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5G technology demands could cause a data revolution

After several years of waiting, 5G is finally in trial mode and already changing the accessibility, speed and latency of our personal data as we know it. Although many of the anticipated use cases of 5G are not expected to go mainstream for another two to three years, with an increase in bandwidth and speed, data is only going to become more and more important – and fast.

The future of 5G could drastically change the way businesses and even individuals look at their data. Data services are slowly evolving to cater to consumers, utilizing data for health and fitness, finances, digital interactions, and more. We are now in a position to make both major and marginal gains to our lives, just by paying attention to our personal data. With the shift in speed and accessibility that 5G brings, the possibilities are endless for what consumers could do with their data.

The evolution of connectivity

There’s been an evolution in how we as individuals have used data since the inception of 3G. Going live in 1998, 3G offered great promise of what consumers could expect. The phones were advertised as being able to access the internet, make video calls and they even had color screens. But in reality, the internet access was painfully slow, video calling worked very minimally, and color photo sharing was slow (but still fun). Unfortunately, 3G never lived up to its promise, and we had to wait until 2008, when 4G hit the market, to see real gains.

The new world, speed and accessibility of 4G got us hooked on our phones, and we marveled at the capabilities and data at our fingertips. The era of social media and constant connection kicked off, and consumers’ expectations of “now” and customer service as well as our needs changed.

While living in a 4G connected world has been exciting and even life altering, consumer demands have further shifted. More people are loading the network, and our once believed nirvana of instant access has started to feel slow. The promise of 5G is calling to us. It isn’t just the ability to connect 500 times the number of devices per square kilometer that’s exciting about 5G.

Other benefits like significantly decreased latency will transform the way we work. Just looking at autonomous vehicles, for example, a latency of 1 millisecond means that data can be shared between cars travelling at 70 miles per hour in 31 millimeters. Super high speed wireless broadband and smart cities are also on the 5G agenda, as it seeds a brand new way of thinking. With an increase in bandwidth and speed, data is only going to become more and more important to people.

The coming evolution of data

To deliver on these promises, we need to prepare. With 5G, there will be an influx of data, and enterprises need to update their infrastructure to maximize data capture and get the most out of the increased connectivity. We’re already seeing many organizations move to the cloud because of its benefits of scalability and flexibility that on-premises solutions can’t offer. Currently, migrating to the cloud is still a choice. However, 5G and the new demands from data will make the move to the cloud a necessity.

Data is fast becoming our most valuable commodity. But, beyond just where we store data, our ability to realize the benefits of this commodity is restricted by the availability of people able to work with it. With 2.5 quintillion bytes of potentially unstructured and varying quality data coming from continuously evolving sources on a daily basis, it’s important we think beyond the number of hands we have to do this work, and instead think about how we do this work.

Current solutions to data management will need to evolve to meet new requirements. Automating tasks with the help of machine learning and AI can help with data analysis. AI processing of data will make the 5G data influx much more manageable for organizations.

The model for consuming data could go the way of the music industry. We’ve moved from vinyl to tapes to CDs and now to subscription-based streaming services, which employ machine learning to recommend songs we might be interested in based on what we’ve been listening to. We’ve already started to see data consumption models move in this direction.

Most of these are priced based on a price per number of records basis, rather than a subscription for whatever you wish to use. They’re frictionless and immediate. You sign up, pay and the data is yours. However, current models are missing the machine learning recommendations of streaming services (e.g. “data you might also be interested in” or “interesting insights from comparing X dataset with Y”). As 5G brings about a new data revolution, though, we can anticipate this option will be created.

The evolution of data management

With the massive boost in data literally passing through our fingertips on a 24/7 basis, consumers are going to want even more insights – even more personal value and even more privacy. We’re living in a world of Cambridge Analytica, disinformation campaigns, data mining and data breaches. People are nervous about where their data is and what’s being done with it. 5G increasing data volumes will only make consumers more curious and more educated about their data.

This creates a new paradigm of data owners wanting to take back their data – perhaps to harbor for safekeeping, to acquire personal insights, or to control who it ends up with. However, the average consumer does not have the skills to process, store, make use of and safeguard their data.

This could lead to a new market for data management companies, who have traditionally been solely B2B. For example, on a smaller scale than what most are currently doing, vendors could provide pre-built processes in which consumers can create their own insights from their own private cloud. Consumers can use processing units developers have built and further build around their own data sets. The consumer’s data remains completely private, held within their own private section of the cloud, yet they can get first class data processing that today they’d have to give up their privacy for.

The need for individuals to get insights from their data is growing. With 5G in its infancy, we will soon see personal data skyrocket. This opens up a new market for businesses to better reach their consumers with tailored and real-time experiences, and for consumers to learn about themselves. So far, 5G’s promises are exciting, but this increased connectivity will come with greater responsibility – for everyone involved in the data process.

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