The True Impact Of 5G On eCommerce
For those who have followed the evolution of 5G, it has become sufficiently clear that the sky is the limit for this technology. The potential utilization should leave anyone staggering for the sheer gravity and breadth of it all. Nowhere is this more clear than in the world of eCommerce; when you take a closer look, it is clear that the full range of 5G applications has the potential to transform the experience of online shopping completely.
5G is king
There’s a reason that 5G has been named “fiber without the fiber.” It has been shown to produce similar speeds to fiber optics – reaching even into the gigabit range – and since it’s a wireless transmission protocol, it requires no extensive infrastructure of buried or hung cable. Its infrastructure demands, by example, are much more straightforward – often including a tower, transmitter, and some incidental hardware – and can, therefore, be made available in more places.
This directly addresses a point that has been a hot topic issue of contention almost since the inception of the internet itself: the “digital divide.” There are many places in the United States, and beyond, where internet service of any sort is either unavailable completely or prohibitively high-priced and limited in scope. This keeps those folks out of many typical applications that those on the other side of the divide take for granted.
With 5G in extensive use, suddenly, users have access to ultra-high-speed internet of adequate capacity to open up a range of new facilities. Imagine what happens when those who beforehand had no access to even cable television can suddenly stream Netflix. Imagine what this means for bottom lines as market sizes suddenly increase by double-digit factors.
For anyone who’s ever used 3G wireless or dial-up internet, we know that its ability to conduct high bandwidth processes such as streaming video was limited at best. We furthermore know that when we have access to improved systems, like 4G or megabit cable, the performance of these technologies continues to improve. Now, what happens when we go to the latest technology, but try to run it on the backbone of current models? We get the same effect that we did to stream video over dial-up.
Thus, with 5G, we’re able to open up a whole new range of technologies like augmented and virtual reality. We can put these technologies to work in eCommerce operations, and we’ve already seen them at least get started. We’ve seen how augmented reality can take a smartphone’s camera’s view of a living room, and show us just what a specific sofa might look like in-place if it was purchased. We’ve seen some stores experimenting with mirror surfaces that can show just what a shirt might look like on a person, enabling us to ‘try on’ considerably more clothes in a much shorter period. These points are just the beginning of the new technologies that we can put to use with the right infrastructure.
But will everything old, or new, still work?
5G can revolutionize eCommerce, whether by showing us how things look in their proper setting or taking the trouble out of driving a car, not every possibility will come to fulfillment. Several vital concerns emerge over the impact of such changes. For instance, introducing technology to new markets, and crossing the digital divide could have a significant effect on the region. What happens to the formerly-vibrant local hardware store when anything it has—and then some—can be had, cheaper, on Amazon or eBay?
The issue of the smart city has never emerged without privacy concerns; intelligent cities depend on a flow of information on a scale never before seen. 5G will almost certainly not deploy evenly, but rather be implemented in the standard fashion, addressing large municipalities first and then filtering down into the countryside, which in some cases is still waiting for 4G to make an impression.
There is an excellent potential for 5G to impact eCommerce, but it doesn’t come without potential drawbacks or a lack of uniformity. Still, with a massive array of possibilities for new markets and new technologies alike, 5G is worth every bit of resources required to put it in place and keep up with its developments accordingly.