Smart Connectivity: How 5G Is Going To Change Your Life in 10 Years


Yesterday’s science fiction is today’s reality. Alright, we may not be hovering through the streets of Madrid or Bogotá in Marty McFly’s hoverboard, but it’s not as if we couldn’t. In fact, a company based in Montreal has already created a prototype using drone technology. The future is here: we move through the sky on machines that resemble what Da Vinci had imagined and we talk to computers just like Doctor Bowman did on ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ with HAL 9000. Federico Ruiz, Director of the 5G National Observatory, already knew this, but he finally confirmed it when he witnessed the first ever holographic phone call. Everything he had dreamt of since his childhood as a Star Trek fan is becoming a reality.

20 years ago, at the turn of the century, there was no YouTube, no Google and no Amazon, and modems still made that weird phone line noise. We must take a look back in order to understand why the technological advances are so important and to make out what 5G has in store for us for the next ten years. “How much would you pay to go back in time having the knowledge you now have about the change in paradigm brought by 2G and 3G?”, Federico Ruiz asked at EAE Business School’s 2021 Annual Alumni Reunion, which took place at the Palau de la Música Catalana.

5G Is Already Here Whether You Can Tell or Not

Each connectivity generation lasts about ten years from when it’s first implemented until it becomes obsolete. 5G is already here —we’re even working on 6G nowand major cities are already making use of this technology. Its application on an industrial level is beginning to become apparent and big companies fight to secure a foothold in the market. But its impact on the public is slower, which doesn’t mean it won’t be happening any time now.

For the general public, who’s still a bit sceptic, 5G means ‘more speed’. But it’s actually much more than that.

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Neither Time Nor Space


5G brings with it the elimination of time and space, the deletion of distances.In a world that’s completely virtualised, it’s possible to accelerate time or even replay it. And things like borders or kilometers won’t represent what they represent today. You can take a violin class with a teacher in China while being in your house in Barcelona, in real time and with the teacher right in front of you. “The Metaverse is out there. Gaming and reality are mixed together in the world of 5G and we need to know where it’s heading”, Ruiz explains.

The biggest impact of this technology will happen when the whole world connects and its use spreads to the general population. A new crypto scenario in which the virtual world moves forward riding the blockchain train. The first crypto-native generation has been born.

An Unpredictable Horizon

But the future is not completely predictable. We can take a look ahead, keep an eye on the horizon and make assumptions about what 5G will bring about, but we can’t fully —or sometimes even partly— predict what will happen. It’s one of the lessons that the world Covid pandemic taught us: “Evolution doesn’t always go as we expect it to go”, says Federico Ruiz.

What’s clear is that changes are progressive but, sometimes, they can be abrupt. The world’s greatest economies know this and fight to secure a foothold in the 5G arena. Mobility, energy, industry, healthcare… 5G implementation areas are numerous, and companies and entrepreneurs are watching out for opportunities, imagining the future. At this very moment, we’re cooking the YouTube of tomorrow, the Instagram of the next decade… In short, the new tools that will transform our lives.

Regulations: The Challenge of the New World.

This type of connectivity —one we’ve never seen before— will bring along massive transformations that will affect our habits and the rules we follow in life. The Director of the National 5G Observatory thinks that “the challenge as a society is tremendous: live, regulate and control the dosage of real and virtual worlds in which we will move”. A challenge and an opportunity —as it’s always the case with disruptive scenarios across our history— that reaches the basis of society and the citizens’ relationship with governments and their environment. The virtual world will also have to have its rules. We’re witnessing, even though we may not all be aware of it, a change in paradigm. No, it’s not just ‘a little more speed’.

5G presents us with a challenge and an opportunity like we’ve never seen before. It will change our perception of time and space, forcing us to think of a virtual and real world mixed together.

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