Partnerships Newsletter

Connecting international start-ups with world-class enterprises to grow your innovations and achieve success in the Asian market

June Newsletter

5G: Welcome to the future

Once thought of as something out of a science fiction story, 5G is now offering the possibility of huge advancements in gaming, entertainment, communication and even spanning to areas including medicine. Why is 5G delivering this change and what are some of the practical advancements we can expect to see, as data download, latency and overall speed are improved? Discover how 5G has the potential to usher in a revolution in technology and alter daily life for the better.

An upswing in technology is going to transform every aspect of life as we know it. 5G is arriving, enhancing connectivity and functionality by improving data transfer rate and essentially powering what is being called “The internet of everything”.

It’s a prospect that is exciting investors tremendously. Deloitte’s “5G: Reshaping the Industries Report” says that global investment in the 5G industrial chain is expected to reach USD3.5 trillion by 2020-2035.  With 5G technology being expected to generate a total of USD12 trillion of sales, cities are gearing up to develop their smart applications, making data the focus point in sectors as diverse as energy, to medical and entertainment.

5G development has been especially fast in Asia, with the service launch having already been implemented in Hong Kong in April 2020. According to Peter Koo, APAC Leader, IT & Specialised Assurance, Deloitte, 5G is still in its infancy and has no ceiling for growth potential. In his recent keynote speech "Impact of 5G to Hong Kong Business”, Deloitte and ZTE data showed that in 2019, there were still only 19 million 5G handheld devices. It was estimated that this figure could reach 1 billion handheld devices globally by 2030, before being revised down to 770 million because of COVID-19.

Koo says the growth potential of 5G handsets is enormous, with the Deloitte 5G report suggesting up to a 45% increase in devices per annum, although there are also potential pitfalls. These include expense, security and privacy concerns regarding being on the cloud, implementation challenges, a lack of training among users, and executives fearing that new technology will reduce headcount and diminish their power. However, the Deloitte executive points out that once there is a killer app for 5G, it will take off in a big way. This trend, according to Koo will only be accelerated further, as COVID-19 has increased the need for digitisation and offsite collaboration, bolstered by high bandwidth and low network latency.

Speed at the heart of it all

Indeed, at the heart of transformation is speed - what everyone craves. 5G will be able to power the so-called Internet of Everything (IoE) with faster speeds of transmission, much lower latency, less burden on connection, and this can take place across any aspect of life that touches upon digital – and nowadays, that means all industries; from transportation, to manufacturing, education to health, entertainment and media. Expect evolution, disruption, value, and a reformation of all areas of commerce.

The boom for business is obvious. Analysts see that global implications are massive, and they are predicting huge economic growth as a pool of applications are developed to support deployment of 5G in every facet of life. By implementing mobile broadband, the advantages of mobile internet will be greatly boosted in terms of speed and connectivity. A plethora of associated technology will be created, including vertical industry products such as augmented reality, virtual reality, drones, and the possibility that major events such as the Winter Olympics in 2022 can be held with major digital and intelligent interactivity at the heart of the official programme. 

A powerful suite of real-world applications

While most have heard of the likes of AR, VR and drones that have been on the consumer market for many years, they know little about such things as artificial intelligence, edge computing, visual technology and sensing technology, and these really do have the ability to reshape our world.

One of the highly anticipated aspects of 5G is how the mobile experience will be enhanced. Baldwin Lam, Director, Head of Engineering for Samsung Electronics, says the benefits of 5G are potentially incredible. “Speed is number one, with machine and device connection, as well as latency improving in a major way,” says Lam.

Samsung is one of many major global companies building an ecosystem for 5G. On the hardware side, Samsung is integrating AI to optimise battery consumption and creating slim devices that can overcome the impact of metal on 5G signals. This is in addition to creating more use cases for 5G to be adopted by the public, and building a sense of value against 4G experiences. Working with telecoms operators, regulators, government, and content providers, Samsung is part of a vanguard building the 5G generation.

