CES 2019 Recap: The Play for 5G

At CES 2019, 5G was on everyone's lips. And rightly so—the 5th generation of cellular connectivity promises blazing speeds, massive throughput capability, and ultra-low latencies. In our exclusive conversations with AT&T, John Deere, and Samsung, these IoT leaders demonstrated how 5G is enabling a new generation of products and services.

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Illustration: © IoT For All

Without a doubt, the biggest news at CES centered on 5G. It was practically impossible to walk anywhere at CES without seeing something about 5G. Everyone I spoke to started with the same question, “Besides 5G, what other exciting trends are you seeing?”

This excitement is well-founded. 5G may be up to ten times faster than 4G, and although it isn’t expected to replace 4G in the US until the early 2020s, most major phone carriers (Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T) plan to launch 5G smartphones this year.

These industry leaders—along with Vodafone, John Deere, and T-Mobile—were all focused on new developments in cellular connectivity. With 5G increasingly becoming the industry standard through 2019 and into the early 2020s, issues of cost, performance, and access remain at the forefront of the discussion.

At #CES2019, 5G was on everyone's lips. And rightly so—5th gen cellular connectivity promises blazing speed and ultra-low latency. Featuring exclusive conversations with #IoT leaders at @ATT, @JohnDeere, and @Samsung || #Mobile Click To Tweet

Samsung

Samsung views 5G as the foundation to a future of connected living. They showcased a 5G smartphone prototype at CES—under protective glass, of course. To build out their end-to-end portfolio, Samsung is leveraging a combination of new technologies, from AI to IoT to 5G. Samsun is also partnering with both AT&T and Verizon. AT&T and Samsung will deploy smart factories and with Verizon Wireless, AT&T will work on smart home network solutions. We can be sure to see more from Samsung as 2019 progresses.

John Deere

John Deere has proven repeatedly that it’s at the center of innovation in the agtech space. At CES, they showcased a 20-ton combine that can adjust its kernel-separating settings automatically, based on feedback from cameras tracking the quality of the grain the machine ingests. Farmers can monitor their crop from a smartphone and plan their irrigation and fertilization plot by plot based off of the insights John Deere provides.

The most challenging element of John Deere’s technology is reliable connectivity. When we spoke with the Lane Arthur, Director of Digital Solutions, and Doug Sauder, Director of Applied Intelligence at John Deere’s Intelligent Solutions Group, they said that the farms with which they work rarely have a good network connection with 4G or WiFi. Therefore, the improved connectivity of 5G will benefit farmers in remote places.

John Deere can’t wait for 5G to become a truly global technology. Once it does, they’ll have a frictionless, intelligent service to offer customers who may have previously been unable to leverage connected solutions.

AT&T

As mentioned in our earlier CES recap,  AT&T is heavily invested in working on 5G use cases across a variety of areas—in particular, hospitals, stadiums, and smart cities. They have already rolled out 5G to roughly 19 cities across the US.

AT&T announced multiple partnerships focused on enhanced 5G experiences prior to CES. One of the biggest announcements was the partnership with Chicago-based Rush University Medical Center. Together, they’re working to bring the first standards-based, 5G-enabled hospital to the US. Incorporating 5G technology into the healthcare space will ultimately bring faster speeds and lower latency—critical to the mission-critical nature of hospital care—and support the abundance of innovative technologies Rush is currently deploying throughout its system.

According to Dr. Shafiq Rab, Senior VP and CIO of Rush University Medical Center and the Rush System for Health, the combination of Rush’s long history of innovation in healthcare and the capabilities of 5G “will support better hospital operations as well as provide the highest quality patient and staff experience.”

“High-speed, low-latency 5G technology will help enable care to be delivered virtually anywhere at any time. The technology will enhance access to care, even from long distances, while also helping to decrease costs and improve efficiency. Imagine sometime in the not too distant future, for example, a doctor performing a virtual visit with a patient while downloading an entire MRI scan within seconds. The cutting-edge applications we’re implementing need a fast, reliable network to support them. That’s why we turned to AT&T.”

— Dr. Shafiq Rab

In our discussion with Mobeen Khan, AT&T’s IoT Strategy & Product Management Executive, he spoke of AT&T’s vision to supply network and platform services to customers who will build the end-to-end solution. AT&T’s flagship 5G partnerships are an example of this.

CES 2019: 5G Is the Future 

Needless to say, 5G is kind of a big deal. With all the major players devoting resources to making 5G a reality and investing heavily in 5G-based solutions, the next year will undoubtedly be exciting. Based on everything we learned at CES, we’ll soon start to see these 5G-focused solutions being rolled out across the US. And by 2020, when 5G is expected to be the cellular connectivity standard US, the possibilities are endless—or that’s at least what the big players in the industry believe. CES 2020 will be a good place to check in on the success of these tech leaders’ 5G implementations. 

Ryan Chacon
Ryan is IoT For All’s Editor-in-Chief. Prior to helping create IoT For All, Ryan has served as a founder, early stage employee, and start-up advisor -- helping to build, market, raise funding for and launch technology related products and businesses — all leading to an ever growing obsession with technology. Contact Ryan at [email protected]