Where 5G Will Change The World
View the high resolution version of this infographic.
We’re on the cusp of a 5G revolution.
Whereas 4G brought us the network speeds necessary for online apps and mobile-streaming, 5G represents a monumental leap forward. Beyond the improvements to our existing ecosystem of devices—more speed and better stability—researchers believe that 5G can serve as the underpinning for fully-connected industries and cities.
Change doesn’t happen overnight, and for us to experience 5G’s true potential, we’ll need to be patient. In light of this, today’s infographic from Raconteur visualizes the forecasted impact of 5G to help us identify the countries and industries that will most effectively leverage its power.
5G networks are expected to generate $13.2 trillion in global sales activity by 2035. To make this easier to digest, here are the five industries which stand to benefit the most.
|Rank||Industry||Sales ($B)||Share of Industry Sales (%)|
|#2||Information and Communication||$1,569||10.7%|
|#3||Wholesale and Retail Sales||$1,198||5.1%|
Let’s focus on manufacturing, an industry which is expected to see a massive $4.6 trillion in 5G-enabled sales.
Efficiency is the name of the game here, and researchers predict that this technology will allow for the world’s first “smart factories”. Such factories would leverage the faster speed and reliability of 5G networks to eliminate cabled connections, improve automated processes, and most importantly, gather more data.
Combined with machine learning algorithms, this data can help companies predict when expensive equipment is about to fail, reducing the likelihood of expensive downtime.
– AT&T Business Editorial
Robots won’t be the only ones to benefit, however. While today’s factories may be lined with machines, humans are still required to be onsite for troubleshooting when issues arise. Some processes may also be too intricate to be effectively automated, thus requiring a human’s touch.
With the lower latencies (shorter delay) boasted by 5G networks, virtual and augmented reality devices can become reliable enough for use in high precision work. This exciting development has the potential to greatly increase a human worker’s productivity, as well as allow them to work in closer harmony with robots.
In fact, such technologies are already being used on factory floors.
Leading The Way
Developing 5G networks and implementing them into the many industries of the global economy is a massive undertaking, and just seven countries are expected to account for 79% of all 5G-related investment.
By 2035, here’s how these countries are expected to rank.
|Country||Share of Value Chain R&D|
and Capital Expenditure
|5G-enabled Output ($B)||5G-enabled Employment
|🇺🇸 United States||26.7%||$786||2.8|
|🇬🇧 United Kingdom||3.8%||$114||0.5|
|🇰🇷 South Korea||2.9%||$128||0.7|
Incidentally, these seven nations are also some of the world’s most innovative economies.
Let’s take a closer look at the two biggest players in 5G development.
It’s not a surprise to see the U.S. on top in terms of 5G investment, though it seems the country is in a peculiar position. China is right on their heels in terms of investment, and is even forecasted to surpass them in 5G-enabled output and employment.
Chinese tech giant Huawei is likely a factor behind these numbers. The company—which America has no direct rival to—is currently the world’s largest manufacturer of telecommunications equipment.
Developments such as these have formed the general consensus that China is winning the “5G race”, but putting America down for a second place finish may be a mistake. With renowned tech hubs like Silicon Valley, the U.S. still leads the rest of the world in terms of patent activity and high-tech company density.
There will be a tendency to cast these developments as another sign that the United States is losing the race … [but] U.S. companies can dominate the applications and services that run over 5G.
– Adam Segal, Director, Council on Foreign Relations
Part of what makes 5G so special is its potential to be used across a wider variety of applications including autonomous vehicles and manufacturing. Perhaps it’s here where American tech firms can use their innovative capacity and software expertise to carve out an advantage.
Being the world’s largest manufacturer means China is well-positioned to leverage the power of 5G networks. With nearly 11 million 5G-enabled jobs and over $1.3 trillion in output by 2035, China’s estimates are magnitudes larger than the other countries on this list.
A reason why China is such a cost-efficient place to make things is its well-established network of suppliers, manufacturers, and distributors. All three of these sectors are likely to implement 5G networks for improved speed and efficiency.
China is no slouch when it comes to innovation, either. In terms of patent activity, it ranks second in the world. Shenzhen, once a small fishing village, has become China’s answer to Silicon Valley, and is home to domestic telecom giants like Huawei and ZTE Corporation.
Yet, China faces serious obstacles as it seeks to supply the rest of the world with 5G equipment. Huawei is the subject of U.S. sanctions over allegations of its dealings with Iran. Further skepticism arises from the company’s dubious ownership structure, reliance on state subsidies, and claims of espionage.
Huawei’s quest for dominance in the global telecommunications industry has involved tactics and practices that are antithetical to fair, healthy competition.
– Foreign Policy (magazine)
Regardless of the damage these controversies may cause, China shows no signs of slowing down. The country already holds bragging rights for the world’s largest 5G consumer network, and even claims to have begun research on 6G, an eventual successor to 5G.
The Waiting Game
It’s important to remember that the vast majority of 5G benefits are still years away.
Thus, this next generation of mobile networks can be thought of as an enabling technology—new innovations and complementary technologies will be needed to realize its full potential.
While today’s infographic paints an intuitive visualization of the 5G roadmap, only time will tell which industries and countries actually see the most benefits.
The World’s Most Used Apps, by Downstream Traffic
Of the millions of apps available around the world, just a small handful of the most used apps dominate global internet traffic.
The World’s Most Used Apps, by Downstream Traffic
Everything connected to the internet takes bandwidth to view. When you look at something on your smartphone—whether it’s a new message on Instagram or the next few seconds of a YouTube video—your device is downloading the data in the background.
