Coming back from the Web Summit, I was amazed by the many startups and new technologies — and by people not shying away from the big impact that technology is having (and will soon have) on how we work and live.
One of things that was highlighted at the conferences by exhibitors was 5G technology being tested out now. LTE Advanced has already started to come to markets and in many cities with newer phones, you can reliably get 100 Mbps download speeds.
We need to start looking at the end game for this — what are the possibilities when bandwidth is no longer a cap?
For reliable 4K streaming, we need 15 Mbps. 8K? 50 Mbps. It could be that in the next 5 years, 8K video at 60 FPS will be the standard on most cellphones, maybe in 3D so a 200 Mbps low latency connection might be needed. 5G could handle that.
One application that could be very network intensive is self driving cars. LIDAR can easily consume high bandwidth and imagine if every equipped with multiple LIDARs was also creating realtime 3D maps of cities. Imagine using this data to feed to municipalities on litter, traffic, road conditions, maintenance issues. There’d also be no questions of who’s at fault in a traffic accident.
Another is drones. Imagine that the Google Earth button on Google Maps won’t take you to a static high resolution aerial photo — it will take you to a live one. Perhaps this data will be publicly available but with identifying information like facial features or license plates blurred. This would similar to project ARGUS-IS.
The impact of this could be enormous. We would essentially be publicly surveilling ourselves.
Could this also mean the end of the selfie stick? What if multiple stick up cams were always recording and streaming over 5G for to backup (like in The Martian)? Maybe we’d see Vlogs being made automatically, similar to how Google Photos has “Auto Awesome”.
Could this also be the end of WiFi? Would WiFi be the crutch for when concrete and leaded glass interfere with our cellphone connections?
The one issue we’ll need to address is vulnerability. Relying on cell towers for Internet connectivity means that they become a lynchpin. Perhaps fiber could create micro-5G access points that could help make the system more distributed?