The rollout of 5G in India will begin this month and the technology is bound to have a significant impact on how services are delivered to consumers and enterprises. While the previous generations of cellular technologies (2G to 4G) were all about faster data speeds, 5G promises to alter the DNA of the user experience.
Experts believe that 5G will be the potential enabler that leads to the widescale adoption of blockchain technology in several aspects such as trade financing, logistics, healthcare, education, etc. “The power of 5G coverage through its very low latency, high speeds and immense capacity allow for Internet of Things (IoT) devices to become widely used. This would imply that Smart Cities, Driverless vehicles, Smart homes and other sensor-driven enhancements for Industrial use cases will finally have a technology that can handle their unique needs,” said Sunil David, co-chair, Digital Communications Working Group, IET Future Tech Panel.
IoT is internet-connected devices that range from laptops, and smartphones to heavy industrial machines. These devices are integrated with sophisticated chips and sensors that enable them to communicate over the internet and exchange information smoothly. 5G promises remarkable scope for IoT devices as the ultimate goal is to reduce network bandwidth and make the communication between devices live. Since current IoT models are centralised, which means that one entity owns it, it makes it riskier for wider adoption. This is where blockchain comes into the picture, it promises decentralisation, which means nobody controls how these devices operate, and every transfer of data is recorded in a distributed ledger, giving users full control over their privacy. This wouldn’t be possible on 4G.
“4G couldn’t completely fulfil the demands on latency and density this ecosystem required. 5G is not only designed to improve the speed and latency but also allows a proximity-driven approach to help the distributed and decentralised application ecosystem,” Dr Ravi Chamria, CEO and co-founder of Blockchain Infra Automation platform, Zeeve tells indianexpress.com.
One instance of using 5G in blockchain could involve vehicular networks to enable the sharing of traffic information. For instance, two vehicles on the road will be able to communicate with each other and provide information such as safety warnings. This could be effective in avoiding accidents and traffic congestion. However, this data could be utilised by third-party companies that could spam you with ads. The implementation of blockchain could solve this issue.
Experts say blockchain coupled with 5G has the potential to disrupt the telecom industry. One of the major challenges that the telecom industry faces today is generating bills when a user travels abroad. The international roaming charges are exorbitant, this is because there are several parties involved in ensuring that you can access mobile networks, which means for every small bit of mobile data you use, roaming charges have to be settled manually, and then a bill is generated to you. Not only is this expensive but it makes it inconvenient for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) too.
“Blockchain, which has its foundations in transparency, can prevent rising consumer costs brought on by cross-border settlements, and 5G will guarantee that international roaming and cross-border cell phone networks are compatible and effective,” said Edul Patel, CEO and co-Founder, of Mudrex, a crypto investment platform.
However, one of the most interesting upgrades to the world of blockchain and crypto could be the rendering of the metaverse. The Metaverse is a concept of a 3D digital world and an evolution of the Internet into a more immersive, spatial web accessed by Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) headsets along with traditional computing devices like the PCs and smartphones we all use.
“To completely replicate the physical world in a virtual ecosystem requires a lot of internet bandwidth. And the faster the internet, the faster and better would be the rendered version of the physical world. Potentially, 5G has the potential to enable a real-time rendition of different physical environments. Perhaps that is why tech companies are heavily integrating 5G into their technology,” Patel explained.
It’s not just 5G enabling Blockchain. Both are complementary to each other. 5G will provide the needed infrastructure for the machine-to-machine interactions, Blockchain will ensure data reliability, and security, enabling smarter and faster value functions. “Adding 5G to existing 4G network architectures will enable a lot more feature- and function-rich user experiences across the entire business. From Financial Services to Retail to Manufacturing to Healthcare to Media and Entertainment, we are beginning to see 5G make an impact that has never been witnessed before,” adds David.