The UK’s first 5G network has just been launched, with EE releasing the first 5G data contract for £54 per month. 5G takes advantage of next-generation technology, with speeds of 20Gbps. Supported mobiles will roll out in stages with Huawei being one of the early players who began developing its technology in 2009. Flagship 5G mobiles are driven by Samsung, Huawei and LG – whilst Apple is expected to release a 5G connected phone between 2020 and 2021.
Evolving from 4G, 5G connectivity will support millions of sensors tracking behaviour, enabling machine-to-machine communications and creating a ‘smart world’. The smart world encompasses smart city services including 5G connected cars with the highest computing intelligence and Huawei’s Smart Hotel; which will include welcome robots, cloud-connected rowing machines, computing terminals, and seamless 4K streaming.
The effects of 5G on digital marketing come as a result of the increased speed, connectivity and interactivity. The increased speed allows faster download times, enhances live streaming capabilities, has more accurate location-based advertising and the ability to process more data, faster. High-speed connectivity allows communication between devices and objects which will have an impact on the tracking of deliveries, emergency vehicle dispatches, more accurate precision agriculture tracking and allow the development of smart grids and smart cities.
Consumers could benefit from 5G connected marketing as they are able to consume more content and receive more relevant, personalised advertising. The 5G customer experience on mobile will see improved data connection, increasing personalisation and greater accuracy in the new era of data precision. This will present more precise GPS location-based advertising; enabling shoppers to gain discounts, offers or invitations from brands straight to their phone – in a real-time accessible area.
Using in-store beacons, interactive fitting rooms and storefront windows allows customers to receive unique shopping experiences with customised product offerings and complete flexibility in omnichannel retail. From this, advertising can become more intimate – options for real-time notification systems that navigate you through a bricks and mortar shop to find the item that the system knows is correct for you, the purchase becomes more tempting as the consumer finds the product and is offered an exclusive, personal discount.
True personalisation needs data and tailored content that can be fulfilled by a 5G connected world, the abilities of location-based tailoring will develop as more users and brands are connected to the network.
Increased connectivity will accelerate mobile content consumption, using their devices to browse videos, connect with social media and immerse themselves in the VR, AR & 360 realms seamlessly. With social media moving towards video-focused services, they are transforming into a destination for both entertainment and networking, with Gen Z and Millennials being the driving force behind this. Live streaming will become more frequent, with higher levels of reach; increased collaboration, sharing and immersion more apparent with consumers becoming more engaged as they interact through comments.
Sustained growth in these areas creates new revenue opportunities for those who create the most engaging, innovative customer experiences and distribution strategies. Growth will improve in-stream advertising, reducing buffering times and providing hi-res communications. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is expected to be a key part of video production. AI will not only help users find more relevant content but also provide greater efficiency amongst digital teams with triggers and context-variables automatically creating richer content from highlights from live feeds.
For consumers, the heightened connectivity potentially poses a risk to data protection. The volume and speed at which data can be processed, pushing information through from personal devices could be considered intrusive. The Information Commissioner’s Office warns that the ability of 5G connections could cross the line of data collection, as Simon McDougall of the ICO states: “I don’t think the person on the street knows what is going on and that in itself is a concern for us”. Constant digital outdoor advertising through AI algorithms has the ability to intensify feelings of being monitored, new legislation must keep up with the introduction of new technologies through next-generation connections and need a GDPR compliant code of practice.
Taking another view, 5G connectivity provides next-gen real-time analytics. Faster, more in-depth data providing a greater understanding of customer preferences. This is something that the global database market has been working towards, to enable marketers to leverage real-time information. 5G combined with data analytics is predicted to disrupt the way we live; these technological developments are being labelled ‘Industry 4.0’. 5G connections can support technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), data analytics, AI and cloud computing.
5G networks promise faster processing for data analysis, making it quicker and easier to collect, clean and analyse large amounts of data. The expansion in ability to analyse data opens up possibilities to use data analytics to power new technologies, such as self-driving cars. With a fast data strategy to match the introduction of 5G, digital marketers will be able to detect declines in quality of service and quickly amend any issues, segment real-time traffic and adjust to fix network-based performance issues with the ability to communicate in real-time with customers experiencing a lapse in service, alerting them to issues and possible remedies.
Not only will the ability to collect data be enhanced, many metrics will improve with the customer’s experience getting better. Faster internet connections lead to slower page loading times – when a page has a delay in loading there is a significant increase in reported bounce rate. Not only does a quick load time improve bounce rate, but also encourages users to view more pages on the website, with users visiting an average of 5.6 more pages when page load time is at 2 seconds compared to 8.
The rollout of 5G will transition into the connectivity of smart devices. This will range from (and go beyond) retailers remarketing to your phone with products you’ve only viewed in-store to fridges texting your mobile to let you know you’re out of milk on your way home from work. For consumers, fifth-generation connectivity will remove friction in their digital life, this friction often interferes with brand relationships. For marketers, the connection provides the ability to engage with consumers in a more meaningful way and be able to follow the precise journey and interactions with the customer.
5G is set to not only go beyond the boundaries of 4G but smash its limits through the improvement of digital infrastructure to positively impact quality and of life. The introduction of these new possibilities will change the way in which marketers think about our current, everyday items.