We used Quid to analyze coverage of 5G in news and blogs during the past year (March 2019-March 2020), as well as company intel and patent filings within the 5G ecosystem, to better understand the developments taking place. This report covers key trends and topics that any business will want to be aware of in the coming months as they plan their next technological moves!
We’ll start the with the effect COVID-19 has had on the technology, as it’s affecting everything and cannot be ignored.
Effect COVID-19 is Having on 5G
With a massive amount of people unemployed, the urgency toward making 5G more tangible has slowed. However, with more remote work and cost cutting happening in response to COVID-19, these 5G applications will become much more appealing, and could encourage rapid growth towards making 5G more accessible to all.
Supporting this thought Brian Partridge, research Vice President at S&P Global Market Intelligence’s 451 Research unit explains, “When we dust ourselves off after getting through COVID-19, you’ve got to believe the leaders [in factories and warehouses] are going to say, ‘What pain could I have avoided if I had more automation running through my factory?’ 5G is a part of that story.”
And some countries are trying to avoid that pain and integrate 5G now.
Funded by Chinese tech giant ZTE and partnering with China Telecom, $8 million were invested, and over 30 engineers were sent to equip ###a href=”https://www.apdnews.com/science-military/984782.html” target=”_blank”>Leishenshan Hospital with a 5G network. The hospital was built to accommodate patients testing positive with severe symptoms in Wuhan, the global ground zero for COVID-19.
But with every success comes the pressure to stay successful, and 5G is getting a workout. Some are worried over what 5G means for weather, as both NOAA and NASA raised alarms over the possibility of currently planned frequencies of 5G interfering with their ability to forecast weather. The FCC was apparently not concerned.
And COVID-19 is proving to be a testing ground for the technology beyond this – pushing its capabilities – from remote video conferencing, surgeries and diagnostic processes that are being used 24/7. For example, being able to harness the power of AI, 5G technology has also enabled hospitals to perform CT-scans on isolated patients to reduce cross infection. And it has aided China’s response.
But not everyone is on board . . .
State of the Industry
The safety of 5G is currently one of the most discussed topics uncovered in our competitive intelligence analysis. Looking at the market intelligence we can see how controversial the subject is -marked in purple.
Though there are clear medical benefits to harnessing the powers of 5G, many scientists are opposed to it, in fact that number is around 26,000. There is evidence to support both arguments, and even the CDC is skeptical.
Then there are those who are proposing a link between COVID-19 and 5G technology, citing the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic coinciding with the introduction of radio traffic. And because there seems to be a conflict of facts, more people are opposing the building of more 5G towers. South Africa had a petition on www.change.org with over 4,000 signatures expressing health concerns and references to health statistics surrounding the use of 5G technology.
Time will tell how 5G will impact the world, but it’s safe to say that health concerns in the wake of COVID-19 could be a deterrent for some consumers. And for some businesses. But that doesn’t make the competitive landscape analysis on this topic any less valuable. If anything, it’s the opposite.
Even with all of the medical concerns, “Global Expansion” beats out any talk of safety in our contextualized data analysis, and much of what we knew of it was before the pandemic hit. Brands using a competitive analysis platform, can uncover a more accurate understanding of how 5G is being discussed and by whom – and how this conversation has shifted in the past year. That insight is gold right now.
Looking at a timeline comparison, global expansion is consistently the hot topic, even if it is currently seeing a lull in the past month – but everything is on hold really, due to COVID-19.
The “first wave” category is around companies making moves to roll out this technology first. And our competitive landscape analysis shows there are many clamoring to do so.
South Korea is giving baseball fans new ways to watch the game with 5G technology. Kicking down the doors of traditional baseball and creating an interactive experience with a live game for its fans. From dragons flying overhead to a robotic arm throwing out the first pitch, fans are transported into another realm. By using an app, they can adjust where they watch the game from, as well as zoom in, or replay key plays during the game, taking consumers off the sidelines and putting them into the game.
But if that sounds like the ultimate in 5G, here comes Apple, planning to offer their own house brand 5G modem for the upcoming 2022 iPhone. And it looks like they will have competition, as Samsung and Nokia each are actively competing in this game of technology thrones.
Hopping on the trend with immediacy, we see travel destinations capturing smart PR for this shift from 4G, to 5G – like Switzerland’s Badrutt’s Palace Hotel.
Already innovators in the hotel industry, having been the first hotel to implement the electric light in 1879, they will now be “the first” again. Joining with Swisscom, they are already making the leap to 5G speeds, they decided that being prepared for the inevitable future of technology was smart business. By making the switch now, they are ensuring guests can enjoy the fruits of virtually delay-free communication sooner, not to mention some helpful media mentions.
