The future is coming, and it’s going to be faster, more efficient, and more transformative than we could have possibly imagined just a decade ago. The arrival of 5G networks – said to be up and running by 2020, and with analysts predicting the super-fast connectivity of a billion people by 2025 – is causing waves […]
The future is coming, and it’s going to be faster, more efficient, and more transformative than we could have possibly imagined just a decade ago. The arrival of 5G networks - said to be up and running by 2020, and with analysts predicting the super-fast connectivity of a billion people by 2025 - is causing waves of excitement across the tech community… and it’s creating a real sense of anticipation for those in the events industry too.
The heightening and quickening of events connectivity is something we can all look forward to and await with bated breath. However, amid all of the thrilling predictions is also a sense of great focus and planning, as experience designers, events managers and events tech bods get down to the hard work of setting in motion what’s to come from this technological breakthrough. Make no mistake, the rise of 5G isn’t merely a generation of connectivity; it’s a new horizon of online possibility, allowing for the increased fluidity and customisation of our relationship with technology.
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One only has to look at the leaps of progress brought made by the advent of 4G a couple of years back to start imagining what awaits the world of mobile connectivity in the near future. 4G brought about the rise of the IoT (the Internet of Things) - 5G is set to usher in a fully mobile society. Our live and digital experiences will be ever more integrated and seamless. We'll have a myriad of opportunities to create deeper, more immersive, and more personalised brand and event experiences. 5G is truly throwing open the doors of creativity, and is sure to present all of us with the chance to make ever grander visions a reality.
At MCI Experience, we have already started exploring the potential of 5G, and have kept our ears close to the ground regarding what this higher level of mobile connectivity might bring with it. Let’s take a look at an overview of what technology is driving 5G, and what the events industry as a whole has to look forward to.
New Horizons with 5G Technology
While 5G is set to be many things for many sectors, the main feature that has everyone talking is the lightning speed of connectivity it is set to provide. Said to be no less than 1,000 times faster than 4G LTE, which would enable you to download an entire HD film in less than a second, it isn’t difficult to see just how dramatic of a change this will cause, not least for the events industry. What do those sorts of speeds mean in real terms? Well, download speeds of 1GBps are set to be the norm, and the amount of space this creates for a huge boost in the world of the IoT is, frankly, phenomenal.
5G is coming about as the result of years of dedicated work, and the mastering of truly cutting-edge technology. Connectivity is going to be boosted to levels which will allow massive, multi-platform sharing on an awe-inspiring scale, and may well do away with the problems of event WiFi for good. As the world of events becomes ever more global and interconnected via the internet and mobile devices, this new speed of mobile connectivity will blaze multiple trails for new technologies and events technologies we can only begin to imagine.
"One of the biggest claims made by the promoters of 5G is that it will actually spell the death of WiFi..."
One of the biggest claims made by the promoters of 5G is that it will actually spell the death of WiFi, due to the fact that 5G connectivity will allow people access to genuinely fast internet connectivity, no matter where they might be. While it seems unlikely that WiFi will be gone for good (as we can expect band speeds to improve alongside mobile connectivity), it seems perfectly plausible that the improved 5G global connectivity that 5G will make concepts like data roaming a thing of the past.
The word ‘global’ is perhaps the overarching buzzword surrounding the fervour that 5G is imbued with. 5G will be the first truly global mobile network, as it will introduce federated network slicing; something which will enable seamless, simultaneous platform sharing among operators spread all across the globe. The result? 5G will finally provide the solutions to a problem which has bugged operators for years: a global network service experience, which doesn’t require individual agreements with different operators around the world.
Live Streaming Like Never Before
Because 5G is set to be so much speedier than anything which has gone before, event organisers and event tech managers are already putting the wheels in motion for new opportunities in the realm of live streaming. Now that so many events are global or feature online participation and virtual attendees (often by the hundreds of thousands), live streaming has become a key factor in the contemporary events industry, and is part of a connectivity trend which is only set to rise. The higher bandwidth which 5G is bringing to the events industry means that mobile networks will excel at delivering live and virtual reality streams from ongoing live experiences, while also enabling complex digital information to be superimposed over live images - essentially, facilitating seamless augmented reality, for the benefit of the viewer or participant.
