Focus Outlook

IoT’s Next Chapter: 5G-Driven Expansion and Innovation

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The global deployment of 5G networks and the growing adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) are set to drive digital transformation across industries, heralding a new era of innovation and improved living standards. With more than 6 billion mobile broadband devices and nearly 2 billion connected IoT devices worldwide by the end of 2022, 5G is playing a pivotal role in this transformation, offering reliable and secure connectivity. 

Additionally, the number of cellular IoT subscribers is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.6% to reach 3.74 billion by 2025, further accelerating IoT adoption. Unlike previous network generations, 5G has been purpose-built to support IoT use cases with tailored capabilities, enabling entirely new applications and opportunities that benefit consumers, enterprises, and society at large.

As 5G networks are deployed globally, enterprises must understand the implications of this technology and how to harness its potential for IoT-driven digital transformation. The transition to 5G for IoT applications can be divided into three phases: Transition, Evolve, and Transform. During the Transition phase, partial 5G coverage allows for the coexistence of legacy networks. The Evolve phase commences as sufficient 5G coverage is achieved, creating new opportunities for IoT applications. The final phase, Transform, marks the establishment of a robust 5G ecosystem, paving the way for innovation and business reinvention.

It’s crucial for IoT applications to consider the unique challenges they face in terms of network access, device lifecycle, and energy consumption. With IoT lifecycles often spanning a decade or more, decisions made today will significantly impact future capabilities and costs. Furthermore, IoT applications should adapt to the varying 5G coverage profiles and the ongoing sunset of legacy 2G and 3G networks. As sufficient 5G coverage is established, it will unlock new application opportunities and usher in an era of business reinvention, ultimately transforming industries and society.

To fully leverage 5G capabilities for IoT development projects, these capabilities need to be seamlessly integrated into the application development ecosystem. By optimizing battery consumption and processing requirements, developers can focus on business value and harness the potential of 5G for innovative IoT solutions.

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