Advent of 5G Technology
By Margaret J. Vaughan
How would you feel about having a microchip the size of a grain of rice embedded in your hand so that you could communicate with “smart” devices, open your front door, operate the company printer or get into a rental car at the airport just by waving your hand?
It’s not science fiction. It’s real and it’s here and it’s being done right now by a firm in Sweden called BioNyfiken. Welcome to the Internet of Things, or IoT, made possible by 5G technology.
The first cellular phone I ever saw was the size of a brick, took 10 hours to charge, had a talk time of 35 minutes, and an owner who was inordinately proud of himself. Since then, cell phones and mobiles have evolved at the rate of one generation about every 10 years from 1G to the current 4G technology, also known as LTE.
Each new generation is increasing its speed to accommodate data optimization and added features such as text and mobile apps. 3G technology ushered in the age of the general use of smartphones but 4G, with its 100 times faster speed and amplified features, made smartphones not only useful but necessary. Today there are more smartphones in use than people on the planet.
Reportedly, 5G will be 1,000 times faster than 4G allowing for, among other things, driverless vehicles, remote medical surgeries, and the ability to track anything on a real-time basis as long as it has a microchip embedded in it. Competition in the microchip industry is decreasing costs to a point where everything can be chipped including you, your spouse, your children, and your dogs. A potential worldwide financial impact of up to US$12 trillion worldwide in goods and services by 2030 is heating up competition internationally as 5G moves mobile technology from connecting people to people and information, towards connecting people to everything.
Not For Nothing
New technologies, however, require enhanced security protocols, new hardware, new software, and new infrastructure among other things. Support for 5G will require new mobile millimeter-wave radio antennas with frequencies that are about 10 times higher than current global cellular frequencies to enable the much-greater radio channel bandwidths needed to carry the super-fast data transfers of 5G.
Since one of the challenges of 5G is that it’s effective only over short distances and is poorly transmitted through solid material, many new antennas will be required. Full-scale implementation will result in antennas every 10 to 12 houses in urban areas. While this may seem to be more of an aesthetic issue than a logistical one, scientists are only now identifying the carcinogenic effects of 20 years of extensive cellular (3G and 4G) phone use. 5G will massively increase radioactive exposure to everyone – even those of us not hooked to our cell phones.
Just understand that with 5G benefits come detriments. Your refrigerator will be watching you … and reporting on you to your insurance company and your doctor. Your car will be watching you and reporting to the same. What else will be watching and reporting your every move? Welcome to the world of Big Brother, made possible by 5G.
Margaret J. Vaughan has more than 30 years’ experience in all facets of supply chain management, serving most recently as logistics manager for Wood PLC where she worked for 12 years.
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