In 2017, we will keep a keen eye on the rapidly expanding use of LTE and the new ways with which it will be utilized by multiple business sectors. With the sunsetting of 2G and 3G networks in progress, we will see new ways 4G networks are deployed, with greater adoption by smaller businesses. Just two or three years ago, moving rich data wasn’t a realistic consideration for most businesses. Today, IoT is being driven through completely new business models that are liberated as the cost of connectivity continues to drop to a more reasonable price point.
We are now seeing 4G connectivity and its transference of expanded amounts of data as a vehicle to simply remain competitive—never mind 4G’s status as a differentiator. 4G can be used in conjunction with a wide array of IoT-based needs, such as resource management, behavioral programs, security, streaming, real-time medical response and other related services. Across the board, expect greater adoption of 4G’s powers in previously untapped market sectors. Expect smaller players to make bigger splashes with 4G in 2017.
One of the areas that will likely remain a mystery in 2017 is the role of 5G, but the bubble of uncertainty may burst in the coming year. To some degree, that mystery is around defining what 5G will be and how it will be used. The fact is, we’re just now wrapping our heads around the potential of 4G, despite the billions of dollars that have already been spent in development and implementation.
Despite the many question marks, 5G will be a hot topic of discussion, so expect to see a lot of theories submitted at industry trade shows, such as Mobile World Congress next month. It will be interesting to see how the market thought leaders will opine on the topic.