Column: 5G technology will change our world

With carriers testing 5G technology, the ultra-connected world is fast-approaching.

5G speeds may improve driverless car technology, allowing vehicles to wirelessly communicate with one another about to speed, direction, and destination. Courtesy of Pexels

Solomon Davis is a sophomore journalism major at MU. He is an opinions columnist who writes about technology for The Maneater.

Imagine an ultra-connected world filled with self-driving cars, faster connection speeds and even advances in health care.

This year, networks like AT&T and Verizon began testing the fifth generation of wireless technology or 5G. 5G, the successor to 4G, will be able to provide speeds 100 times faster than what we currently experience with LTE and connect more parts of the world.

Outside of consumers making use of greater speeds, the real benefits present themselves in the evolution of certain technologies, driverless cars being one of them.

Currently, driverless car technology, much like what the company Tesla is creating, is self-contained. Self-contained means that the car has all the sensors and smarts needed to drive itself without further data, but that could change in the future. With infrastructural upgrades, everything on the road would be interconnected. That is where 5G comes into the equation.

With 5G, not only will vehicles be able to talk and communicate with each other for things like speed, distance or road conditions, but vehicles will be able to talk to infrastructure in the same manner. Providing details such as traffic data, patterns and other information, traffic lights could use this technology for timing or changing the light.

Some companies such as Amwell have begun testing remote health care services. Amwell is an online doctor visit platform that allows “video visits with board-certified doctors” at any time. From the comfort of your home, you can speak to a doctor via digital means and receive care without having to sit in a waiting room.

With 5G, this technology could take a step closer to being more practical; a doctor could do a procedure and operate on you from anywhere around the world. 5G allows telemedicine to be possible because the lag is so brief it would not put the patient in any danger. In an interview with CNET, Y.K Kim, president and CEO of Samsung Electronics America, said, “You can get the best doctors in the world to work on your mother’s cancer. That was not feasible years ago.”

The evolution of wireless technology could not come at a better time. In the next decade, technological advances that are still developmental will come to rely on the 5G standard and change the way we interact with the world around us for generations to come.

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