5G Is Coming, Here’s How It Will Effect IoT and the Security Industry

One of the most significant developments that will enable IoT to grow exponentially is the emergence of 5G cellular communications.

5G Is Coming, Here’s How It Will Effect IoT and the Security Industry

The IoT tech train is set to pick up steam with the impending 5G network transition.

Like a runaway train, the pace of technological advancement is only expected to accelerate in the years to come. Security company owners and managers who don’t keep up are in danger of seeing their businesses left for dead at the terminal. One of the most profound changes is ubiquitous connectivity.

Consider that since the early 2000s Americans online has gone from five to nine out of 10, the percentage owning a tablet swelled from 3% in 2010 to 50% today, and those owning a smartphone exploded from 35% in 2011 to 75%.

All the pieces are falling into place for full realization of the Internet of Things (IoT) as eventually virtually everything electric or electronic will be communication capable. One of the most significant developments that will enable IoT to grow exponentially is the emergence of 5G cellular communications.

That was the focus of the keynote — and the perfect topic for SSI’s annual Technology Issue — by satellite services provider DISH’s CTO Vivek Khemka during last month’s Total Tech Summit in Orlando, Fla.

TTS combines three “summit” events encompassing the Security Sales & Integration Summit and those of sister integrator-oriented publications CE Pro (custom home electronics) and Commercial Integrator (pro A/V). I was delighted to lead several sessions for what was an even a better conference than last year.

Khemka detailed how DISH has somewhat quietly spent $20 billion to purchase large chunks of the licensed cellular network spectrum. It now owns more of the low-, mid- and high-band licensed spectrum than any of the major mobile carriers from Verizon to AT&T to T-Mobile — and none of their legacy support obligations.

Those moves have set DISH up to a be major player in the forthcoming 5G cellular network, which could impact how security dealers and integrators approach the design, installation and monitoring of everything from smart homes to commercial properties to large industrial solutions.

Khemka painted a picture of an IoT future with security integrators front and center. “You think technology adoption is phenomenal today, it is nothing compared to what is coming,” he told the 400 or so assembled integrators.

He says in the next five years there will be 200 billion IoT-connected devices, more than 10x the number today. “This new era of hyper-connected devices is going to disrupt a lot of industries and how you do business. But there is a lot of money to be made in this new world,” he added.

Just as bandwidth has hindered the capabilities and growth of hardwired communication systems like the Internet and enterprise networks, especially when transmitting video, spectrum is a challenge in the realm of wireless communications and the progression of IoT.

According to Khemka, mobile data has risen 238% in the past two years alone. “We are already reaching a state of network congestion,” he said. “It all comes down to spectrum.”

While 5G will become a reality in the next 12 months (following final legislative approvals), he said the market is about two-three years away from it becoming the common standard for wireless communications. “It will be a new world where everything is connected with 5G,” said Khemka.

The advantages of the technology are staggering. They include transmitting at 100Mbps speed compared to today’s average hardwired network speed of 18.7Mbps, latency of just 1 millisecond versus 50ms for 4G, accommodating 1,000 times as many users per square kilometer, and superior stability and reliability.

These are quantum leap gains that will change the connectivity game. Khemka predicts 75% of all 5G network spectrum will be used to transmit video signals. He noted that some of the areas in which IoT is expected to have the greatest impact first include driverless cars, smart cities, smart parking, smart homes and offices, drones, health monitoring and energy monitoring.

He went on to say the four industries anticipated to be most directly transformed by IoT are business and manufacturing, healthcare, retail establishments, and security. As a security professional, ponder the possibilities of how 5G-fortified IoT could open up opportunities for new video and security system solutions, drones, robotics, monitored services, mobile applications, smart parking, health-related offerings, building automation, smart homes and more.

Some manufacturers already have security cameras in R&D that solely use the cellular network without touching the web. “Many integrators will soon see a huge portion of revenue from IoT,” predicted Khemka. So hop aboard the IoT tech train now before it leaves the station and ride it to the destination of your company’s future success. Happy New Year!

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

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