samsung, virtual reality, at-home monitoring, rehabilitation, virtual doctor visits and more will be enhanced by 5G, reducing overall healthcare costs and bringing access to rural areas. Highlighting use cases, educating consumers and promoting the data inspired by the benefits of these technologies will be a marketer’s bread and butter.
Once 5G becomes the standard level of connectivity, medical accessibility will be possible in regions that were once isolated and the hospital will meet your living room. A recent report from Market Research Future predicts that the telemedicine industry will experience a 16.5 percent compound annual growth rate from 2017 to 2023, due to an increased need for medical services in rural and underserved areas. But, the COVID-19 pandemic had other plans, and the use of telemedicine, or virtual doctor appointments, may reach one billion by the end of 2020. This is just the beginning and with the help of 5G, more new life saving capabilities will be coming to our doorsteps.
It will take time before many of these examples are implemented, however it’s important to note that they are on the horizon and the future with 5G will make the 2000’s look archaic. The speed, low latency and other capabilities that come with 5G are going to optimize most of life as we know it - from healthcare, government, IoT, supply chain and more.
So what does this all ultimately mean for PR and marketing pros?
Since there are many industries expected to be impacted, marketing and communications professionals need to be prepared to evolve their message and communicate the results of 5G clearly to key influencers and stakeholders. Here’s how:
Embrace Thought Leadership: The potential of 5G — with everything from high-power edge computing to lightning-fast speed — is an opportunity for consumers and businesses alike. Brands should position themselves as visionaries and discuss trends and predictions while highlighting the evolution of their business, building interest and excitement around the positive impact of 5G.
Validate Your Approach to 5G: Like many other emerging technologies over the years, brands associated with 5G oftentimes overstate or overhype their 5G story. From a market and media perspective, be sure to validate your story with partnerships, analyst references, tangible solutions that solve real-world problems and, of course, customer case studies (always easier said than done).
Prioritize Your Data And What It’s Telling You: Because 5G-enabled technologies are in their infancy, validation can prove difficult for the players and the space will be crowded. Invest time and resources in the data that validates your business’ solution is an answer to a major market problem. Data about how the technology can address your customer’s pain points will help frame your story, which in turns amplifies your external communications, marketing and PR efforts.
For more information and to create a marketing and communication plan fit for what 5G will bring, email Suzanne Block and firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on how to create differentiated 5G messaging, read our blog here.