The benefits will be felt particularly by the communication, gaming and entertainment industries, which according to Lam, Samsung is focusing on. “Aside from communication, entertainment is a key selling point of 5G. In theory, it is 20 times faster than 4G, but it is in its infancy, and at the moment it is two to three times faster which is already incredible, so it is easy to download movies or live broadcast in 8K and share it to social media. Cloud gaming will also see a major boost, as without high latency you would die quickly in a game. You might be a great player, but if you can’t move in time due to a lag, you will end up dying in the game. The refresh rate will be much higher and the experience will be simply much better,” says Lam.

Hong Kong: 5G is in implementation

When it comes to assessing how ready our city is for 5G implementation, Hong Kong is as ever up for the challenge, with a technology and telecoms infrastructure that easily rivals anywhere in the world. In the lead up to the implementation of 5G happening this year, trials have been carried out with the likes of autonomous vehicles and corporations who will be using new applications developed by mobile developers; offering a greater degree of spectrum to increase upload and download speeds - the 5G peak download speed is 20 gigabits per second. In layman terms, downloading a two-hour HD film would take about three minutes on the current 4G network, while this would only take 10 seconds using 5G. The technology is in place and consumer demand is there - let’s look at some case studies of 5G and how it will change our daily lives on a practical level.

Taking risk away of dangerous activities : The drive to create 5G stems from seeing the potential for improving life as we know it. In Hong Kong for example, industrial enterprises offer employment to thousands, however they are often fraught with danger. On-site accidents are common place – but what if you could eliminate all the peril by using drones to carry out remote control repairs on high-rise buildings, operate heavy machinery via 5G-controlled robotics, or clear up industrial accidents without the need for people onsite?

5G implementation at the starting gates: We’re all aware of the frustrations with livestreaming. The latency is often terrible, either from the creator or viewer, the video and audio become degraded and then people eventually give up and switch off. 5G will take the frustration and pain away, allowing for a beautiful high-resolution experience that can take wired operations out of the equation, but still provide the quality we all expect and crave.

Remote working made easy, taken farther with 5G: 5G will see the blurring of hardware and software. The power of software will greatly boost the computational power of devices, without improving the hardware. The capabilities of devices will thus be enhanced and furthermore, make best use of the skills and talent of the creator.

Looking beyond 5G

We have seen the possibilities of 5G but also some of the barriers to implementation. What is clear to many experts is these obstacles will be overcome by the power of human ingenuity, and we will be able to advance communication speeds to go further than 5G. At that point what will we be able to achieve? Which problems that are facing society will we be able to solve? Speed offers solutions – not only to entertainment and communication, but to making life better. As our networks become smarter, faster and more interconnected, and as devices can share more data, the possibilities become endless. Buckle up and get ready for the ride.


5G webinar

It’s time to learn more about the opportunities you can take advantage of. Why not join us? In Hong Kong, HKSTP, as a hub for technology is at the centre of the 5G revolution. As part of a Sensor Hub Workshop Series, we are presenting a webinar on the Sensor & 5G Technology Revolution that covers network coding, sensor applications, chipsets and AI.  

The three day webinar is happening right now! Join in the action by going to here to learn how 5G technologies are transforming the AIoT landscape, and the role sensors will play. Jointly hosted by HKSTP, Institute of Network Coding, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Arrow Electronics, experts will offer discussions on how to create new sensor and AIoT applications with 5G.

If you are interested to join the webinar on 11 June (Thursday) on 5G Chipsets & AI, please register here:


Global Acceleration Academy (GAA)

Global Acceleration Academy (GAA) by Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP), connects international start-ups with world-class enterprises to help start-ups grow innovations and achieve success in the market. Start-ups are granted access to the city’s unique ecosystem as a financial and technology hub as well as opportunities that arise from being at the heart of the Greater Bay Area of China, with access to Southeast Asia and beyond.

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