And the bigger the files, the more bandwidth is utilized. In this chart, we break down of the most used apps by category, using Sandvine’s global mobile traffic report for 2021 Q1.
Video Drives Global Mobile Internet Traffic
The biggest files use the most data, and video files take the cake.
According to Android Central, streaming video ranges from about 0.7GB per hour of data for a 480p video to 1.5GB per hour for 1080. A 4K stream, the highest resolution currently offered by most providers, uses around 7.2GB per hour.
That’s miles bigger than audio files, where high quality 320kbps music streams use an average of just 0.12GB per hour. Social network messages are usually just a few KB, while the pictures found on them can range from a few hundred KB for a low resolution image to hundreds of MB for high resolution.
Understandably, breaking down mobile downstream traffic by app category shows that video is on top by a long shot:
|Category||Downstream Traffic Share (2021 Q1)|
|VPN and Security||0.9%|
Video streaming accounts for almost half of mobile downstream traffic worldwide at 49%. Audio streaming, including music and podcasts, accounts for just 0.2%.
Comparatively, social network and web browsing combined make up one third of downstream internet traffic. Games, marketplace apps, and file sharing, despite their large file sizes, only require one-time downloads that don’t put as big of a strain on traffic as video does.
A Handful of Companies Own the Most Used Apps
Though internet traffic data is broken down by category, it’s worth noting that many apps consume multiple types of bandwidth.
For example, messaging and social network apps, like WhatsApp, Instagram, and Snapchat, allow consumers to stream video, social network, and message.
Even marketplace apps like iTunes and Google Play consume bandwidth for video and audio streaming, and together account for 6.3% of total mobile downstream traffic.
But no single app had a bigger footprint than YouTube, which accounts for 20.4% of total global downstream bandwidth.
|Category||Top Apps (Category Traffic)||Category Traffic Share|
|Video Streaming||Facebook Video||14.6%|
The world’s tech giants had the leading app in the four biggest data streaming categories. Alphabet’s YouTube and Google made up almost half of all video streaming and web browsing traffic, while Facebook’s own app, combined with Instagram and WhatsApp, accounted for 93% of global social networking traffic and 45% of messaging traffic.
Traffic usage by app highlights the data monopoly of tech giants and internet providers. Since just a few companies account for a majority of global smartphone internet traffic, they have a lot more bartering power (and responsibility) when it comes to our general internet consumption.
Visualizing the Critical Metals in a Smartphone
Smartphones can contain ~80% of the stable elements on the periodic table. This graphic details the critical metals you carry in your pocket.
Visualizing the Critical Metals in a Smartphone
In an increasingly connected world, smartphones have become an inseparable part of our lives.
Over 60% of the world’s population owns a mobile phone and smartphone adoption continues to rise in developing countries around the world.
While each brand has its own mix of components, whether it’s a Samsung or an iPhone, most smartphones can carry roughly 80% of the stable elements on the periodic table.
But some of the vital metals to build these devices are considered at risk due to geological scarcity, geopolitical issues, and other factors.
|Smartphone Part||Critical Metal|
|Display||lanthanum; gadolinium; praseodymium; europium; terbium; dysprosium|
|Electronics||nickel, gallium, tantalum|
|Battery||lithium, nickel, cobalt|
|Microphone, speakers, vibration unit||nickel, praseodymium, neodymium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium|
What’s in Your Pocket?
This infographic based on data from the University of Birmingham details all the critical metals that you carry in your pocket with your smartphone.
1. Touch Screen
Screens are made up of multiple layers of glass and plastic, coated with a conductor material called indium which is highly conductive and transparent.
Indium responds when contacted by another electrical conductor, like our fingers.
When we touch the screen, an electric circuit is completed where the finger makes contact with the screen, changing the electrical charge at this location. The device registers this electrical charge as a “touch event”, then prompting a response.
Smartphones screens display images on a liquid crystal display (LCD). Just like in most TVs and computer monitors, a phone LCD uses an electrical current to adjust the color of each pixel.
Several rare earth elements are used to produce the colors on screen.
Smartphones employ multiple antenna systems, such as Bluetooth, GPS, and WiFi.
The distance between these antenna systems is usually small making it extremely difficult to achieve flawless performance. Capacitors made of the rare, hard, blue-gray metal tantalum are used for filtering and frequency tuning.
Nickel is also used in capacitors and in mobile phone electrical connections. Another silvery metal, gallium, is used in semiconductors.
4. Microphone, Speakers, Vibration Unit
Nickel is used in the microphone diaphragm (that vibrates in response to sound waves).
Alloys containing rare earths neodymium, praseodymium and gadolinium are used in the magnets contained in the speaker and microphone. Neodymium, terbium and dysprosium are also used in the vibration unit.
There are many materials used to make phone cases, such as plastic, aluminum, carbon fiber, and even gold. Commonly, the cases have nickel to reduce electromagnetic interference (EMI) and magnesium alloys for EMI shielding.
Unless you bought your smartphone a decade ago, your device most likely carries a lithium-ion battery, which is charged and discharged by lithium ions moving between the negative (anode) and positive (cathode) electrodes.
Smartphones will naturally evolve as consumers look for ever-more useful features. Foldable phones, 5G technology with higher download speeds, and extra cameras are just a few of the changes expected.
As technology continues to improve, so will the demand for the metals necessary for the next generation of smartphones.
This post was originally featured on Elements
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