5G: The Future of Events?

Opinion and Insight 53 Add to collection
Hamzah Malik, digital intern at George P. Johnson, explores whether 5G could really serve as the backbone to the future of events
5G: The Future of Events?
There are few things more infuriating than a slow internet connection. Waiting an eternity (or more than a few seconds) for a video to load is soul destroying.

Whilst we’ve come a long way from flip phones and dial up connections, we’re not quite there when it comes to speed. But there’s a fix, labelled ‘5G’. Despite sounding cool, could it really serve as the backbone to the future of events?

5G is the fifth generation of mobile networks and offers the one thing we’ve all been needing: speed. It’s believed 5G will provide users up to 100 times faster service than 4G. With such a massive improvement in speed, there is now huge flexibility in what is achievable from our events.


Live Streaming, now in Virtual Reality

One of the most exciting use cases to me is the concept of virtual reality live-streaming.

The biggest external issue currently surrounding VR headsets is latency — high latency means users will leave an experience feeling nauseous due to the disconnect between the users action, and the responsiveness of the VR/AR simulation.

5G could solve this issue entirely, achieving as low as 3ms (milliseconds) in latency — the average 4G data network is much less reliable, at 50ms. Whilst it might sound like a small difference, imagine there was a delay every time you tried to move. Not so small now, eh?

VR live streaming also appeals to a broader range of people who can feel immersed within an event from the comfort of their homes. It’s clear event organisers are aware of the impact that VR live streaming could bring, with BT Sport trialing live VR experiences for the FA Cup Final this year.

Speaking of sporting events, if you’ve ever attended one, you’d know just how bad network congestion can get. With thousands of people in close proximity, data connections can be unbearably slow. 5G offers a much higher bandwidth and EE have already begun trialing this, bringing it to center stage at Glastonbury this year.


Personalised Event Experiences

Another issue with busy events is how chaotic they can be. It’s quite difficult to try and navigate to the nearest seminar or activity from within a large and crowded venue.

5G’s promise of speedier connections enables new event technology such as virtual assistants and connected IoT devices, which provide smoother experiences for attendees.

Rather than contacting event staff every time you need to go somewhere new, in-app assistants could provide full map coverage of seminars — providing live updates to how many people (and who) are in the session, where the session is, and who is leading the seminar.

Whilst it may sound like a quality of life change, it has massive effect on attendee satisfaction and allows events to be much more organised in the future.


A Look Into The Future

5G has already commenced operation across the country and its future looks bright — with an estimate of 1.4 billion connections by 2025.

The combination of faster speeds and higher bandwidth is extremely promising, enabling tailored event experiences on-site whilst also allowing event organisers to connect with people externally. It also provides brands a new range of possibilities when deciding on new, innovative brand activations.

At George P. Johnson, we’ve already begun considering how we can incorporate 5G technology to create meaningful brand experiences. Our recent Power of Mobile white paper focuses on smart investments in mobile and considers the concept of overcoming mobile barriers, something 5G could play a huge role into. 

Whilst 5G is still on its training wheels as a technology, it’s clear to us all that it has the capabilities of shaking up the way we think about events in the future
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George P. Johnson, 10 months ago