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TELUS Social Impact

Connecting Canadians

Unlocking the future of communication with 5G

Nov 22, 2021

At Facebook, our mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together, and that requires a world that’s more connected. It’s why Facebook is an advocate for 5G: We expect revolutionary advancements in next-generation wireless technology to create new, more equitable and better opportunities to connect people.

By Sarah Fitzgerald, Industry Manager, Technology, Telecommunications & Entertainment, Facebook Canada

People buy technology hoping for engaging experiences — whether it’s having a live creative brainstorming session with coworkers across multiple time zones or exploring a foreign destination with all five of the senses without leaving home. Technology is at its best when its presence melts into the background and puts up no barrier between people and the moments they desire. When a conversation with a family member is uninterrupted by connectivity glitches, or when playing a multimedia video game allows a view into an entirely new world, the technology enabling these moments is the last thing on people’s minds. The result? A virtuous cycle gets created: the better the experience, the higher the adoption of the technology.

This is precisely what 5G, the newest generation in wireless technologies, can make happen — supporting seamless communication and immersive experiences that better connect people to people.

And this promises big changes to how we connect and communicate with each other.

With 5G’s ability to support vast data capacity, faster speeds and lower latency, users will experience richer and faster streaming video on portable devices, giving immersive technologies, including augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR), the capability to reach its full potential.

After nearly two years of pandemic-inspired virtual family dinners and live-streamed business meetings, we’ve all come to rely heavily on digital technology to keep us connected, while staying safely apart. Now 5G will enhance remote connections even further through immersive technologies, such as AR/VR and 360 video.

The impacts of immersive tech extend far beyond online social entertainment such as Facebook Watch Together and social gaming. The ability to make us feel like we are in the physical presence of another person through these digital technologies can vastly enhance remote education and telehealth. Imagine how 5G could help a physician accurately assess a patient’s concern from across the country, or even the globe.

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Sparking innovation

5G will also generate new businesses, and create entirely new industries and employment opportunities, many of which we can’t yet imagine. In fact, we see big potential to help small and medium businesses connect more deeply with customers. Just as cloud services — offering new ways for business teams to connect, collaborate and improve productivity — are now becoming widely available, 5G will allow smaller operations to operate at greater speeds and connect more effortlessly and meaningfully with customers.

Think about how the customer purchase experience could change in a 5G world: an architect could create an augmented reality blueprint experience so the client can walk around her new house long before it’s created in real life; a local florist could show a bride what holding her bouquet on her wedding day would look — and feel — like; restaurant owners could create immersive menus, allowing diners to visualize their meals on the table before ordering; and e-shoppers could click or tap on an ad for new shoes and be able to “try” them on through a VR session.

On a broader scale, connected devices powered by 5G, will allow urban planners and governments to make smarter decisions around how cities operate — improving public safety, reducing fuel emissions, and streamlining costly processes as sensor technology and Internet of Things are more widely adopted.  Smart City technologies are beginning to roll out across the country, but the possibilities for benefits to society are only just beginning to be realized as the limits of the current generation of mobile technology are reached.

5G will touch nearly every aspect of our daily lives, from advertising to agriculture, education to energy, entertainment to healthcare, the remote edge to remote work, and so much more. And just as 3G and 4G led to the creation of an entirely new mobile app industry, 5G will do the same, creating new opportunities and growing the mobile economy.

Building towards a 5G future

Over the next five years, we expect to see a huge evolution in tech adoption of 5G as network infrastructure expands in cities and smaller communities across Canada. 

5G coverage and network capabilities are just getting started. As networks expand and new spectrum is introduced, Canadians will experience emerging 5G capabilities — from faster file downloads to richer virtual experiences and more seamless communications.

As 5G evolves and becomes more sophisticated, 5G technologies will become mainstream. While the benefits of 5G are available to many people right now, network operators will start offering new enterprise and consumer services that leverage all that 5G has to offer.

Critically, the speed, capacity and responsiveness of 5G has the power to change our world forever, and for the good. As networks expand, it will democratize access to data and opportunities for everyone, vastly improving digital connections for rural or remote regions. 

Bringing about this 5G future depends on a variety of entities — from equipment manufacturers, network providers and government bodies to customers and companies like Facebook that build innovations on top of the platforms that 5G makes possible. With 5G, each innovation will beget another, fundamentally changing how both people and businesses use technology to drive connection, and contributing to a better, more equal and more connected society.

The possibilities to build a better, more connected future seem endless — and we are just getting started.

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