It’s almost time, to sum up, the 10th century. In the wireless industry, the media space has been dominated by the 5G technology by far. It feels like a discussion that has been going on for most of this period. At the same time, it has been fascinating to follow the advent of new technologies and how a standard has been shaped and formed. And how new use cases have followed hand in hand. And precisely in terms of new uses, this is where the potential strength of 5G lies. Battery-powered sensors with years of life are already a reality in the transition between 4G and 5G, with low-power technologies that reach further and, with low speeds and simple modulation, can transmit with lower power consumption and use batteries more efficiently. But the self-driving vehicles we’re all waiting for, they’re still a long way off.

Where are the self-driving cars?

According to experts, the technology for self-driving vehicles is about 5-15 years. Well, honestly, there is a bit of disagreement, and it depends on what you weigh into the concept. A self-driving vehicle that doesn’t have a driver on standby behind the wheel can feel a little distant. Steve Wozniak, the technology pro and Apple co-founder, who turns 70 next year, is a person who is very committed to technology and also a person who has spoken out about self-driving vehicles. In other words, he if anyone should be jumping up and down over the fact that 5G is coming. And that 5G now presents a viable infrastructure for self-driving cars. He recently spoke out on the subject, saying that he doesn’t think there will be vehicles driving without a human on standby in his lifetime. More is required of artificial intelligence in a vehicle than what we have achieved today. Then, unfortunately, you can’t send your AI on an intensive course in Borlänge to learn how to drive in a few weeks, something you could do with ordinary humans back in the twentieth century.

It is not all about faster broadband

So then it’s IoT we’ll have 5G for, and then we’ll also see some happy people getting faster mobile broadband. Is that all you think? I was doing a little browsing and found a recent report from analyst firm Gartner that thinks the big thing with 5G will be outdoor surveillance cameras in the next three years. The prediction is that 70% of all installed devices by 2020 will be such devices. In 2021, the market will swallow 6.2 million units, and in 2022, as many as 11.2 million. After that, in 2023, Gartner expects things to shift. By then, the automotive industry will take over the top spot, and 19 million IoT vehicles will be produced and put on the market, with 19 million representing 39 per cent of the total market.

Either way, it’s been an exciting journey from 4G to 5G, and don’t expect the 20th century to be without discussions about mobile networks. No later than 2022, we’ll start trolling for 6G, whatever that might mean.