Top of main content
Girl on laptop

6 ways 5G could revolutionise our lives

Market update
Kevin Lyne-Smith
Portfolio diversification

6 ways 5G could revolutionise our lives

May 10, 2021

5G is key to unlocking diverse technologies that could transform the way we live and work. We explore six areas that need 5G to realise their full potential.

5G is far more than just the latest iteration of connectivity and a minor step up from 4G. Its faster speed allows for connections that are 5-10 times greater than with 4G, meaning, for example, that a 1GB video could be uploaded to YouTube in just 15 seconds1. 5G also offers low latency, reducing the delay or lag between someone clicking a button and it being actioned. 5G latency is around 1-10 milliseconds compared to 50ms with 4G and, with the brain taking an average of 10ms to process an image seen by the eye, that offers huge potential2. The technology offers greater capacity and accessibility, meaning more people can connect quickly and easily at the same time. A 5G network, for example, will support a minimum of 1m devices in every square kilometre3, and it's also more reliable than its predecessor, meaning dropped signals or poor connections are less likely.

"It's time we started to see 5G as the enabling technology we've all been waiting for to bring these other innovations together and allow their transformational potential to be realised," Kevin Lyne-Smith, Managing Director, Global Head of Equities, HSBC.

These are key benefits that can facilitate progress in a number of areas.

  1. Healthcare technology – robots performing remote or intricate surgery isn't just science fiction; they exist, but that service hasn't yet expanded because of the limitations of connectivity. On a 4G network, when you're making an incision and there's a few seconds delay in relaying that instruction, or worse, the signal drops, it can be catastrophic. The speed, reliability and reduced latency offered by 5G takes care of that, opening up the potential for more responsive, accessible and cost-efficient healthcare.
  2. Gaming – whether it's a hobby or a career choice, success or victory can be decided by reaction time. As gaming becomes a global money-spinner and professional leagues and tournaments grow, any delay between a player clicking a button and something happening on the screen, is not just frustrating, but costly. Gamers crave the immediacy 5G offers and in a sector that transcends national boundaries, enhanced connectivity can provide a competitive edge.
  3. Smart Cities – they simply can't exist without 5G. It lets multiple devices connect simultaneously, allowing the density of devices that enable smart cities to function. It not only permits numerous personal devices to operate seamlessly, but enables sensors to communicate virtually in real time, helping the management and monitoring of traffic or resources. 
  4. Internet of Things (IoT) – the hardware and software advances of the IoT, enabling transformations like the Fourth Industrial Revolution, are out there, just waiting for the connectivity to enable and optimise them. 5G can help activate huge networks of interconnected devices, it can boost machine learning and transform AI, creating greater efficiency and productivity by reducing downtime and increasing responsiveness. The benefits of speed, low latency, capacity and energy efficiency will change the way we live and work – from your fridge telling your mobile phone that you're out of milk or even placing an order, to robots ‘talking' to each other on a factory floor.
  5. Autonomous vehicles – one of the main barriers in the development of autonomous vehicles has been sufficient network capacity to rapidly process large amounts of data and make speedy decisions. 5G enables fast communication, without delay, which is essential to navigating our roads safely in real time.
  6. Virtual private network – 5G will allow the creation of virtual networks within the same physical network, incorporating the business's cloud functionality through slicing. This secure private network will have far greater capacity and enable a large number of devices, machines robots and people to be connected and interact simultaneously. Facilities can become fully integrated and automated, enabling greater data capture potential and analysis, thus providing deeper insights and additional business benefits.

"It's time we started to see 5G as the enabling technology we've all been waiting for to bring these other innovations together and allow their transformational potential to be realised," says Kevin Lyne-Smith, Managing Director, Global Head of Equities, HSBC. "Various factors, such as Apple's launch of the 5G enabled iPhone and the impact Covid-19 has had on accelerated technology trends mean that we've reached a tipping point where investment in 5G – both in terms of infrastructure and the technologies to utilise it – could be set to take off.

"This is the first wave, where the technologies we already have waiting for 5G to maximise their full potential will be activated. The second wave will build on that as people see the benefits and identify new opportunities. New innovations will plug gaps and enhance services, and this will drive personal and corporate productivity."

To discuss any of the issues raised, please get in touch with your Relationship Manager. 

The information on this site refers to services or products which are not available in certain locations, or which, in any relevant location, may have components, methods, structures and terms different from the ones described, as well as restrictions on client eligibility. Please contact a Relationship Manager for details of services and products that may be available to you.

The use of the label ‘HSBC Private Banking’, ‘HSBC Private Bank’, ‘we’, or ‘us’ refers to HSBC’s worldwide private banking business, and is not indicative of any legal entity or relationship.

This information is entirely qualified by reference to the terms and conditions of the specific service, if any, provided by the relevant HSBC company.

Nothing here is to be deemed an offer, solicitation, endorsement, or recommendation to buy or sell any general or specific product, service or security and should not be considered to constitute investment advice.

Please note that HSBC Private Banking does not provide Legal and Tax Advice.

Before proceeding, please refer to the full Disclaimer and the Terms and Conditions.
Listening to what you have to say about services matters to us. It's easy to share your ideas, stay informed and join the conversation.