The future: more services, more markets, more complexity
The current Release 15 of the specification standardises the fundamental features needed for network operators to provide 5G enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) services. Ultimately, 5G will support massive Machine-Type Communications (mMTC) and Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communication (URLLC) with the change to SA deployments, making many new and diverse types of services possible. These are expected to include advanced automation and cloud robotics for Industry 4.0, e-health applications, autonomous driving, and many others that are not yet conceived. With their arrival, the scope of test activities will extend to include safety and security aspects such as reliability, deterministic low latency, authentication, and encryption.
Already industry bodies are forming, such as the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA) and the 5G Alliance for Connected Industry and Automation (5GACIA), comprising chip makers, industry-specific corporations, and telecom operators interested in developing new ideas that will leverage 5G for the benefit of these specific industries.
With so many diverse interests, we can expect numerous new proposals to come forward that will mould and shape 5G infrastructures, devices, applications, and services. The sheer flexibility to fulfil multiple demands and support new applications will require all involved to open their minds more widely.