The promise of fifth generation ( 5G ) wireless and its lightning-fast download speeds has been on the horizon for a while now and with any luck, it’s closer than ever to becoming a reality.
Using 5G mobile networks on the move, such as to stream video content without buffering or upload multiple images to social media, are benefits we should all be able to enjoy, but what could 5G mean for data and its use in marketing?
Wireless technology is a term for the cellular network that connects our enabled-devices, like smartphones and tablets, to the internet when we’re out and about. It can vary from area to area, which is why you might see the little 4G symbol on your device change to 3G or even less when you’re on the move. According to research released earlier this year, London is the UK city with the best 4G coverage.
Each generation of wireless technology should be quicker, more secure and more reliable than the last, so 5G is set to be the best yet. Testing of 5G networks is happening this year – the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang was one of the first 5G test-cases in a real setting – and the hope is that the first 5G-enabled phones will hit the market in 2019.
There’s much that marketers should be excited about when it comes to 5G. If industry experts are to be believed, the next generation of wireless tech could completely revolutionise the way we use data for marketing purposes and create a myriad of new opportunities.
Marketers rely on data, and 5G will allow data transfers to happen in a fraction of the time it takes currently. Businesses will be able to upload, download, move and merge vast amounts of complex data swiftly and securely, which has huge implications for marketers looking to reveal new insights. With data in position and ready for analysis quicker than ever before, marketers should find themselves poised to create, test, implement and react to campaigns with newfound pace.
Data moving around at speed could also finally pave the way for the widespread adoption of technologies that need a sustained high bandwidth, such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). ‘Latency’ – or the time it takes for data to move from one point to another, such as to load a webpage – could be as low as 1-2 milliseconds with 5G, compared to average 4G latency rates of 50ms. This time delay, which in practice equates to near-constant buffering and huge data consumption, has so far prevented marketers from using these exciting new formats, but 5G could open up what’s possible in terms of VR and AR content.
With 5G in place, the scope for connecting everyday objects to the internet via the Internet of Things (IoT) can really take off. Some predict 5G could even end the era of the smartphone, as internet-enabled wearables and devices become our primary means of getting online. Even if this isn’t the case, it’s a good bet that 5G will result in a flourishing IoT market, and that each of these connected devices will generate a continuous stream of consumer data, much of which will relate back to individual users.
Marketers could use this data to inform true one-to-one marketing campaigns, taking what they know about how a consumer exercises via a wearable device and suggesting suitable fitness classes in the local area, or exercise gear on offer online, for example. Where consumers choose to, they may be able to receive recommendations from businesses based on their actual consumer behaviour, making individual personalisation a reality.
And who’s to say which objects could become internet-ready once 5G is launched? From lampposts that send notifications of local facilities as you pass by, to cars that can remind you to pick up milk when you’re driving past the supermarket, there’s really no limit as to what could become a connected device.
As we’ve mentioned, wireless connectivity varies around the country, and marketers may have always struggled to reach consumers living in 4G or even 3G-deprived areas, such as those that are very rural. Currently, Exeter has the worst 4G coverage of any city in the UK. When 5G is introduced, it is hoped that even rural parts of the UK will have access to fast and reliable internet eventually, although it could take time for this to be completely rolled out.
For marketers, this could mean a whole new set of potential customers, and the chance to create campaigns, products and services to suit them. Data gathered from newly-connected regions could indicate gaps in the market for all kinds of business opportunities, giving marketers fresh revenue streams and previously isolated consumers the amenities they’ve been missing.
Of course, there’s no need to wait until 5G is here to make the most of data for your marketing campaigns. There’s so much it can be doing for you right now, with the right knowledge, systems and processes in place.
We can help you uncover new data insight and analyse exactly what it means for your business, here and now. Simply contact us and tell us what you what to achieve.