Is 5G really that big of a deal? Source: Shutterstock

Is 5G really that big of a deal? Source: Shutterstock

Businesses are underestimating the potential of 5G — study

DURING the past few months, business leaders have read a great deal about 5G.

However, much of that has been about the ongoing US-China trade war and the security concerns raised by the US and its allies with regards to Huawei’s 5G technology.

Not much has been discussed about the business potential of 5G itself, which has caused executives to grossly underestimate the potential of the technology.

A recent survey of more than 1,800 executives from midsized and large businesses across industries, conducted by Accenture in 10 countries, found that most respondents (53 percent) believe there are “very few” things that 5G will enable them to do that they cannot already do with 4G networks.

Further, fewer than two in five executives (37 percent) said they expect 5G to bring a “revolutionary” shift in speed and capacity.

Respondents acknowledged that the technology has important competitive implications, with 60 percent saying they believe that 5G will cover nearly all the population by the year 2022, and 70 percent agreeing that 5G applications will give them a competitive edge with customers.

According to Accenture, more than two in five executives also expect 5G to have a “significant” impact on speed (46 percent) and capacity (42 percent).

Building a case for more case studies

The Accenture study found that executives aren’t excited about the technology, but other insights it collected suggested that there’s definitely a lack of knowledge in the market and the need for some education.

Seventy-two percent of respondents said they need help imagining the future possibilities and use cases of 5G.

And although 40 percent of respondents said they would partner with telecom companies to support them on their 5G journey, 60 percent said there is a lack of knowledge among vendor companies about the challenges in their industries, like how diverse industries can apply 5G technology to innovate.

The survey also revealed a number of perceived barriers to 5G adoption, including the upfront investment (cited by 36 percent of respondents), security (32 percent) and employee buy-in (29 percent).

While 78 percent of executives believe that using 5G in the workplace will make their business more secure, one-third (32 percent) have concerns about the security of 5G — which is something that studies from other industry analysts groups including IDC and Gartner support.