What is the real significance of 5G to enterprises and mid-market companies, and how can it – how will it – be transformative? That is the question asked and answered in a Moor Insights and Strategy white paper that explores the business efficiencies and mass-scale smart applications that 5G portends.

At the dawn of mobile communications, the first mobile phone in the early 1970s cost $4,000 at the time (more than $19,000 in today’s dollars) and offered little – even though it weighed several pounds. You could get 30 minutes of talk time and six hours of standby, and the only “data” capacity was in the limited number of phone numbers the unit could store.

In contrast, we have virtual supercomputers at our fingertips today. And with the advances of the devices have come parallel advances in mobile networks. A 1970s techie would be in absolute awe of what a 2018 techie can do today with a phone, from virtually anywhere.

Yet it’s still not enough, which is why networks continue to advance and why we are racing headlong to the 5G world just beyond today’s horizon.

As the white paper puts it, “5G promises to deliver a mobile broadband network that satisfies the needs of a globally connected world.”

We’ve talked many times about the headline advantages of 5G, particularly its high speed and low latency, which will enable myriad advanced applications and transform networking as we know it.

“However, it’s not all about 5G’s speed or responsiveness,” the white paper goes on to say. “Most importantly, the new mobile network standard promises to serve the specific needs of different use cases with virtualization playing a significant factor. The application of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), Software-Defined Networking (SDN), and composable infrastructure that allows the dynamic allocation of compute, storage, and networking will enable 5G to scale even further and support multiple microservice workflows.”

Let’s consider the following use cases:

Enhanced mobile broadband

Collaborative product design, consumer retailing, and field service/repair are compelling commercial use cases for the capabilities of 5G in supporting virtual reality and augmented reality (VR and AR).

From a product design perspective, the power of AR lies in marrying traditional software tools with the visual target, the actual product being created. It enables accelerated timelines in terms of prototyping, general visualization, and designing for manufacturability and improved serviceability.