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  • Writer's pictureSally A Illingworth

Why my mom won't burn down a 5G pole | Sally A Illingworth

Recently I was on the phone to my mother and she was explaining to me that she had decided to invest in a CCTV system for her property. Shortly before making the investment she had asked for my anecdotally based counsel on what a great low-scale CCTV solution might involve. When I asked her what product she had decided to proceed with, she started to describe some of the ‘features’ and ‘icons’ affiliated with the product. Some of our dialogue is captured below (verbatim):

Mom: “It’s got 5 of those little signal bars on it or something like that”.

Sally: “Do you mean it runs on 5G or it has 5 reception bars on the interface?”

Mom: “Yeah it says 4G and 5G on the box”.

Sally: “Can you monitor the CCTV cameras remotely via a smartphone application?”

Mom: “Yeah it will record footage even if we aren’t at home”.

Sally: “Okay, but can you look at the camera views on your mobile?”

Mom: “No I think that’ll chew through too much internet”.

As you can likely hear, there’s quite a difference in the technology vocabulary for my gorgeous mom and I. What highlights the rapid advancements of technology more than the difference in vocabulary between my mom and I is our separation by age - I am only 24 years younger than my mom. 

In May this year, I wrote an article about Siri’s capabilities on iOS and shared my perspective relative to the evolution of my experience with a smart phone device (you can read it here). In that article, I explained how technological advancements have changed the way we perceive, engage with and leverage the benefits of telecommunications solutions. 

The reason telecommunications are so important is because cellular network capabilities are the ultimate enabler of technological advancements being realised from an experience standpoint (with the end user being a consumer, like you and I). 5G is the 5th generation standard for cellular networks and infrastructure upgrades, hardware and software, commenced in different parts of the world during 2019 - considered by 3GPP as the commenced rollout of Rel-15. In terms of 5G progress, Rel-16 technical specifications for 5G have been agreed on and as such we are likely to see Rel-16 specifications rolled out at the end of 2021. The rollout of Rel-16 specifications for 5G will see the realisation of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) become more of a reality. The IIoT will pay particular dividends to the manufacturing, retail, utilities and transport industries.

The deployment of 5G globally will allow us to collaboratively experience the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0). Industry 4.0 is most simply characterised by the convergence of Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and Connected Networks. It is the realisation of Industry 4.0 that will enable Smart Cities and Smart Communities to become possible for us all. Smart Cities and Smart Communities will benefit immensely from the Consumer Internet of Things (CIoT) which includes the connectivity of home appliances - so for everyone who enjoys controlling their Netflix remotely to change the channel on your partner, it is 5G and subsequently Industry 4.0 that will allow you to do this!

So why did I share the conversation between my mom and I with you at the beginning of this article? Because that dialogue, among many other conversations, emphasises the rapid advancements we’ve seen (and will continue to see) with technology and it highlights what’s most important during this entire process of realising Industry 4.0 - people.

Before you get confused, consider this…

Technology, in many cases, is the extension of human intelligence. Technology solutions, in majority of cases, are developed to enable the human to strengthen their economic and social contributions. Even if it is a technology solution that you would consider leisurely in nature, your ability to contribute socially (at minimum) is strengthened because maybe your interactions become more efficient and/or seamless which in turn is likely to drive living productivity increases which in turn strengthens your economic contribution. So before I lose you because I get into a cycle of cognitive excitement, let’s revert to the purpose of me saying this.

People are incredibly important when it comes to technological advancements being adopted and leveraged successfully. So yes, us as HUMANS are important for technology. It's easy, particularly waking up to confused mainstream media and muddled social media newsfeeds, to feel as though technology is going to take over the world and we as humans may risk redundancy.

But let's get logical for a second...

Consider my mom, for example, if she doesn’t understand what 5G is and how it can benefit her then she is not really in a position to leverage it to achieve an improved quality of life and increase her social and economic contributions. So if she isn’t aware of how to use a thing, such as 5G, to achieve the noted benefits then what value is 5G to her? If she doesn’t adopt 5G and its capabilities then there’s no denying she can’t leverage the solution.

To keep an important conversation succinct, let’s jump straight to the logical follow on question with my mom as the case study. What can enable people to adopt and leverage technological advancements?

The answer is… awareness and education.

What does awareness mean? Awareness is achieved by having knowledge of where to access the most reliable information (not scrolling a Facebook news feed or aimlessly reading

What does education mean? Education is achieved by having knowledge of who and what to consider and consume with an appreciation for the weighting of importance (not aimlessly consuming the person who gets a million views on TikTok). 

Achieving a global, consistent level of awareness and education is a major challenge given the dynamic, complex-adaptive nature of information flows. The best place for us all to start is potentially with The Reboot Show.

For those who are interested in more detailed reading, I’d encourage you to consider the Wiley commissioned white paper that I Co-Authored with Dr David Soldani on 5G AI-Enabled Automation.


Sally A Illingworth


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