5G will accelerate the transition to a more digitised lifestyle

Posted on: Monday 03 August 2020 | Kristiana Carlet - Vice President EMEA, Verizon Media

With the 5G roll-out well underway in the UK, Verizon Media’s Kristiana Carlet explores the opportunities this presents for brands and how it will accelerate our transition into a fully digital world

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When the country went into lockdown, with many of us confined to our homes, companies and individuals were forced to embrace a much more digitised lifestyle almost overnight, with telecommunications, quality networks and efficient connectivity becoming more vital than ever. During the lockdown period, digital technologies have proven to be essential for society to function and support our new ways of working, living and socialising - from virtual conferences, online workouts and video calls with friends and family.

The good news is that technological advancements over the past couple of years have made the rise in video conference calls and virtual collaborative working possible. Many of the capabilities we’ve seen become the new normal over the past couple of months wouldn’t have been possible if COVID-19 had struck a few years earlier. However, despite the current situation, it’s critical to look forward. And as we anticipate what the future will bring, people are looking at 5G to deliver better coverage and data speeds that will ease our already accelerated transition to remote working. Not just in office teams but across manufacturing, medicine and media.

But wider than this, the real-time capacities in huge data transfer and computer processing that 5G will enable as it rolls out nationwide will fundamentally change the way we work, live and play through our digital experiences. Consumer expectation is high. Our research found that 83% of UK millennials already expect their digital interactions with brands online to be seamless, innovative and to enhance what’s happening in the real world (Research was undertaken by YouGov on behalf of Verizon Media between 6-10 March 2020. Methodology: 2,210 online interviews with a national representation of UK adults aged 18+). It’s 5G that is key in meeting these expectations. So, what can it deliver to ensure not only a digitised lifestyle post COVID-19, but also a technological revolution that will fundamentally change our lives for the better?

Its impact will be widespread. From immersive gaming experiences and autonomous vehicles, to the ways in which we consume media and entertainment as we move towards more 3D and AR experiences where digital technologies overlay seamlessly onto reality. 5G is set to have a huge effect on the way we watch sport, transforming the home-viewing and stadium experience. 5G will provide better quality on video streaming, immersive experiences and real-time AR overlay that will allow viewers to watch the game from multiple angles - including cameras on the players and referees themselves during live sports. 

In this sense, 5G will make the viewing experience more personal, with AR and VR viewers able to choose their camera angle and essentially create their own bespoke version of the game at play and in real time. 5G will also meet the growing appetite for e-sports, where users can play at home or on-the-go without connectivity being affected. Likewise, brands will have access to cutting-edge technology to integrate mapping and AR for experiences like opening ceremonies that will blur the boundaries of the real world and virtual realm.

It will also change how we are able to consume media, opening up numerous opportunities for marketers and advertisers. For example, at a granular level, high-speed data exchange will mean ads and landing pages will load instantly - eliminating issues like slow loading web pages that can mean sometimes ads don’t get seen before a person has scrolled past it. 

At a more macro level, Extended Reality (XR) experiences, enabled in real time by 5G, opens up a multitude of immersive and engaging opportunities for brands to connect with people that can create more enjoyable experiences for the viewer and result in higher engagement rates for brands.

We have already seen these changes in media consumption begin to assimilate into our lives. For instance, using live motion capture from our 5G-equipped studio, we were able to bring to life virtual Sith jet troopers on the red carpet at the after-party of the ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ premiere. As well as creating digital characters like this that consumers can interact with in real-time, 5G also enables us to bring interactive, virtual environments into real-time behind presenters in AR broadcast, transforming the way we produce and broadcast content. This will not only revolutionise the way we view things as consumers, such as the news, but also the way that presenters and production companies report on global updates - giving viewers visual access to new landscapes and bringing them closer to parts of the world, or even universe, they would not otherwise be able to see and experience.

And that’s not to mention the changes that are likely to come in how the end user consumes that content. As 5G and mobile edge computing (MEC) remove the need for devices to be mobile computers - as most of the processing required to bring this content to the user will be done in the cloud. Therefore devices like AR/VR glasses are going to look more like your typical pair of sunglasses rather than the big headsets we see today. This means that we won’t need to be bringing our phones out of our pockets in order to overlay the digital world onto the real one.

As the capabilities of this new world of technology and connectivity begin to integrate into our everyday lives, through our new 5G Lab and production studio in London, we are excited to help our customers and partners understand how they can be at the forefront of creating new immersive experiences with us.

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Written by

Kristiana Carlet

Vice President EMEA, Verizon Media

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