The roll out of 5G is upon us and its arrival will play a fundamental part in enabling rapid downloads, high quality applications and a wide variety of higher quality video across multiple devices. This is outlined within the June 2019 Ericsson Mobility Report, video traffic in mobile networks is forecast to grow by around 34 percent annually up to 2024 to account for nearly three quarters of mobile data traffic. In 2024, 5G networks will carry 35 percent of mobile data traffic globally.
5G Evolution: Enabling a TV Everywhere society
With increased video consumption and the growth of emerging media formats and applications, 5G is rapidly becoming a necessity to meet the enormous consumer demand for media content today. 5G is also likely to spark renewed interest in Multimedia Broadcast/Multicast Service (MBMS), which could help to bring much needed efficiency into content distribution.
The idea of MBMS is to utilize network resources used to send the same multimedia content to everyone (broadcast) or to a group of subscribers (multicast) rather than the current workflows of sending content to individual subscribers (unicast). 5G-enabled MBMS, along with the increased bandwidth, would also make transmission of higher 4K/HDR quality live streaming a commercial reality and aid delivery of emerging entertainment platforms such as 360-degree video and untethered VR.
Consumers themselves predict massive changes in future usage of 5G. According to the recent Ericsson ConsumerLab Report ‘5G Consumer Potential’, video consumption is set to peak, with consumers increasingly recognising the value in 5G services. They expect most use cases to go mainstream within 2-3 years of the launch of 5G. In regional terms:
- Consumers in the US would prefer to cut the cord from cable TV and instead use streaming
services via 5G
- Chinese consumers expect to live in a 5G connected smart home
Korean consumers would love to go shopping in mobile VR
5G: Going beyond the consumer
It is important to note that the 5G evolution should not be considered as just a consumer boom. Within content production, widespread availability of a broadcast-ready mobile network offers vast potential in remote production. From player-cams, to highly agile electronic news gathering (ENG) teams and even broadcast quality feeds from drones; the low latency and high bandwidth opportunity offered by 5G could be exploited in exciting ways that could transform the production and viewer experience.
As with every technology shift, there arehurdles to overcome. In the case of 5G, the cost and delay in deploying newer and often denser mobile network infrastructure is a major one. Developing compelling business models to monetise 5G is also another challenge in this early go-to-market phase.
In the content, distribution and aggregation ecosystem, 5G may require different workflows and technology integration to take advantage of its benefits. Web-scale architecture and the cloud will also be a critical component in the next generation of 5G native applications, especially in the area of real-time content creation and distribution within an increasingly globalized consumer landscape.
The 5G Saga: What will it mean for content, distribution and aggregation?
Ultimately, bandwidth drives content and content drives bandwidth. The roll out of 5G will enable us to connect content and bring wireless technology to an affordable level, providing a greater freedom and ability to experiment with new immersive media experiences, through leveraging broadcast/multicast. The 5G-enabled consumption engine is set to transform everything from video programming delivery – ranging from OTT, live TV and streaming – through to greater mobile access, providing more opportunities to leverage both uplink and downlink, open up new mobile-first societies across multiple markets.
Join me in Singapore next week for ConnecTechAsia, where I will be discussing what the 5G saga will mean for content, distribution and aggregation (Wednesday June 19, 16:40, Suntec Singapore), alongside moderator Mark Hukill, Program Advisor, Pacific Telecommunications Council, and my fellow panellists:
- Ming Chow, Vice President of Business Development, Converged Video Solution, Huawei
Joseph, Lead Technologist (CTO Office), VMWare
- Nilesh Zaveri, COO/CFO APAC, Vice Media
- Kenny Bae, Senior Producer, Korea Broadcasting System
At a time when 5G is enabling a wide variety of remote productions and coverage of more live events in higher 4K/HDR quality, we will explore how it will revolutionize the way consumers receive content, and how we can combine broadcast, OTT and data to create seamless user experiences – regardless of consumer device. I hope you will be able to join us!