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How the fifth-generation network could transform public sector services

Iain Shearman, MD, KCOM NNS writes exclusively for UK Tech News

5G, or fifth generation cellular communications technology, was one of the biggest talking points in tech last year and it is set to to transform the way we live, work and play by introducing ultrafast connectivity. 2019 will be the year that 5G paves the way for fully connected and smart living and which could transform the efficiency and sustainability of urban societies and public sector services.

Triggering a shift from connectivity between people and devices as we know it to one which will enable device to device communication, 5G will make the vision of a smart city that is reliant on this type of automation a reality. Its rollout will open the doors of opportunity to businesses and organisations across public and private sectors. Up to 30 times faster than current network infrastructure, it will allow seemingly instantaneous, two-way data transfer. This will not only enable the growing number of flexible and remote public sector workers to stay fully connected, but also represents a major shift towards using data more effectively to manage assets, resources and services with greater efficiency. This potential will be welcomed by public sector organisations under constant pressure to do more with less.

5G rollout is set to release the potential of the Internet of Things in a smart city environment. A range of IoT-enabled networks in cities will be able to communicate with each other, enabling efficient management of services, including electric vehicle charging stations, public transport and waste collection services. However, the timescale within which 5G is likely to be launched widely, combined with further budget cuts across all sectors, could cause concern for organisations and hinder the launch of new technologies that rely on the network. Significant improvements will be required to the UK’s current network infrastructure, which requires additional funding and time to ensure sufficient testing can take place before integrating with public sector services. Lack of testing and efficiency analysis could lead to increased security risks and the failure to perform at the speed required to support large-scale and fully automated operations.

5G, despite not being a quick fix, will allow public sector organisations such as the police force, NHS and government to implement new technologies with the aim of improving efficiency, productivity and long-term cost savings. The technology could help automate processes otherwise taking up large portions of budget and time, making tasks like accessing health records simpler and more secure.

Hardware security concerns have stalled the rollout of the UK’s 5G network, which will rely on a robust, future-proof network infrastructure. Limited budgets and the need for skilled IT teams to manage the transition to new technologies may also slow the progress of change for organisations. The challenge for the public sector in particular will be in transitioning from traditional legacy systems, cultures and ways of working to maximise the potential of the fifth- generation network and make the most of the smart, new, connected world ahead.

At a time when spending has never been under greater scrutiny, 5G is the key to helping organisations unlock greater efficiency, improve productivity and, in turn, create savings.


About the author

Iain Shearman leads KCOM’s National Network Services (KCOM NNS) bringing more than 20 years’ telecommunications experience to the team. Iain is committed to working with businesses to help them adopt innovative technologies that support their organisation’s vision and growth aspirations, and helping them to deliver more for their customers. Whether he’s developing a go-to market strategy, leading product development or talking directly to customers, Iain believes that customer experience is at the heart of the KCOM offer and technology has the power to unlock hidden capability in any business.