Do not miss 5G, the highway to the Artificial Intelligence revolution!

As the debate heats up around the prices and providers of 5G, we should all keep in mind that its outcome will shape the global communications market for a long time to come. 2019 may not be the year of 5G’s distribution to the vast majority of consumers, but it is the year when key decisions have to be taken.

5G will be the focus of attention for all the attendees to the upcoming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, a landmark stage for the telecommunications industry. But 5G should be in the mind of every citizen, every entrepreneur, every CEO. Why is it so important? Because 5G is likely to transform the digital life of people all around the planet and the business plans of every company even more so than the iPhone did a decade ago. The 5G Revolution will pave the way for the new digital infrastructures on which the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will operate. The new services enabled by 5G will define our future.

To understand more precisely what might be at stake with the 5G Revolution, we need to go back to the early 2000s. At this time, as odd as it may sound now, Europe was the leader of the telecommunications industry, or at least neck to neck with the US. Corporations at the forefront of technological progress — like Nokia for mobile phones or Alcatel for broadband access — were European, while Cisco led the internet routing infrastructure segment. Two events then reshaped the whole industry: the emergence of original equipment manufacturers in Asia and the release of the first iPhone in June 2007 which set off the rise of smartphones and associated services. These two major changes spelled the end of the technological hegemony of Europe in telecommunications.

Fifteen years later, a new paradigm shift is about to unfold in the industry and the impact of this new revolution will be ten times greater. 5G will build a bridge between AI and universal internet coverage. 5G and EDGE technologies will support ubiquitous and instantaneous massive data flows, while technologies like blockchain ensure a trust layer allowing AI to directly and securely empower every business process and exchange.

As a consequence, the ecosystems where those new telecommunications network infrastructures are created will have a clear lead to invent the services of the future. The combination of artificial intelligence, networking technologies, chipsets and sensors will give birth to many new companies. These startups will quickly reach massive scale and create numerous jobs by realizing the so-far unfulfilled promises of the intelligent enterprise, smart home, AI-driven factory, and smart city.

Everybody has an opportunity to thrive when a paradigm shift happens. The fastest and the most highly motivated get a chance to upend the existing order. There is no entitlement in the digital age. Let’s not miss 5G, the highway to the Artificial Intelligence revolution.

Co-founder and CEO of Cathay Innovation

Co-founder and CEO of Cathay Innovation