How 5G will power the future of economies

Andy Sim, Vice President & Managing Director, Singapore, Dell Technologies

In recent times, we have witnessed how the fifth generation of telecommunication data, or 5G,  has stood as one of the most critical enabler to advance our digital economy and connectivity transformation.

With far more robust wireless infrastructure, we can connect clouds to edges, and masses of devices to people across the globe. Yet, more importantly, we’ll need less energy to power it all – with 5G proving to be 90% more energy-efficient as compared to 4G.

Despite 5G’s potential, we have yet to see a full-scale rollout in Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ). According to a study by The Economist Intelligence Unit, the national rollout of 5G varies greatly across the region, with Singapore among the leaders and countries like Vietnam and India among the laggards.

In Singapore, we are working towards islandwide 5G coverage by 2025. As we see the rise and increased pervasiveness of 5G, the ultra-high speeds and reliability offered by this technology will serve as the foundation for bandwidth intensive applications to shine. Businesses can expect to see stronger use cases for edge computing to stimulate new growth.

If we can successfully tap on 5G technology in this digitally transformed age, organisations can fully harness its potential to support critical economic recovery, boost sustainable transition and power economies of the future.

A game-changer for technological innovation

As businesses and nations move forward in the Data Era, they will need better connectivity and more data transfer power. To address this demand, 5G will deliver ultra-fast connection speeds and gigantic bandwidth to drive companies’ efficiency and innovation potential.

Futuristic heavy-data technologies such Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and Extended Reality (XR) are increasingly making a real-world impact in the Digital Future. Take for example Singapore’s recent public sector 5G trials conducted at Sentosa island, where local government agencies have been testing the use of fully automous road-sweeping robots, tele-operated vehicles and augmented-reality educational games. With the help of 5G, these innovations will eventually be rolled out nationwide to improve operational effectiveness and deliver citizen-centric services for Singaporeans.  

More than just upgrading wireless communications ecosystems, 5G will also boost global innovation by connecting to other technologies like edge computing. Together, varying, but connected systems will enable huge amounts of data to be wirelessly processed in real-time –  anywhere in the world.

Boosting sustainability

It is also important to ensure that digital transformation and sustainable development go hand-in-hand, and this is where 5G can help. Studies show that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) solutions can potentially reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by up to 15% by 2030. This will go far to cut costs, energy usage, emissions, and waste and help put digital transformation on a sustainable pathway.

Currently, throughput limitations force 4G network devices to work at full capacity, resulting in constant energy inefficiency. When deployed strategically and at scale, the increased capacity of 5G enables a 90% reduction in network energy usage.

Additionally, IoT applications powered by 5G offer many other innovative solutions to sustainability as well. For example, the Singapore Housing and Development Board’s (HDB)  Smart Enabled Home Initiative employs this technology to improve daily living in HDB homes through ‘Smart Living’. Through their phones, users can install a Utilities Monitoring System that allows them to track their overall household water and energy consumption, and adopt a more eco-conscious lifestyle while enjoying lower utility bills. The data gathered in real-time from these smart devices is made possible today thanks to ICT innovations such as 5G.

Powering economies of the future

Building sustainable 5G networks is no small feat, even compared to past telecom generations. It is a massive undertaking that requires considerable public and private support for new infrastructure, devices, and services. Despite the costs, it is critical to future-proof the economy and sustain competitiveness.

However, it is important to remember that the future of 5G is not just about speed. Data capacity and speed together will enable a radically new spectrum of possibilities. In Singapore, we have already started to witness how 5G can benefit sectors such as healthcare, construction and transport, as seen from the recent trials at Sentosa.

Today, we are only seeing a glimpse of the future of 5G. Organisations and nations must start evaluating their current infrastructure solutions with 5G in mind, and they will require solutions that are simple, integrated and cost effective. With the right tools and know-how in place, societies of today will not only recover but evolve to prosper.

Andy Sim oversees the company’s growth and operations in Singapore, with primary responsibilities for leading the sales strategy, go-to-market, business development and enhancing relationships with customers across public and private sectors, partners and alliances.