After years of hype, 5G is finally becoming a reality. Many have claimed 5G, which is short for ‘fifth generation’ mobile networks, will be a game-changing technology. It has the capability to boost speed, coverage and responsiveness of wireless networks for connected devices, running between 10 to 100 times faster than the cellular connections available today.

5G was the major focus at Mobile World Congress (MWC) this year. Big technology players like Samsung, LG and Huawei showcased their 5G devices, such as the Galaxy S10 5G to the Huawei Mate X. However, they weren’t the only highlights of the show. There were futuristic looking VR and cloud gaming booths on display, like the HTC Vive Focus Plus cordless VR headset, all powered by 5G technology. These are taking the gaming experience to a whole new level, with instant and seamless connectivity.

Beyond the innovative, new devices that are coming out, what MWC has shown the world is the true potential of 5G. What is really exciting about 5G is how it can be applied to other devices, aside from mobile phones. In healthcare, for example, patients can have 5G-powered wearable devices that can instantly transmit information about their condition and treatment progress, making it much easier for doctors to monitor, diagnose and administer accurate treatments. Another interesting development is remote assistance – specialists can tune into a surgery in a different location to them via video conferencing systems that no longer freezes or lags, allowing surgeons to get immediate access to remote assistance and to save lives.

Another big market for 5G is self-driving cars. Despite safety concerns, with companies like Tesla and Toyota testing out driverless cars, it inevitably won’t be long before they become the norm. Autonomous vehicles require hundreds of sensors in order to be faster and smarter. These sensors generate large amounts of data, so handling, processing, and analysing all this incoming data requires a much faster network than the existing 4G technology can provide. With the ability to process data at incredible speeds, 5G will help self-driving cars make that leap to become a functioning, practical reality.

So, what does the future look like for 5G? It’s all relatively new territory still, but 5G is opening up many incredible avenues. 5G isn’t just “4G but better” – from mobile phones to self-driving cars and healthcare devices, 5G has the potential and capacity to transform industries across the board, and more importantly, society as a whole. However, as companies continue the massive undertaking of upgrading their networks, 5G devices and applications will be quite expensive for the foreseeable future, and so it may take a while before we can see the full benefits.

Nevertheless, it is proving great potential, and it’ll be interesting to see where it’ll take us!