The 5G Internet of Things

OMG did you hear that 5G is coming to wireless networks? Or, is it here already; it’s so fast that I can’t tell.

No, it’s not here yet, and it could actually be several years until it is ready for consumption by the general public. You might hear misleading things about how it might launch this year, but you should know that that isn’t a consumer, or public launch. That launch refers to tests. After initial testing, there will be some commercial testing as well, before homes and business get full access. So, why is everyone talking about it now, and what will it mean for home automation?

In short, people are talking about it now because they are excited. Like, Christmas morning and you wanted a Tickle-Me-Elmo excited. 5G is the answer to the data demand that has grown – rapidly – over the few decades. If you’re in your 50s you may not have ever had a computer at home growing up; if you’re in your 40s you did not have a cell phone growing up (you used something called a “pay phone”), if you’re in your 30s you saw the birth of text messages when you were in college. That is how rapidly technology is advancing.

It’s not just people that are connected anymore, either; now there are connected things. Our computers, tablets, and phones are connected, sure but so are our cars, our lights, or televisions, our coffee makers. Yes, even our coffee makers.

Many of those connected things can be, and are, controlled and accessible to us through a wireless Internet connection. The problem is – though I use the world problem loosely – that the networks that connect us to the Internet just aren’t fast enough for our liking (or for the future that we envision with things like self-driving cars). As a society, we want what we want right now; we don’t want to have to wait even a couple of seconds for a YouTube video to play on our phones. This is why 5G is so exciting – it will do things like reduce load times for mobile viewing to milliseconds. Consume away, future selves.

The good news is that 5G will be useful for more than just the next generation of mobile video watchers. The super-fast 5G speeds will be awesome for home automation as well. The devices that you already connect in your smart home will run even faster, and a whole new world of home automation devices will open up. If 5G is what we need to make cars that drive themselves a reality, imagine the possibilities for the home. I know that for security alone, 5G has a lot of possibilities. Think of what it means to have seconds shaved off of the time it takes your system to connect with the alarm company? Or, how much faster you can tap into your video surveillance if you are using your mobile device.

The truth is, the future is coming faster than we think, and it’s going to be a faster future. Most of those in-the-know are predicting 5G accessibility by 2020, which is not as far away as it sounds. I’m excited to talk about it, and all the doors that it opens, for the next four years.