Since the COVID pandemic hugely amplified digital transactions and interaction across the globe, the ongoing adoption of 5G connectivity is anticipated to make an even bigger impact than prior, already-high expectations. But what does it all really mean?
To start, 5G means ‘fifth generation’, where 1G refers to the early introduction of mobile phones in the 1980s; 2G, the spread of SMS or texting in the 1990s; 3G, the launch of mobile internet browsing in 1998; and 4G, the proliferation of mobile access to applications like Facebook, Instagram, and countless more, in 2008.
So it’s clear that each connectivity upgrade generation has genuinely changed the communication landscape. 5G is set to do the same, comprising three areas of evolution:
1. eMBB, enhanced mobile broadband, promises lightning-fast network speeds and bolstered capability, especially for smartphones.
2. mMTC, massive Machine Type Communications, will enable literally a million connected devices and sensors per square kilometer, without network overload.
3. uRLCC, ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications, will reduce latency—the gap between digital request and response—to almost nothing.
To put this in context, 5G aims to bring latency down to 4 milliseconds. With 4G, latency runs from 30 to 60 milliseconds, so 5G’s latency will be a fraction of that and, in fact, less than half the time it takes the human eye to even process information, which is 10 milliseconds. 5G can deliver results in literally less than an eyeblink.
In the customer experience (CX) industry, CX agents will be able to receive and respond to customer issues not just faster, but in more ways than ever before. For instance, 5G’s speed can facilitate handling CX through video, significantly improving efficiency, empathy, and clarity – a customer could show agents, step by step, what their technical problem is, and then agents could visually demonstrate and course-correct the fix.
Data analytics, naturally, can benefit massively from 5G, collecting more information, processing it faster, and offering prioritized, optimized, timely insights, in literal real-time. This should lead to personalization on a whole new level – for example, bypassing the step of asking for customer information, instead harnessing facial recognition to determine their identity, age, gender, ethnicity, and emotional state, right from the start.
And these are just some of the implications for inbound CX. For outbound CX, the possibilities are truly endless.