You’re hearing the buzz everywhere: 5G is faster (no latency!), more network everywhere, even more energy efficient. It’s a boon for innovation, for instant communication, and IoT. Which means more devices, more sensors, and more jobs to create and manage these new devices and infrastructures. A good thing for everyone.
There’s just one thing. With the explosion of new 5G-enabled small devices is the immediate and ongoing need for power … for potentially hundreds of thousands of devices within a single business.
Batteries are the answer, you say?
5G might be more energy efficient than its precursor, 4G, but it doesn’t eliminate the inevitable terminal lifespan of a battery or the negative environmental footprint of a disposable energy source. 5G also doesn’t eliminate the manual labor required to track current batteries lifecycles, purchase new batteries, change old batteries, or manage the appropriate recycling process for each type of battery.
Now imagine 5G creates opportunities for thousands and thousands more batteries; it’ll be physically impossible to manage them all efficiently or economically.
Thankfully, wireless power will solve this and many other challenges. Let’s take a look at a couple hypothetical case studies to see how this will play out in the real world.
Wireless Power Enables 5G for Smart Cities
Future smart cities get their smarts from data sources. With data coming in from all parts of a large or sophisticated city, like London, Paris, Stockholm, Tokyo, Amsterdam, and Boston, buildings, sidewalks, bridges, roads, tunnels, and utilities will be (and some already are) monitored by IoT sensors and controlled by IoT actuators placed at every varying or shifting aspect. Traffic, moisture, temperature or otherwise are tracked and associated to other activities.
This data provides insights so that cities can create strategies to save fuel, eliminate congestion, detect potential contagious outbreaks, increase efficiencies, and lower costs.
Smart cities are being built by every advanced nation across the globe, often with the goal of creating a “communication infrastructure [that] fuels] sustainable economic development and a high quality of life, with a wise management of natural resources.”
This data traffic will need to be harnessed by a strong, stable infrastructure: enter 5G communication advancement. 5G networks are designed for the next generation of Machine to Machine (M2M) communication far more than the previous 4G/LTE and its predecessors, which focused on the smart phone and human-to-human communication.
With data flowing between sensors and servers in the cloud, we will need to power these sensors and actuators everywhere. “Around 29 billion connected devices1 are forecast by 2022, of which around 18 billion will be related to IoT.” Due to the rapid increase, wiring these devices up would not be feasible and sometimes impossible.
Batteries also cannot support this scenario in any way or form, because they will need charging or replacement regularly. “Long lasting” batteries are actually devices that sip power and do very little to extend the battery life; in other words, they offer less data and actuations.
Enter Real Wireless Power that works efficiently and safely at a distance. With wireless power, sensors and actuators can be powered and enhanced with increased response time or functionality. Smart cities will only succeed and grow if they leverage wireless power to enable the data streams.
Other 5G Wireless Power Use Cases for Commercial Applications
Enabling smart cities is just a drop in the bucket for what 5G could do with wireless power support. In addition to IoT, CNET reports that “the combination of speed, responsiveness and reach [of 5G] could unlock the full capabilities of other hot trends in technology, offering a boost to self-driving cars, drones, [and] virtual reality.”
These devices, too, would benefit from wireless power, especially as their sensor networks and power needs increase along with 5G features.
Data and Software Management
What’s more, other infrastructure players, such as SAP, Oracle, NetSuite, and PeopleSoft, will be looking to bring 5G to life through data and software management. Sensor networks will connect to their networks to get more, better, and faster data while layering on software management for storage, analytics, and actionable outputs, to name a few.
These sensors also need automatic, continuous, efficient wireless power.
Wireless Power Is the Common Denominator of Future Innovation
Can you implement 5G without real wireless power over distance -- that is, power without wires, without plugs, chargers, or cables, without charging pads or the need for line of sight? Sure. Can you do it efficiently and cost-effectively over time as IoT and other technology trends rush to create smarter vehicles, smarter cities, and smarter homes -- all with devices that rely on low levels of continuous and dependable power?
That’s the big question to consider as you invest in 5G and other technological advances in the months to come. If you also consider wireless power as part of the equation, you will be leaps and bounds ahead.
Interested in reading more about Hatem's thoughts on 5G? You're in luck!! See his recent article "What The Future of IoT and 5G May Look Like" posted in Forbes here.