Future of 5G: To mixed reality and beyond

At CES 2020, Qualcomm's president says the next generation wireless network will enable more than just smartphone functionality.

CES 2020: Lenovo rolls out world's first 5G laptop Lenovo's Yoga 5G is the worlds first PC capable of connecting to a 5G network.

During a session at CES 2020 on Tuesday, Qualcomm's president, Cristiano Amon, revealed that 5G will not be reserved just for smartphones. 

With an already growing infrastructure behind it, the next generation of wireless networking will enable mixed reality, enhanced video streaming, and automotive digital transformations, according to Amon.

SEE: CES 2020: The big trends for business (ZDNet)

The Predictions: How 5G Will Change your Life session kicked off with a video, hinting at the future impacts of 5G. The powerful voice in the video conveyed a powerful message: "The 5G world is here and it's cloaking the planet with connectivity. Welcome to the invention age."  

The year of 2018 focused on 5G development; 2019 saw initial 5G deployments, but 2020 is the year 5G will scale, Amon said. 

"You're getting ready for a very big transition in the wireless industry," he added. 

Where 5G is, and where it is going 

While 5G began with a lot of skepticism, that sentiment has quickly shifted, according to Amon. 

"You go from trials and pilots to commercial launches. Now you actually have a large number of operators that are starting to deployed across the United States and Europe and China and Korea and in Japan and many other regions," Amon said. "The network is going now from the initial launch sites to metropolitan areas. 

"I think it's fair to assume 2020, we're going to see 5G in all the major feeders in the United States. We are in the process of building coverage. It takes time," he added. 

The outlook for 5G is extremely positive, as most mobile service providers are prepared to offer 5G and have already begun moving their devices in that direction. 

Amon said that the Qualcomm team already has 5G coverage through Verizon in its San Diego campus. The Qualcomm team immediately noticed the higher speeds and lower latency on 5G, he said. 

These benefits will allow 5G to enable a bevy of use cases, which involve more than just the smartphone, Amon said. 

5G use cases 

  • Video

4G transformed the music experience, allowing smartphone users to store a large amount of music right on their devices. 5G, however, will bolster video streaming and consumption, Amon said. 

"Video is going to be like the first thing that people will see," Amon said, "It's going to make the streaming services [more popular]. It's going to evolve into full broadcast because everyone will have a reliable connection. We'll finally deliver on user content generation. 

"Everyone will become a broadcaster because you'll have the speed to upload high quality data to the cloud," he said. 

  • Mixed reality 

Moving beyond the smartphone, 5G will finally allow mixed reality to flourish

With the smartphone, users are limited by the size of the screen. 5G will boost the power of hyperscale clouds, allowing for powerful companion devices that enable mixed reality, Amon said. 

"There is an evolution we're seeing in mixed reality," Amon said. "It's very likely that you're going to start to see devices that people can wear that look like eyeglasses." 

Amon gave the following example of how 5G mixed reality might be used: "Someone will able to walk into a meeting, and with facial recognition, immediately go to the cloud and look at all the different social networks to get information about the person they are meeting." 

 "We're going to have, almost like a 'Black Mirror' episode," Amon said. "The technology, it's going to enable that."

Automotive will see one of the biggest 5G transformations, Amon said. 

  • Automotive 

"[Transformations] ranges from fundamentally upgrading your navigation. Connecting to the other cars, connecting to the pedestrians, [connecting] to the cloud," Amon said. "You can populate the map with the location of all of those things, how they move, and how fast they move.

"The car company [will be] transformed into a cable operator, as you can actually distribute content to all the different screens in the car," he added. 

5G will enable a slew of use cases because it will give users the unlimited computing power necessary, the ability to augment data and store endless data within the cloud, Amon said. 

For more, check out CES 2020: Lenovo rolls out world's first 5G laptop on TechRepublic. 

Also see 

5G wifi technology concept

Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto