I picked this news item up from The Economist Espresso app.
For years, technologists have gushed about the promise of the “Internet of Things”, enabling ordinary objects—from kettles to cargo ships—to communicate autonomously with each other. The two essential technologies speeding the IOT’s arrival, inexpensive sensors and super-fast networking kit, are advancing rapidly. Gartner, a research group, predicts that the global number of devices embedded with sensors will leap from 8.4bn in 2017 to 20.4bn in 2020. So is 5G, a telecoms-networking technology superior to today’s 4G mobile networks. But the world’s 5G system could split into two different and potentially incompatible entities. One has been developed by Huawei, a Chinese telecoms-equipment giant, at a cost of $46bn. But some are worried about the company’s links to the Chinese Communist Party. Several countries, led by America, have banned the use of Huawei’s gear in their systems for security reasons. The year 2020 could herald the arrival of the Splinternet of Things.
I daresay that most likely many countries in the world are concerned about the ability of the US government to monitor internet traffic through the technology of American companies. These swords always cut two ways when you take the larger view.
More relevant to this topic, though, could a potential splintering into two 5G systems globally impact IoT?
In the short term from what I can gather interviewing technologists, benefits from 5G will accrue from the ability for private, plant-wide broadband rather than from some global linking of sensors.
Perhaps we are a bit early for journalists’ raising fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Listening to people actually building out the technology, I think we are going to experience much benefit from 5G in the not-to-distant future.