Don’t let the trees block your view of the forest.
5G is promised to bring on technology that will blow our minds away. Technology like Augmented and Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Driving, Smart Cities and the Internet of Things. We need to step back and realize we already have (in the simplest form) most of the things we talk about today. The networks today have brought us some of the things that make us envious. of the Jetsons. However, the technology we desire either isn’t connected over networks or we have not realized it exists today. It is time to adjust our expectations! Let’s revisit history…
Augmented Reality – Snap Inc. began in the early 2010’s for sending disappearing photos and videos to friends. This had nothing to do with Augmented Reality (AR), but overtime it became the most used Augmented Reality app that no one realizes is AR. The filters option on Snapchat is the barest form of AR. Users can send images and videos that they distort with locations tags, text, face altering options (the dog face) and any other random things you can insert. This is AR. What do we want from AR? We (as is society) want it to be seamless in our life through glasses, sunglasses and our phone. We want it to intrude in our life when we want it to, but the option to forget it exists as well.
Virtual Reality – This is a related to AR, but more immersive and far more intrusive. The market has several Virtual Reality (VR) headsets for us to buy. There are high computing power headsets, like the Oculus Rift and headsets for gaming, or low computing power headsets, like the Oculus Go and Google Cardboard. During the 2018 FIFA World Cup users could watch games in VR. You can sit in a virtual reality living room or theater and watch movies on a massive screen. What do we want from VR? We want the headset to be small. We want the headset to be wide spread. We want all our media in VR, not one-off pieces or gimmicks. We need to be specific in what we want…
Artificial Intelligence – While Artificial Intelligence (AI) may scare some people due to Skynet and the Terminator, we have had AI for some time. Look at Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, chatbots, etc. Looking back at how many algorithms we have programmed to be “intelligent” is remarkable. What do we want out of it? We want wide spread ease of creation. We want AI to be able to take inputs of what we send it and output what we want based off a language we all understand.
Autonomous Vehicles – Outside of the typical Autonomous Vehicles (AV) news of pilots, partnerships and accidents, we have AV. The majority of cars being produced today have several basic AV components built into it – blind spot warnings and adjustments, lane departure warnings and adjustments, cruise control and the ability to keep a certain distance away from the vehicle ahead, etc. These are becoming basic functions. What do we want out of it? We want no accidents, ever. We want to be able to trust the AV to get us from Point A to Point B safely. The funny thing about AV’s is that we trust the basic features we have in our cars without second guessing them.
Smart Cities & IoT – While IoT may not have lived up to our expectations yet, we have basic IoT functions. We can open garage doors with a push or a button from smartphones. Smart Cities may seem like a future where only the Jetsons live, but we have had Smart Cities for years. A basic Smart City function is street lights. We have programmed street lights to change based on the time of day to optimize traffic flow for years. What do we want out of Smart Cities, IoT and 5G? Effortless consumption.
We need to change the expectations we set for 5G. It is not that we do not have all the features that 5G is promising (because we do), we need to realign our thoughts that we want all the technology promised in 5G to be effortless, seamless to consume and stay out of our way when we want it to.