In the midst of a global pandemic we have no choice but to think of the future and ways to improve it. There has been a lot of controversy around the implementation of 5G in cities, from pictures of dead birds to forming anti-5G groups and petitions to ban the 5G implementation. We remember the drama around the possibility of computers taking over the world in 00:00:00 01.01.2000 and that didn’t happen. We remember people speculating that mobile phones cause cancer and that was also proven to be a myth. Cancer Research UK reassures us (as well as literally any 5G engineer) that 5G is just a higher frequency wave, but it is not enough to damage our DNA.
So, having that out of our way we can discuss the benefits that we can experience with 5G and to understand why “sky’s the limit” when event organisers adopt this technology
1. More reliable and high-quality streaming
Having in mind that it is expected of 5G to provide 100 times faster download speed than 4G, event planners can stop worrying about buffering video streams. This can be beneficial in two ways: reduce costs of guest speakers and cut carbon emissions by not flying certain speakers and include more delegates.
5G will allow event planners to book any speaker around the world and it could be done from the comfort of the speaker’s home. This will allow conferences with a tighter budget to invite key speakers who would be otherwise too expensive or just don’t have 3-4 days to travel overseas for example and would like to avoid experience jet lag.
The same applies for delegates who cannot physically participate or would like to attend a specific seminar that concerns them the most. If we tackle the latter, this will give delegates more flexibility in terms of time, space and funding.
2. Increased security
R. Borgaonkar, a research scientist at the Norwegian tech analysis firm SINTEF Digital, says that “5G has really good promise for security”. Once fully implemented 5G will include anti-tracking and spoofing features that will make it harder for bad actors on a network to track and manipulate individual device connections. Another thing that 5G will introduce is the idea of “slicing” – segmenting the system in various different networks that can be managed and operated separately. This means that there will be no universal way to access the network, which will make 5G devices harder to manipulate.
3. Optimise the use of event wearables
One of the most futuristic gadgets is Virtual Reality (VR). VR conferences provide event organisers with the opportunity to run their event rather completely remotely and online. This is a valuable solution in times like this, when social distancing and limited travel is the new norm. So, rather than cancel or postpone the event, event professionals can take advantage of the technology that we have and 5G will only make this transition easier. A recent example of an event like this is the Virtual Vive Ecosystem Conference – V2EC 2020: the world’s first fully virtual conference in VR.
Having VR conferences can supplement having the main conference if circumstances allow it. Some delegates may have access to one another before the conference takes place and smaller work groups can be created depending on interests. This allows delegates to extract more of their interaction with other attendees or speakers, as VR doesn’t require a hotel booking or taking a flight and is not limited within the conference’s timeframe. VR also provides a better way to visually present your ideas or write key points in the air as you speak – like having a whiteboard with you at all times. Information presented both verbally and through image is proved to be better retained.
4. Tailored information
5G will provide a secure and accessible network for both event organisers and attendees, which will facilitate the data collection process under the GDPR laws. By having more information about delegates, event designers will be able to use technology as a medium to provide more tailored and curated information to the delegates. This will enhance the attendee’s engagement and satisfaction and will make the event stand out. The future of events is to have bespoke experiences at brand activations, conferences and just ordinary meetings and 5G can help event organisers satisfy their client’s needs.
Cut the cost of Wi-Fi
This one sounds obvious, but is a big step for event venues. Mika Skarp, CEO at Cloud Street, says:
“Now, instead of settling for a dumb pipe to a sluggish and unreliable wireless access point via WiFi, or last generation cellular, a 5G base station will provide coverage from 100s of meters to 10s of kilometers (depending on population density), at some 100 times the capacity or latency that even the fastest wireless connections can provide.””
The reduced cost can be then used on other aspects of the event planning such as Social Media presence.
We need to embrace this new technology and remember that digitalisation of events is just a complimentary feature to attending physical events. It is not a threat or a substitute, but rather it can expand the attendee’s experience and can open new pathways for event organisers. 5G is here to stay and we as event professionals have to be on top of it.