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Is your business 5G-ready?

03 April 2019

The roll-out of 5G mobile networks has the potential to supercharge businesses across the UK. However, Barclays research has found just 15% of business decision makers are thinking about how they can utilise the new technology.

The powerful 5G network is beginning to roll out now. It has the potential to enable peak data rates that are up to 20 times faster than 4G, provide 1 GB/s simultaneously to workers on the same office floor, and deliver simultaneous connections for 1 million devices per square kilometre. Put simply, it’s like being able to download an HD movie in as little as 10 seconds.

This connectivity boost could generate an annual revenue increase of up to £15.7bn for UK businesses by 2025. However, a lack of planning to capitalise on this network upgrade could see many companies miss out on the initial benefits of harnessing 5G.

Every generation of mobile networks has created immense opportunities across industries. The best-prepared companies have benefitted by channelling faster connectivity to drive game-changing innovations, reduce business costs whilst increasing efficiency, and increase business output.

Despite this track record of first-mover advantage, Barclays’ polling has found that only 28% of businesses know what 5G is and what it could do on a practical level. We are keen to increase this number by helping businesses to understand how 5G can help them reach more potential customers, expand their geographic reach, and enhance their opportunities for international trade.

Our research also found that only one in eight businesses foresee 5G significantly improving their bottom line, indicating many businesses may not feel this innovation could benefit their sector. Barclays is keen to support all businesses adopt technology that could help them grow faster.

5G has the capacity to boost new and existing technologies across a vast range of industries ranging from connected vehicles and devices to smart cities and homes; from augmented and virtual reality to the Internet of Things and Big Data.

Barclays is backing the UK and we want to help businesses to pivot this new technology into innovative ideas that will propel them to the forefront of their sectors. To achieve this, we are providing five ways to help your business prepare to harness the potential of 5G:

1. Get educated on 5G

Join the UK5G innovation network.  Endorsed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, this network gives people the chance to share knowledge and lessons from emerging technologies.

Industry regulator Ofcom has also published plans for enabling 5G in the UK and supporting industry innovation around wireless networks. It hopes to encourage businesses, trade bodies and other parties to help it to ensure the regulatory regime enables industry to access the benefits of wireless connectivity.

2. Get your IT systems ready for 5G

Getting ready for 5G means scaling up capability and addressing any security concerns quickly. Solutions will differ between companies but are likely to include virtualising networks and scaling up cloud computing provisions.

3. Use your existing resources

Speak to your tech providers. They’re already getting ready to help you migrate by investing in infrastructure. They are probably already promoting 5G at industry tradeshows, conferences and events they will be keen to show you how the technology can work for you.

4. 5G 101

Your employees need to be aware of how technological change will affect them. This isn’t just about operational changes, but also an opportunity to look at innovative new use cases. The intangible benefits of 5G – boosting workforce productivity and collaboration – will be faster and more fully realised when staff are on board from the beginning.

5. Start on your 5G strategy

Now might feel too soon for some to make new financial investments, but developing short-term, mid-term and long-term plan for capitalising on 5G is crucial. This includes looking at current business models and day-to-day operations, as well as assessing how processes and products might change in response to 5G applications.

For more information, please see our report (PDF 955 KB). To find out how our sector-specialist team can support your business, please email Sean Duffy, call us on 0800 015 4242* or visit barclayscorporate.com

*Calls to 0800 numbers are free from UK landlines and personal mobiles, otherwise call charges may apply. To maintain a quality service we may monitor or record phone calls.