Even today, the discussion around 5G, even though they are laden liberally with terms like disruption and revolution, are about applying it to the current processes and making incremental changes
India is a mobile country. Two of the top three mobile operators in the world are Indian.
In the 90s, IT—no matter how much we pat ourselves on the back as an IT superpower on the strength of our manpower—threatened to accelerate the economic divide in India, a country already with a wide gap between poor and rich. The advent of mobile single-handedly reversed that trend. It is probably the only technology in recent times that can be called a true leveler.
But no technology becomes a leveler by itself. Any new innovation in technology, when applied thoughtlessly, can, at best, result in incremental changes—by making things a little better, faster or more convenient. It happens broadly in two ways. One, someone—it could be a commercial business or policy makers—understands its hidden potential and thinks of what can be done using it. Or there is a situation that forces us to do something radically different in a short time—necessity, as we call it. We do not have to go far to find examples of both. We have seen Reliance Jio’s strong data-centered strategy which democratized data and made a lot of things possible. This is an example of the first. For the second, we do not have to look too far off. We all know what COVID-19 did to reinvent ourselves as digital beings. And I am not talking of businesses but of all of us, as individuals.
Yet, even today, the discussion around 5G, even though they are laden liberally with terms like disruption and revolution, are about applying it to the current processes and making incremental changes.
5G is not about speed. It is about new applications.
We have seen education, work, banking, health all becoming virtual. And fast.
More digitization of our lives means more demand for experience (speed), anytime anywhere connectivity (reach) and newer and newer capability (innovation).
All that translates to huge business opportunities for almost all industries. Jio itself has started playing on applications, pushing telecom to the backend and preferring, instead, to become a multi-services aggregator.
Also, 5G is not the only technology that is driving change. We have Industry 4.0. We have a shift to the edge. We have electric vehicles and fleet owners increasingly turning to that. All these are not isolated from each other.
Just imagine if the remote patient health monitoring could effectively speak to hospitals, to ambulances on road, to the bed management system, to oxygen cylinder movements, just as an example. How many deaths could have been prevented?
There are applications in all areas. But the demand for 5G will be incremental if the applications thought about would be incremental.
Any business that can think of a new scenario, then application and finally technology can make the positive disruption a reality.
5G, why any new technology, is hence, about dream, about imagination.