The biggest topic at CTIA this year was probably the one with the smallest name, 5G.
From keynote speakers to device manufacturers, everyone was keen to share how this revolution in connectivity will affect life, business and industry over the coming years. Getting future ready is going to require international cooperation on standards and infrastructure specifications as well as massive national investment programs. Industry heavyweights stressed the need for focus on the three pillars when rolling out 5G architecture: reliability, capacity and latency. This quantum leap in the way that systems interact will benefit every area of life, but the main beneficiaries will be IoT ecosystems and mission critical services.
Another bright star was the much heralded coming of LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) networks, several companies are close to making this a real option for IoT systems and the reduced cost, low maintenance and minimum intervention it should offer are appealing. However, challenges in effecting its deployment still remain.
In preparation for the proliferation of connectivity possibilities industries are moving forward with developments in wearable technology and augmented reality applications. Expected to give a further dimension to how we interact together and with our environment, innovation in location, monitoring and management systems continues at a rate of knots.
5G is not here yet though, and the fact remains that a multi-trillion-dollar investment is required to get it here. LPWA is not a real option yet either, although expected to arrive sooner. While we wait, there are other perfectly viable alternatives to consider. In addition to the traditional 3G and 4G services on offer, the expansion and development of RPMA technology, designed with machines in mind instead of being modified from human needs, makes huge IoT networks a sustainable reality right now.