Other top leaders in the 5G revolution are BMW, who is projected to have the very first all- electric 5G smart car. And Volvo, not to be outdone or left behind, is teaming with China Unicom for its own 5G incorporation.
5G is everywhere right now.
The World is 5G’s Oyster
The world is 5G’s oyster, or so it appears. From self-driving cars to upgrades in baseball game experiences, there seems to be no limit to the far-reaching power of 5G.
And if all this talk of advanced technology doesn’t sound like a science fiction movie yet – enter the robots. Straddling the lines between infrastructure and market forecasts is the rise of smart robots.
Lacking “The Jetsons” look, most of these robots can be seen in healthcare (like diagnostics) or are being adopted by businesses like Apple, IBM and Google to name a few. The only thing they lack are enough experts in the field to move it all forward as quickly as desired. But, there is no doubt that smart robots will be front and center in the 5G conversation as it progresses.
Perhaps the most heartwarming thing about 5G is the prospective good it can offer to schools and students around the world. Looking at technology, we can see that Verizon is bringing 5G to under-resourced students. In an education technology competition, Verizon awarded 10 organizations with $1 million and access to Verizon’s 5G Labs and support from Verizon engineers and mentors to enhance their solutions, bringing schools into the future and giving students a winning edge.
5G is also finding many applications in Manufacturing and Industrial Automation, creating safer work environments and improved productivity for factories due to more dialed in technology.
Beyond the categories listed on the timeline, there are many embedded within. And overall, there doesn’t seem to be a category out there that isn’t buzzing with talk of the technology future – and the competitive landscape around it. These discussions will undoubtedly be significantly impacted by the integration of 5G – in every category one can imagine, much like they will be impacted by the future of wearables. What remains to be seen is where it will gain traction first.
Global Expansion, but Distinct Focus Points
In Quid, to further frame out our competitive landscape analysis, we can also look at where the conversational clusters above are taking place in the world:
It’s important to note that although an area is listed as “primary mention” for a category, there are many others embedded within. We can click on “global expansion” and see other locations mentioned in the “global expansion” context along with India. We could also explore specifically related companies, sources, people and topics:
And, just like we all have different taste in food, so we do in technology. Here are a few examples of which elements of global expansion each country is more invested in:
With smart technology in their sight ###a href=”https://i.quid.com/news/article/MSxtby1sbi0zOTMzMDkzNjgwNCw5MTc0.html” target=”_blank”>Hungary is focused on big ticket price gadgets such as self-driving vehicles. With 5G help, this country is hoping to speed up innovation by offering test tracks, an exclusive testing opportunity for car manufacturers in Europe that are relying on 5G network infrastructure.
Malaysia is crossing its fingers for cost efficiency where it comes to smart agriculture, more specifically in making and distribution of pesticides. And it, along with Nigeria are each hoping to utilize this new technology for educational purposes.
China’s focus is on mass communication with its current audiovisual application for diagnostics. Chairman of CMG and journalist Shen Haixiong said, “This will be an unprecedented fact in human history. To this end, the Chinese Media Group will record the moments that occur at this time, in order to convey more stories that are happening in China and the world, providing more positive energy to promote the building of the community of common destiny for humanity.”
And there are many companies worldwide, betting on precisely that, with China’s own Huawei leading the pack.
Equally conversation-starting as the technology itself, so seems to be the company spearheading the technology – Huawei Technology. As an early adopter, it has a definite edge in the market. Everyone wanted to be the first to land on the moon, and 5G technology might be the closest in competitive nature since. And now, everyone wants what Huawei has. They are certainly a company to watch.
The obvious companies vying for leadership are phone and technology companies including, ZTE and Nokia. We can see them battling it out as they both are making waves in the industry as they champion 5G technology to the front lines.
And we see China Unicom and China Telecom working cooperatively on a co-build co-share deal. Their main aim with building a 5G Network is reducing costs. China Telecom plans to invest CNY 9 billion ($1.26 billion) building 40,000 5G base stations by the end of the year, in line with China Unicom’s plans. China Mobile is also joining them on this venture and has committed to deploy 50,000 bases stations and invest CNY 24 billion. By sharing network infrastructure agreements, it could reduce China’s overall spending, potentially pulling the rug out from under telecoms giants.
And then Ericsson Technologies figures prominently, of course. The first to launch live 5G networks across four continents, their core solutions are supporting 2.5 billion subscribers from 2G to 5G, representing one-third of the global population.
A force to be reckoned with and focused on global expansion and smart technology, this company is also at the heart of the self-driving test sites in Hungary. A multi-tiered company they offer 5G for individuals, businesses and as a platform it has more than 29 5G networks spanning 16 countries.
But Ericsson isn’t the only company to focus on smart technology. Aerospace engineering company Blue Bear is using the first 5G-enabled air corridor for drone testing in order to connect rural communities and unlock their potential. Focusing on agricultural technology, much like they are in Malaysia, this company is flying drones in agricultural regions to monitor the health of livestock and to survey crops.
