Multiple CIO’s (Chief Information Officers) have stated they believe 5G’s business impact is still years away. Despite the rush of 5G-ready phones, laptops and other devices that we anticipate to hit the market, The Wall Street Journal reports. 5G, the fifth generation of wireless networks, expects to deliver speeds up to 100 times faster as the current 4G networks. But 5G services are currently only available in certain cities in the country. Plus, there are only a few 5G apps available that would warrant making the upgrade.
5G technology sales and production projections
Global 5G smartphone sales could reach approximately 170 million devices by 2021, The Wall Street Journal reports. That estimate is up from the 12 million units expected in 2019. During that same time period, 5G network devices, projected to increase from two million units to 10 million. This does not include smartphones.
Meanwhile, International Data Corp. predicts that 5G will account for approximately 9 percent of mobile-device connections by 2023. Currently, Samsung sells a 5G version of its Galaxy S10 smartphone. Verizon offers a Motorola Solutions phone that has a separate clip-on attachment to use 5G. Apple does not offer a 5G-enabled iPhone at this time.
Cowen, Inc., is a financial services company. They predict that “true 5G services” will not be available until 2022 at least, according to The Wall Street Journal.
CIO’s share their thoughts on 5G
Thirty CIO’s answered The Wall Street Journal’s “CIO Journal” annual year-end survey about their thoughts on new technologies and other issues—including 5G. Their consensus was that 5G is getting more attention than it deserves.
“5G continues to get overhyped,” Tim Nall, CIO of Jack Daniel’s maker Brown-Forman Corp told CIO Journal. “It’s still a few years away from true applicability.”
“Emerging technologies are just that. They are new and companies embrace them earlier than others. Depending upon problems they are trying to solve,” Elizabeth Hackenson, CIO at France-based industrial company Schneider Electric SE said.
She added that 5G would likely gain traction as network providers expand their geographic footprints. Which would make faster mobile speeds and bandwidth more accessible and less expensive.
How 5G networks will impact businesses
In work environments, 5G networks offer the promise of scaling IT projects. So that businesses will no longer have to create their own expensive fiber-optic networks to keep large pieces of data moving.
High-speed mobile networks allows for devices to move and analyze large amounts of information . As well as sensors deployed in manufacturing, transportation, retail and other industries. Meanwhile, any additional data can get added into software programs designed to improve anything from production processes to customer services. Especially when these programs get paired with artificial intelligence, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“5G is going to elevate performance as it becomes more readily available and more economically viable for network providers to roll out,” Bill Menezes, a senior principal analyst at IT research firm Gartner Inc. told CIO Journal.
Renée Lahti’s Thoughts
Not all CIO’s share Menezes’ optimism around 5G, however. Hitachi Vantara CIO Renée Lahti said in her response that 5G is a “telecom buzzword” with no substance behind the hype.
“For much of the year, we heard growing chatter around the term,” she said. Lahti added that 5G’s value from a business perspective was just beginning to emerge.
Manjit Singh is group vice president and CIO of Toyota Motor’s North American unit. He pointed out that increased attention on any new technology can have a negative impact. He said the hype around 5G has led to false expectations, and because of this, corporate spending on 5G projects will demand extra scrutiny.
State Farm Insurance Company CIO Ashley Pettit noted her company was working to get a head start on 5G deployments. Along with AI and blockchain—two capabilities CIOs said got overhyped in the past year.
“All new technologies seem to get some level of hype and attention as they emerge and often play out over a different time horizon than initially expected,” Pettit said.