We’ve heard about 5G for years and it’s becoming a reality in several cities, with more coverage set for 2020. Consumers already have access to 5G phones from some providers including Verizon and Sprint. All major US carriers are expected to release 5G phones in 2019.

5G technology will affect more than the ability to download the latest superhero movie with lightning speed. 5G is expected to be adopted even faster than 4G, but it’s also expected to lead in the post-smartphone era.

Phones have led the way so far in connectivity, but 5G’s capabilities are going to revolutionize IoT devices like smart cars, smart homes, smart appliances, smart wearables like Fitbit, and smart beacons and finders like Tile Mate. 5G is also anticipated to be able to improve our cities, traffic, and supply chain management and logistics.

What has been holding IoT devices back so far?

Connectivity lags and interruptions from 4G or slower LTE networks has limited the abilities of IoT devices, from smart homes and telematics in cars to smaller devices like fitness trackers. Beacons and uninterrupted connectivity from 5G networks is anticipated to revolutionize the way that these machines work, both large and small.

The greater reliability and speed of 5G is going to make the already smart, but somewhat less reliable and limited connections of these devices much more reliable.

Industry pundits are excited about the potentials of 5G for virtual reality and augmented reality (like Google Glasses). Improved connectivity in cars will greatly improve safety tech like collision avoidance. It will definitely speed the development and use of self-driving cars.

Does everyone need to have faster and faster phones?

A 2019 market survey of mobile phone owners found that over half weren’t planning on buying a new device in the next year. Another 64% said they didn’t need their phone to perform their daily activities.

The 5G revolution may not be in mobile phone use. Many analysts predict that this change is more likely to be felt in devices that we use for daily activities and in industry. Smarter cars, smarter homes, including home security systems, and fitness wearables all fit into this category.

How will 5G technology affect the economy and jobs?

Fitness trackers and smart watches are everywhere and 5G technology is expected to make them more useful and introduce new capabilities.

Global economic analysts at Accenture estimated that 5G technology could add $500 billion in value to the U.S. economy in the next 7 years. As many as 3 million new jobs could emerge from the technology, Accenture projected.

City and building planning could be revolutionized by faster communications and data transfer made possible by 5G tech.

We sat down with Boston IT service professional Phil Cardone from Radius Executive IT Solutions to discuss how 5G technology will impact his clients, the economy and jobs throughout the Boston area.

What are the downsides of 5G connectivity?

Nearly every analyst projects that higher connectivity speeds and data capacity will come at a higher cost to individuals and businesses. The energy use associated with the technology will also increase, even as 5G is expected to help buildings, homes, and vehicles better manage energy consumption.

5G is expected to enable nearly instantaneous download of entertainment. It will also enable seamless or nearly-seamless augmented and virtual reality experiences. As surveys of people who aren’t planning to upgrade their mobile phones show, not every person wants or needs “virtual reality” entertainment or holograms to go about their daily life.

Whatever happens, 5G technology is coming fast worldwide. The top 20 world communications companies are all introducing 5G capacity in 2019, with much wider applications set for 2020.