They want to investigate how 5G can help compile and transfer large volumes of information to anywhere in the world. The goal is to take a weight off of farmer’s shoulders by having the ability to “remotely task the drones to carry out routine tasks and analyze results from the breakfast table,” according to David Walters, Blue Bear’s operations manager.
The last, but certainly never least technology giant we’ll speak to here is Google. A leader in cloud technology’ teamed up with Telecom Italia (TIM) to help accelerate the adoption of 5G digital transformation technology at Italian businesses of all sizes. And you can be sure Google is on top of this technology spanning most of the categories out there.
And speaking of categories – the range of areas these businesses are investing in is stunning. And having quick access to all of it, is a competitive market intelligence dream.
Company Investment Categories
With each “node” (bubbles you see within the clusters) can be explored to a granular level, revealing further insight that takes us deep into the heart of everything you would ever want to know about 5G and where the industry is headed. It’s a lot like exploring the industry conversation in our News/Blogs section above, but with a financial focus.
Exploring these subcategories, we can see Smart Cities, Sports, Supply Chain, Satellites, Blockchain and others. By setting different filters, we can separate those categories into smaller digestible pieces. And can slice and dice the insight in any number of ways.
For instance, in this “Company” view, we can set an investment filter to see which companies have invested in a given category since March 2019 – and so much more. We can also see which companies invested in which categories; how much they invested overall as well as a lot of interesting intelligence with respect to the companies themselves:
And with new technology, comes new patents. And in a rush to be the first in this industry, we can see how plentiful they are!
5G Patents Filed in the Past Three Years
Quid’s competitive landscape analysis query of more than 320 patents reveals that much of the innovation taking place in the 5G sector involves an even sharing of AI Mobility (16%), Antenna (16%) and Cloud Analysis (16%), followed by radio communications (15%).
To give a sense of the extensive patent intelligence available, when exploring AI Mobility, we can see that there have been 53 patents filed since June 7, 2017 – and a bevy of intelligence on the category beyond that:
Highlights, purely from looking at nodes in our search reveal patents for:
· Environmentally friendly educational buildings in South Korea, to provide access to students, teachers, parents, and learners, around technology including IoT, robotics, 5G communication and life science technology.
· A permanent magnetic suspension rail traffic control system in China
· Exciting progress toward self-driving cars, with a 5G enabled vehicle road communication testing system, also in China.
· Smart traffic management system based on 5G location and video analysis technology to detect car positioning.
· Antennae that will vastly improve speed and quality of vehicle communication.
· New stitching on a high frequency circuit board antennae that improves high speed transmission performance
· Green applications, including a patent for a wind powered generator for an electric car, filed in China.
· Pest monitoring system for crops, with location and climate capabilities.
· Medical VR, for doctors wearing small high-definition cameras when performing diagnosis and surgery. These cameras can take real time video and photos to be transferred for learning.
· Radio patent for making emergency phone calls over 5G networks. Both the United States and India have filed.
· And a selfie hat complete with telescoping capabilities
It’s all super interesting, and there are lots of influential folks talking about 5G in general as a result. And no exploration of a topic would not be complete without a quick review of those Key Opinion Leaders making waves in the space.
Influential 5G Voices
Tweeter in Chief, President Donald Trump, is at the peak of this conversation and his interests seem directed toward Huawei. With 5G being the new train to get on, there is mounting pressure to integrate it sooner and faster. And of course following the U.S. President is none other than the president of Huawei technologies, Ren Zhengfei. The conversation between the two is one to watch as the technology, and its adoption, evolves.
And in the UK, ensuring the rural communities aren’t left behind in the digital age, Nicky Morgan, Digital Secretary recently launched a UK-wide competition under which groundbreaking 5G applications in rural areas will be tested. A total of ten rural sites will be chosen with the goal of helping to generate business growth, improve lives and foster innovation.
Another top influencer around the conversation for 5G is Pete Lau of One Plus. “We have been investing in 5G for years, and we plan to further develop application scenarios based on the daily usage habits of users.” One Plus will be doing this with cloud gaming, cloud videos and cloud storage services. With its finger on the research and development pulse in areas like radio frequency (RF) circuits, antennas and multi-media (camera, audio, and display), One Plus seems like the perfect company to capture 5G innovations for all things cloud related.
Who else is talking? Check it out above! There are many prominent voices and narratives to explore!
And all of this? It really just scratches the surface of the intelligence available in Quid. Seeing sentences that ended with a question mark around 5G a year ago, that are now being finished with a period. Reach out for a demo and we’ll show you how to get started with designing and mastering your own competitive intelligence data analysis deep dive!