On 1st October 2022, a day before the 153rd birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the much awaited 5G technology in India.
As usual with the launch of a big ticket policy or a programme, appreciations poured in from all quarters to hail this initiative as the beginning of the new era, which is supposed to propel India as a leader in technology in coming decades.
5G- The Wholesome, Next generation Digital Ecosystem
The fifth generation data technology is much more than a mere upgradation of 4G & higher data speeds. It is supposed trigger a multifaceted revolution.
From ‘Digital India’ for better citizen centric services to Metaverse, which is a blend of artificial intelligence & virtual reality, the 5G has the potential to transform the landscape of the economy which is being built on next generation technologies.
To put it simple, the technology can act as a network of veins & arteries not just connecting multitude of domains but also empowering them with critical sap of life, that is the better quality of data with dazzling speed. Solving the issue of call drops, for example, can make huge difference, which can save lives when the time matters the most than anything else.
Connecting… With Start-ups.
The technology is expected to provide a launching ground for a variety of new products and services by start-ups and at the same time enabling many of them to earn the tag of unicorns with valuations of over a billion dollars.
As Sundar Pichai the CEO of google remarked recently, “the potential products & services to be unveiled is hitherto unknown owing to the nascent stage of this technology”. Specially the 5G has proven applications in domains such as Industry 4., automation, blockchain, robotics and AR/VR.
The critical policy support from the government is being supplemented with standalone initiatives, such as “5G Test Bed” launched on 8th of August 2022, to onboard start-ups & help them experimenting & demonstrating applications of 5G products, free of cost.
Is 5G also a Double-Edged Sword?
Like any other emerging technologies, 5G can also be a boon or bane & that depends on how we exploit this know how. Acceleration of automation, for example, with the help of 5G, can kill millions of jobs, specially in manufacturing sector.
But the theory of “constructive destruction” justifies 5G or any other New Age technology for that matter, on the ground that the technology creates new jobs hitherto unknown, that could offset loss of jobs in the labor market.
The perennial issue of cyber security is another area of concern. Some experts in Telecom industry believe that these issues need to be sorted out before rolling it out for common public.
Recently SP Kochhar, director-general of Cellular Operator Association of India (COAI), said that cybersecurity in 5G will be a challenge as it is not “organically in-built” as the network is flexible and adaptable & the current process of getting security is [through] overlays.
To conclude, the 5G has tremendous potential to transform different sectors of the economy, including agriculture and the responsibility of making best use of it lies not only with the government but also a gamut of stakeholders, including policy makers, industry leaders and even a common coding engineer.
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