On top of this, we can expect both AR and VR to take other significant leaps forward with the arrival of 5G connectivity. Machine-to-machine connections will start making every aspect of the event experience more immersive, more detailed, and more personalised, and it’s likely they will also make our regular lives both smarter and safer, too. It’s also worth pointing out that 5G’s lower latency will make our smart devices’ battery life go that little bit further… and that’s something we can all agree is a very good thing indeed. After all, there’s nothing more frustrating that watching our battery life ebbing away while we’re trying to capture a big moment on our cameras, or are in the middle of a conference and trying to keep up with whatever’s happening on our screens!
"...we can expect both AR and VR to take other significant leaps forward with the arrival of 5G connectivity."
This increased battery life brings with it a wealth of opportunities for the further growth of added devices, wearables, and simultaneous tech use, as well as an expected boom for the IoT. As far as events planners are concerned, any chance to take beacons, wearables, and VR experiences further at events can only be a good thing!
Faster Bandwidth for Visual Beings
Remember back in the early years of mobile internet (we still fondly recall our first WAP enabled phones!), when the online world was almost entirely static and non-moving? Sure, there were photos aplenty - albeit ones which took an age to download - but the moving world of high quality videos on mobile devices felt like something straight out of science fiction.
How things have changed. The world today is one dominated by video content and increasingly sharp webcam feeds, live stream footage, and movie viewing. Humans are, by nature, visual beings, who respond best when faced with the closest thing to reality our devices can offer. 5G is predicted to respond in a genuinely impressive way to this evolution of our receptivity, and we can say pretty much for certain that the true dawn of video streaming on mobile connections is due to arrive with this new connectivity speed.
"Video marketing will be within reach of everybody, everywhere..."
What does this mean for the events industry? Well, firstly it means ‘goodbye’ to traditional forms of marketing. Video marketing will be within reach of everybody, everywhere, and the public will grow to expect more and more immersive, impactful, and visually dynamic marketing and promotional strategies. We’re talking fast, rich images, brought in increasingly high definition, and lacking any of the lagging and buffering we’re still putting up with today. Event marketers will be able to show off the visual aspects of their brand worlds like never before, and will be able to use video marketing, AR aspects, and vivid visual content which will glow from mobile screens across all continents, all at once. How we learn, consume and share content will be revolutionised through 5G and the possibilities of how we design this highly visual content will be endless.
Maximising Profits for Events with 5G
As any events manager will tell you, a huge amount of money gets spent each year on WiFi connectivity; currently an essential aspect to contemporary events, and one which is required for serving members of the public unable or unwilling to use their mobile connectivity. Once 5G comes along, all attendees will be able to access high speed, high quality mobile internet, freeing up event organisers to focus on providing meaningful content, rather than using up their time handling customised content delivery systems.
There’s little doubt that this is one of the key ways that 5G will help event planners save serious money over both the long and short term. What’s more, with greater efficiency and speed of mobile connectivity, and higher levels of online usability for all involved, profits will be further optimised simply as a result of time being saved behind the scenes.
"...profits will be further optimised simply as a result of time being saved behind the scenes."
5G isn’t going to be rolled out for another year. However, the time is here to begin planning for this bright new future of 5G network connectivity in the events industry. After all, the network architecture required to support this new system is far from insignificant. Over the next 12 months, we will all have to get down to understanding this technology on a deeper level, and we will all have plenty of work to do in ensuring that the events industry becomes the flagship on which 5G will fly highest, and shine brightest.
With the ever-increasing demand for live streamed events, massive multi-platform and global online events, and better quality video, AR, and VR content as part of an events package, there’s no doubt that 5G will change much of the industry as we know it. More dynamic content will be readily available, offering brands new innovative ways to communicate with wider audiences. The more interactive and sharable this content is, the bigger the opportunities to increase brand engagement and advocacy. At MCI, we’re fascinated by these developments, and are genuinely excited to see what’s waiting to be discovered in the near future. If people are already enthralled by visual content today, they simply won’t know what’s hit them in 2020.
MCI Experience is dedicated to bringing you brand experiences and marketing solutions which make the most of the latest trends and technologies. Find out more about how we can help you to activate your audiences through on-live engagement strategies.