A recent paper published by Accenture looks into the next-generation mobile network technology – 5G. As it talks about the technology it also points out the deep uncertainty that surrounds it. Many technology and business executives are unsure how 5G will impact their sector. In fact, more than half the executives spoken to don’t expect the technology to have any major impact. So, as a student in 2021 about to graduate – should you be bothered with 5G and will it have any impact on your life apart from making streaming movies faster? To answer this it is important to truly understand the impact 5G will have on the world and then the opportunities and disruption it will bring along with it.
Understanding the Impact of 5G
I will start off by saying 5G is poised to be a very big deal, bigger than when mobile phones penetrated the market or for that matter it is bound to have a bigger impact on the world around us than any other technology yet. Its speed, capacity, dramatically reduced power consumption and communication response time (latency) will open up a world of possibilities. 5G networks rely on much smaller but more densely deployed antennas – attached not to towers but just the side of buildings and light poles. Tests show that 5G can be nearly 100x faster than any technology currently in use.
Why is no one then taking this seriously just yet? Blame it on the marketers – who have already marketed 5G enabled mobile phones that are no different from 4G enabled ones – it’s the same as buying a 4K TV and watching non-HD content. It’s not going to excite you. Over the last decade farms have upgraded and are using technology to improve their output in one way or the other. But with 5G localized sensors and connected networks, it will be a reality. This can make the sector substantially more efficient from connected sensors in the ground, drones patrolling crops and integrated weather tracking.
There is no shortage of predictions about the potential of the technology but a full 5G deployment might be 5 years away but early signs are out there.
The 5G Disruption
Every sector will need a cloud native architect, a data scientist, a cyber security expert, a hardware expert for 5G enabled devices. This is inevitable. From Agriculture to Construction to Mining – the talent pool required is going to transform the job market. Imagine being recruited as a cybersecurity expert at a shrimp farm 400km from a metropolitan city. That’s the future.
How do you prepare?
Constant upskilling is the only way forward. You cannot take up a course on 5G technology today – because it doesn’t exist. But, if you want to continue being relevant and earn big you need to constantly upskill. Getting hands-on experience while you finish your degree also plays a crucial role in staying relevant. Part-time work, project based roles and internships can help you gain experience in these fields.
Using Data Science for better decision making
The coming together of an increasingly complicated world, the vast proliferation of data and the pressing need to stay at the forefront of competition are prompting organizations to focus on using data science for driving strategic business decisions. Hence, I feel that the need for data scientists is only set to grow in the future. When the domain expertise of data scientists and business knowledge is used to enrich the data collected through machines, very specific performance enhancing actions can be taken.
Data Analytics for Small & Medium sized Enterprises
A report that came out last year, based on a survey of small & medium sized enterprises (SMEs) by the Singapore Institute of Technology and the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants, stated that about 70% of the 575 SMEs surveyed had not yet adopted data analytics.
Many haven’t because collecting relevant data at multiple touch points is an expensive affair. Hence Small and Medium enterprises rely on generic research to take business decisions. This will change with 5G.
How can SMEs use data analytics?
With machine learning, SMEs can track customers through the different stages of the sales cycle. Then with data analytics, they will be able to determine a particular segment of customers that are ready to buy and more importantly what and when. Thanks to Big data, SMEs can get a fuller picture of their customers-what makes them tick? Why do they buy? How do they prefer to shop? What they will buy next? Etc.
The big boys like Amazon leverage big data to send us buyer recommendations. This often surprises us when we think about how they know what we want. Data analysis helps them figure out what types of products we will want to buy in the future and then they suggest those items, the next time we visit their portal. Similarly, small businesses can use data to make predictions about what their customers will want to buy.
How Big Data can help Agriculture?
Here, again I will talk about the agricultural sector. The scope of Big data in Agriculture is large and we have just begun to explore the tip of the iceberg.
Feeding a growing population is one of the key challenges that every government is facing. The way out is to achieve an increase in yield from existing farmlands. Big data provides farmers with data on rainfall patterns, water cycles, fertilizer requirements, etc. This enables farmers to make smart decisions like what crops to plant for better profitability and when to harvest them. The right decisions ultimately improve farm yield.
According to a McKinsey report, a third of food produced for human consumption is wasted every year. A devastating fact when one considers that governments are struggling to bridge the gap between supply and demand. In this regard, Big data can help achieve supply chain efficiencies by tracking and optimizing delivery truck routes.
What does this mean for you?
As you graduate you will be part of a talent pool that will be working in an incredibly dynamic environment. With rapid changes in technology, the need for employees that can learn and unlearn quick will only grow. Gaining experience in these fields early on will help you develop strong fundamentals and also give you a sneak peak into the sector. The experience an internship can give you today will help you succeed in the years to come.
ECA Internships have many internship positions available for aspiring students in the above fields. Click here to see the latest available internships in the field of Cyber Security, Software Development, Data Analytics and Science.