5G in business perspective and its impact on the IT industry
The BYOND Thursday panel discussion was once again held at the Seven Peaks office. We had a seasoned panel talk about the current hot topic of 5G in business and how it affects the IT and software development industries.
To begin with, let’s get to know the experts on the panel.
Ubon Sutthana is the Vice President of ATSI (Associate of Thai Software Industry) with a background in educational technology in Thailand. Dan Itsara is the CTO of Ascend Group, the company behind the successful digital transformation efforts of several CP companies. And Bo Per-Erik Bergman is Central Tech’s Head of Mobile and provided a unique perspective on 5G in business as an old game developer.
With their diverse backgrounds, they explored the 5G world in various aspects, as shown below.
From 4G to 5G
How do we define the upgrade from 4G to 5G? What are the investment implications of doing that? And where should people look when they are thinking about moving from 4G to 5G?
Here is what Dan expressed:
Right now we are upgrading from 4G to 5G, a hot topic in 2022 that you won’t want to miss. This technology is a faster version of wireless information transmission. However, it is also more than that. For example, you might have a 5G phone. But what you might not realize is that it can enable a bunch of other devices as well. Simply put, 5G enables more things to be connected. Not just your laptop and phone, but all sorts of devices.
The expectation for business is much higher, because we are living in a world that is much more connected. That means there is much more potential to integrate things and make things more efficient and more effective.
But how much investment is required to produce experiences that result from having all these devices linked together. From a business perspective, it is hard because there are a lot of steps to go through before reaching the end customer. You have to find a way to serve the right experience for the right price, and also deliver the right promotion at the right time to the person who comes through your CRM system. This is a huge investment before you know the person you’re promoting to.
Ubon, the vice president of ATSI, also revealed some intriguing facts derived from the Thai software development ecosystem:
For Thai developers, 5G is like a dream because the network will become more powerful and run faster. This will enable us to deliver practical innovations for society.
According to Ubon’s experience in the education sector, 5G technology is very useful because it can spark innovations in tools to help teachers elaborate on difficult lessons. But the problem is that only enterprises and governmental organizations can invest in developing their own platforms. Accordingly, many institutions are left waiting for assistance to step into the digital world.
In the Thai development sphere, most clients are SMEs and still don’t have enough money to develop their own platform. On top of that, they have little knowledge of digital transformation.
Hence, the most important thing to do is to grow the digital mindset in our society first, so that people are ready for the transition to the 5G world.
5G in business
From a B2C business perspective, what are some of the new uses of 5G technology?
Eric believes that businesses can make better use of information to provide a better experience with 5G technology. To make it happen, we should combine things like 5G and virtual reality technology, and then take our VR experience to the next level.
We mentioned earlier that the internet will be everywhere, even on floors, like at Ikea, or in security systems on boats that have digital signs directing people to the path they want them to go, whether in an emergency or for commercial purposes.
The fact is, we use data from IoT devices, such as cameras that monitor people moving around, to track and collect information about people’s activities, which is how we can create this kind of experience. This can spark development of new technologies that are more practical and more proficient.
For example, imagine going shopping at Tops Supermarket. You go to the cashier and they have candy and small items that are easy to pick up. That’s because they know that people always pass through there, and tend to add things that are cheap to their shopping carts.
Gathering data to identify hotspots like this is an amazing opportunity. On top of that, if we can combine it with more real-time information, we can know that a lot of people are in a certain area and what they are doing there. Accordingly, we can take the best of this information to develop new technologies that can enhance our quality of life.
From a B2B perspective, what is this bandwidth going to get used for?
Most of this bandwidth will be used by the business team to demand real-time data from the development team, who will struggle to put it together because gathering and analyzing real-time data is really hard. However, at the end of the day, everything connects to customer relationship management.
From what Dan has seen, the sort of common theme or underlying theme in what large companies want is a way to basically know every customer and give them the exact offer they want at that exact point in time.
Consequently, many businesses are doing things like incentivizing customers to scan things in the store with their phones so they can connect them to the membership system. Later, they can figure out what promotions they need to push to each customer.
Social selling an 5G
If selling is the thing that people want to do more than ever, does social selling matter?
In Dan’s opinion, social selling is a workaround for trust. What social gives you is trust, which leads to a bigger question: Does having a bigger picture of customers or having the ability to push more virtual media provide a route to build trust better?
Social selling has brought a phenomenon to Thailand’s market that is uncommon elsewhere. In terms of 5G in business, Thai people are using it to enhance their selling experience online. And thanks to the web technology that allows people to generate their own media and share it with the world, everyone can be their own media outlet.
However, people do want to be able to trust what they are buying. Do you eventually get overwhelmed with too many friends recommending things to you? Or do you wonder if they are genuine in their recommendations?
By contrast, Eric said that in Sweden, it is the other way around. There, people don’t want things pushed at them. If they want something, they go and find the information instead.
5G in software development
How does 5G change the way people think about developing software? Does no-code, low-code play any part in this? Do you push some of the development down to the end user because of the accessible bandwidth that they have?
In the history of computing, we have gone from the client-server model and the mainframe to the end-user computing age. Then we went to the client-server age again with the advent of the internet and the popularization of the internet. And it is still not clear about the balance among these three paradigms: the end-user computing paradigm, the client-server paradigm, and the distributed computing paradigm.
From Dan’s point of view, what we have seen in 2022 looks like something like the client-server model, but with a rapidly growing end user-like device component.
One of the problems when a generation changes is that you have to wait for another generation. But it is very difficult for people who haven’t experienced that kind of technology before or who are not developers to use it. One of the biggest feedback development teams get from users is, “I’m so confused with what you built.”
5G in software development
How does 5G affect low-code and no-code?
In the context of no-code and low-code development, it is not clear that there is a dominant factor above all other factors in terms of having generational change and getting people to be familiar with these platforms. This might be a depressing standpoint like, “Oh, your developers won’t be able to push this work to the business team anytime soon.”
If you are looking at mobile application development, most likely there will be no change whatsoever when it comes to actually developing apps. Because it will take time before all the low-end phones on the market go out of use. So, even if we have 5G on high-end devices, it will take many years before we can skip caching.
The only thing that will change soon is that we will be able to enhance the experience for the people who are using this technology. But we still need to think about the other devices. One consequence might be that it actually takes longer for developers to do things because they need to consider more things on more levels.
It is true that 5G is a faster version of wireless information transmission, but it is also more than that. The expectation for 5G in business is much higher because we are living in a world that is much more connected and we need innovative ways of combining new technologies to develop new and unanticipated technologies.
Sign up today & start getting tech news.
Get the latest tech trends directly in your inbox each month. And get invited to exclusive events.