What Is 5G and How Does It Affect Mobile App Development?

The world is now going gaga around 5G technology: and it’s not just about consumers who are excited to be introduced to the higher level of connectivity, but about mobile developers and tech-driven businesses as well. The thing is that the introduction of the 5G network opens up new development opportunities and is going to dramatically transform the way we use mobile apps. So what is 5G, how does it differ from 4G, what are the benefits offered by this type of network, and what can we expect after it spreads worldwide? Let’s try to figure these things out. 

What Is 5G?

To start with, let’s define 5G. The quote below is provided by Wikipedia.

Even though it may seem that 5G is a modified version of its predecessor – 4G, the truth is that it’s an entirely new type of network. In the battle of 4G vs 5G, the latter wins in terms of much faster data sharing, which is 10 times higher than the one offered by 4G. But the speed is not the only benefit related to this new type of network infrastructure. 

Key Benefits of 5G

It is true that from a user perspective, the key advantage of 5G is entirely related to data sharing speed. The same was with the implementation of 4G after the 3G technology, when 2Mbps speed offered by the latter increased to 20Mbps. With the 5G network, users can enjoy speeds of 50 Mbps and higher. But if we look at 5G from the perspective of developers and tech-savvy businesses, there are even more benefits offered by this new network infrastructure: these are low latency and higher connection density.

Low Latency

The reduction of delays is crucial for better decision making and more efficient machine operations, and here is where one of the most important benefits of 5G lies. In comparison to 4G that is known for having latency of 50-55 millisecond, 5G offers 1 millisecond latency, reducing possibility for delays and interference. 

Higher Connection Density

One more challenge of the modern networks is represented by the ability to operate in crowded places. When it comes to 4G, the network interface allows supporting around 2000 devices, over an area of 40 miles. So when the number of connections decreases, the network fails in terms of quality of mobile connectivity. In contrast, the 5G network can support up to million devices in the same radius, offering much higher connection density.  

So what do these advantages mean to developers? What are the impacts of 5G to mobile applications? Let’s find out.

How Does 5G Impact Mobile App Development?

The impact of 5G on how users interact with their mobile phones is represented by richer functionality of apps, more innovative technologies available, and more satisfying, real-time mobile experience. But how can it affect the development process? The simplest answer is that 5G will offer more space for creativity, in relation to the following aspects of mobile app development

Outstanding User Experience

Taking advantage of the low latency and high-speed connectivity benefits offered by 5G, mobile developers get an opportunity to create richer, more fascinating and capturing user experiences. So when it comes to the responsiveness of apps, 5G definitely contributes to the sufficiently improved quality that makes users enjoy the app usage and investigation.  

Rich Integrations

With 5G, it is possible to deliver solutions that are integrated with multiple technologies but are still fast and responsive. It is so because the 5G network allows using data centers in the cloud, in this way eliminating the increase in the app’s complexity. 

Greater Bandwidth

Whether we are talking about gaming apps or those featuring high quality videos, 5G contribution can be applied to both. With this new type of network, the buffering time is minimized, which also means that 5G paves the way for such innovative, immersive, and realistic experiences as augmented and virtual realities. 

The Rise of IoT

The impact of 5G is not limited by AR/VR innovations, but also opens up space for wider use of the Internet of Things technologies. To be exact, this type of network is created exactly for the rise of IoT, so whether these are smart homes, smart manufacturing, or smart medicine – 5G creates the friendliest IoT environment. 

How Will 5G Change the World?

Despite all the advantages 5G is supposed to bring, telecom companies doubt the need in its worldwide implementation when the technology became available. It was so, because they were not sure if consumers would be able to appreciate the offered benefits. Nevertheless, the pandemic situation changed that: isolation measures taken worldwide and the resulting increase in distant working, learning, healthcare, ect. have contributed to its adoption. So what changes can we expect from the rise of 5G and what is the visible future of this technology?  

Creation of Smart Spaces

With the use of 5G, businesses that offer their products and services in public areas that are known for being crowded with people and facing high traffic, would be able to deliver faster, in the most satisfying way, and for a greater number of clients at the same time. Such smart spaces will definitely result in business growth and would allow businesses to enjoy even more benefits than those offered by 5G to their consumers.

The beneficial impact and potential of 5G will spread in such places as airports and train stations, stadiums and halls, theme parks and other areas of entertainment. What is more, in addition to allowing businesses to operate faster and in a more efficient manner, 5G will also share its benefits with people demanding for services, making them more available, richer in diversity, and easier to access. 

Rise in the Market of Wearables

Because the nature of 5G is to allow better connectivity, these are exactly the connected devices that would benefit from this network most. The rise in IoT was predicted even before the 5G introduction. For example, the IDC report stated that by 2023, the number of connected units on the market will get to 500 million. As for now, such world-known influencers as Facebook, Amazon, Google, and others are working on models that would be capable of replacing smartphones, offering the same functionality along with more convenient use and more innovative feel. And the 5G network with its speed and connectivity benefits would allow developers to broaden their horizons of creativity and make these new devices as useful and demanded as never before.  

Transformation of Industrial Processes

There are several industries that can get the most out of 5G benefits, including transportation and logistics where 5G will be used for improved coordination, sensor-sharing, and protection for pedestrians; healthcare where it will enhance telemedicine and open up space for the creation of new medical devices; and manufacturing, where it is going to contribute to greater seed, productivity, and security in production. Nevertheless, the greatest impact is predicted to occur in the automotive industry, where 5G is expected to represent 53% of 5G IoT endpoints by 2023.  

New Approaches to Privacy And Security 

It’s no secret that more data means more possibilities for data breaches, so the use of 5G with the outbreak of connected devices will challenge tech specialists to look for new ways of establishing greater security and privacy to their solutions. Nevertheless, along with challenges, 5G provides new opportunities to implement innovative approaches to these issues. 

The Bottom Line

The worldwide adoption of 5G will have a significant impact on mobile app development, influencing both user experience and  the processes and approaches associated with the creation of solutions. For sure, such a transformation will require businesses to adapt to the new environment, opening up new opportunities and in this way increasing the rate of competitiveness. So here are some of the ways that would allow you to prepare your business to 5G:

  • Invest your resources in richer functionality of your apps to ensure their competitive edge;
  • Improve UI/UX of your allocations to attract and retain more users;
  • Pay attention to cloud development, as it will allow a variety of integrations that would be important for your existing or upcoming solutions;
  • If there is a place for AR/VR solutions in your business model, don’t miss a chance to take advantage of this technologies and provide your consumers with immersive experiences;
  • Consider the adoption of the Internet of Things to automate processes, and unleash the power of innovation.

Emerline specialists can help you implement any of the above-mentioned solutions to ensure your business modernity, potential for prosperity, and readiness to the 5G network. Our consultations are free, so feel free to contact us in case of any questions.  

Dorian Koci

Dr. Dorian Koçi is a historian, Director of National Historical Museum of Albania and lecturer in Tirana State University, Faculty of History and Philology and New York University of Tirana.