Co-Authored with Dan Wiggins, Vice President, Industry Solutions Group at Cisco

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last few years, you probably know that the fifth generation of cellular network technology, 5G, is going to unleash some serious power with lower latency, higher bandwidth, greater density, and network slicing. There’s been a lot of talk about everything from self-driving cars and robots to refrigerators that can sense that you’re out of broccoli and call the store to restock your supply of cruciferous vegetables.

Although a lot of hype surrounds 5G, it clearly does have the power to transform established industries. It will affect business models and customer’s experiences and interactions across the globe.

What is 5G?

Whether it’s on the move or standing in place, everything needs to be connected. Mobility will play an increasing role in connecting everyone and everything. With the rise of interconnectivity comes a variety of new wireless technologies that are going to have to coexist. Wi-Fi 6, CBRS, and 5G are all similar in terms of what they are going to deliver. However, each of them uses different means to deliver these capabilities.

We’ve come to a major inflection point with 5G. Because of the wireless nature, it will allow us to accelerate digital disruption. At the same time, the new attributes of 5G will allow it to take on characteristics that were previously reserved for wired technologies. An added benefit is that wireless is more cost effective than wired connections.

Although 5G will primarily be used for outdoor connections, it will be able to seamlessly connect indoors as well. It will coexist with Wi-Fi 6 and CBRS, so users won’t be able to detect a hand-off.

How does this seamless experience work? A major difference in the 5G era is behind the radios. Software-defined “telco cloud” networks will be the foundation of intent-based networks. This will allow service providers to offer customers the tools and experiences they need and want.

5G for Service Providers and Enterprises

Service providers are at the center of the move to 5G, working to deliver network services. Enterprises will have to make a choice: do they want to buy from a service provider or build a 5G network themselves?

The relationship between industries and service providers will change as industries rely on providers for more applications, features, and services. Service providers can commit to new business models, cost models, and service levels. By playing a larger role, service providers can give industries the confidence to make the transition to 5G.

5G Blog Series

We want to shed some light on how service providers and enterprises across industries can fully reach their 5G potential. To do so, we’ve worked with several of our resident subject matter experts to show you some ways 5G can help companies cut costs and increase revenue. In the next five blogs, we’ll focus on two common themes: the rise of the sensor ecosystem and the impact of 5G on knowledge workers.

Cisco is at the center of the move to 5G because we provide the technologies that are going to enable the transition. We want our customers to do the disrupting before they get disrupted.

We’re going to roll out this blog series each Monday for the next five weeks. Each blog post centers on a different key industry that we expect will go through a major transformation with the advent of 5G: retail, healthcare, industrials, smart cities, and education.

We could write a blog about every industry out there because 5G will be that far-reaching. However, we’ve chosen these five industries because many people can relate to them. These industries affect people’s everyday lives, and we’ll all feel positive change when the promise of 5G evolves into a reality.

To learn more about Cisco’s 5G strategy, please take a look at our 5G site and read about our 5G network in action with Rakuten and T-Mobile.

Take a look at the other blogs in this series:


John Hurley

Vice President, Telco and Mobile - Americas

Global Service Provider