With 5G connectivity the air around us becomes magic – and our individual digital sphere will surround us continuously. And 5G even has the potential to be more than a data playground for the global elites. With a little help from space technology it can bridge the digital divide and create a level online playing field for humanity
“The air will become magic.” That's what the Austrian tech philosopher Peter Glaser promised us some years ago for the time when Internet around us would be ubiquitous. “The digital sphere will be reminiscent of a Disney cartoon: You wave your magic wand, stars are sparkling around it, and your wish becomes reality.”1 Glaser even predicted at which point in time magic would happen: as soon as self-driving cars would force the cities to provide ultra high-speed data networks with huge bandwidth. That's what today we refer to with a very unmagic acronym: 5G. The fifth-generation technology standard for mobile data communication is about to radically change our lives. And this time, there's a real chance that the new standard will not only serve the needs of urban elites, but also the needs of humanity.
THE INTERNET FOR EVERYTHING The preceding generations were mostly used for our own mobile communication. In the 2000s, 3G enabled the rise of the smartphones, in the 2010s, 4G offered the speed for mobile gaming, streaming and video applications.2 5G, however, is not mainly designed for our smartphones – it is expected to support the Internet of Everything (IoE), in which not only separate users are connected, but also Internet-connected objects.3 The usual suspect for these autonomous, connected objects are self-driving cars. But they also are a demanding challenge for network technology, because of their high speed and complex environment. So experts expect that 5G applications in a range of different sectors will see an earlier implementation within the coming years