As the high-speed capabilities of 5G networks continue to roll out, an even more impressive technology is on the horizon.
The upcoming 6G wireless communication system promises to be a hundred times faster than its predecessor and will offer near-instantaneous connections, completely changing the way we live, work, and interact with our environment.
However, some experts believe it’s still too early to discuss 6G in detail.
“We have not completed the deployment of 5G yet,” Ha Min Yong, chief development officer of SK Telecom, told CNBC last week. “I don’t think it’s mature enough to talk about 6G seriously … it’s already a bit too early.”
A Quantum Leap into the Future
Despite the potential distant timeline of 6G, however, global telecommunication companies are already envisioning the next era of data technology, with 6G predicted to bring groundbreaking inventions and social shifts. The 6G network is expected to be a fully integrated system that will facilitate instant communication between devices, users, and their surroundings.
This will shift how companies process information, communicate, make decisions, and train employees.
One of the most significant effects of 6G technology will be the acceleration of the metaverse. While the concept of the metaverse has become a popular topic in the IT world, 5G lacks the necessary bandwidth to deliver real-time, personalized and rendered 3D worlds.
However, with 6G’s superior speed and bandwidth capabilities, tech giants will be able to create an immersive, persistent, and fully-integrated virtual metaverse.
6G Technology: Powering a New Wave of Smart Devices
The introduction of 6G technology will also lead to an even broader range of smart devices in the market. Society will witness a surge in the number of devices connected to the internet, capable of collecting and transmitting data.
As a result, pervasive intelligence and an expanded Internet of Things (IoT) will create a smooth connection between everyday life and the internet.
With #AI embedded rather than confined solely to the #cloud, the range of potential applications grows enormously. Love the idea of pervasive intelligence https://t.co/LzGb0xKjbY pic.twitter.com/jCiraKXKeo
— Bob Lord (@rwlord) December 5, 2018
In the context of the workplace, 6G technology will give birth to a new generation of online connectivity. The days of spending hours on 2D Zoom or Teams meetings will be long gone, as we will be able to meet in 3D digital spaces where avatars can establish “real” eye contact, express body language in real-time, and engage in group discussions.
One-on-one meetings will become more convenient, with participants switching to quiet virtual spaces for focused conversations.
Additionally, virtual visits to factories or product demonstrations will be possible through digital twins, enabling a more immersive experience.
When it comes to employee training, 6G technology will empower companies to provide immersive VR and AR experiences that streamline knowledge transfer between teams and improve knowledge retention.
Some companies are already utilizing AR and VR for training purposes. For example, aerospace and engineering conglomerate Honeywell equips new hires with mixed reality headsets, enabling them to “see” the work of other employees and learn through guided overlays provided by VR and AR technology.
It has never been easier to create AR training than it is right now. A commonly held assumption by many firms we speak with is that creating augmented reality must be a time consuming process that requires learning a new skill, even some basic coding https://t.co/2BfiZmwsFV
— XRMentor® (@XRMentor) October 19, 2022
Social Media in the 6G Era: Exploring New Dimensions
The world of social media will also transform radically with the dawn of 6G. Instead of browsing 2D profiles on smartphones, users will wear mixed reality glasses to explore personalized 3D worlds in real-time.
Visiting someone’s virtual home, admiring their art, or reliving their 3D-rendered vacation memories will become the new norm. Users will also have the option to meet new and existing social media connections on virtual planets for engaging conversations.
Healthcare is another sector that will experience the revolutionary effects of 6G technology. With ultra-fast data speeds, we can expect smart sensors floating through our bloodstream, monitoring and measuring various aspects of our health.
These connected devices will continuously collect data, analyze information, and make recommendations to predict and prevent health issues.
We will see smart devices that can provide physical assistance and administer medications, all supported by constantly updated digital representations of ourselves online.
#DidYouKnow: We’ve joined leading medical researchers from across Germany to explore future medical applications using #6G.
Learn more at: https://t.co/ShG8H9Uzas#connectivity #healthcare #IoT pic.twitter.com/ZGUQYifoki
— Vodafone IoT (@VodafoneIoT) March 14, 2023
This shift will move the healthcare industry from a reactive approach to a predictive, personalized model, significantly impacting the way we care for our health and altering the landscape for healthcare professionals.
Commuting at the Speed of Light
Transportation will also see major advancements with the implementation of 6G. Real-time, 4D maps will help manage the heavy traffic in our future cities, including ground-based autonomous vehicles and even aerial transportation. Your daily commute will be improved with the assistance of highly accurate sensors in vehicles and base stations that can navigate and provide the fastest, most comfortable routes.
With all of this potential for new applications given the higher data speeds of the future, BT’s technology chief Howard Watson cautions against overwhelming consumers with too much focus on the “Gs.”
“What I would say though is, we as an industry need to stop confusing customers by talking to them about Gs because the next thing you’ll ask me is when is 6G coming? I don’t see any use cases today that we can’t do with 5G or its immediate evolutions,” he told CNBC last week. “I do not want to be confusing consumers and enterprises with, wait for this new thing called 6G.”
Before we can start thinking about 6G, there’s another milestone that the industry is looking forward to.
“There is still one step to come before 6G and that’s going to be called 5G advanced, which will become available on the market in a couple of years’ time,” Pekka Lundmark, CEO of Nokia, told CNBC in an interview last week.
Lundmark believes 5G advanced will help improve the experience of technologies like augmented and virtual reality and even support the flying of drones.
The impending arrival of 6G technology—possibly as early as 2030—will have a profound impact on how we work, live, and interact with our surroundings. With the potential to transform society in areas such as meetings, workplace training, social media, healthcare, and transportation, we are heading towards an incredible display of 6G use cases that will improve people’s lives across the globe.
As we look back at the history of mobile networks, from 1G’s inception in Japan in 1979 to the rollout of 5G in South Korea in 2019, each generation has brought significant improvements in speed, functionality, and user experience. With each new generation, the ability to transfer data and access media content on mobile devices has expanded, shaping the way we communicate and consume information.
Now, as we stand on the brink of 6G, the future holds limitless possibilities. With speeds up to 100 times faster than 5G, instantaneous connections, and groundbreaking inventions, the world will witness a new age of technological advancements that will reshape our lives in ways we have yet to imagine.