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5G and its Impact on Procurement

Feb 24, 2017

5G mobile technology has the potential to enormously transform the digital world and the way that procurement as we know it operates—but whether or not it will live up to this potential remains to be seen.

Though it’s unlikely that 5G technology will be available until a few years from now—most sources say in the year 2020—it’s already making waves as a societal and technological game changer. 5G speed is predicted to be at least 100 times faster than 4G (some estimates say a thousand times faster), as well as significantly more powerful and efficient. The introduction of 5G would greatly expand businesses’ capabilities, activities, and sourcing and procurement strategies, and support their continuously growing needs. The power of 5G speed will make it easier to communicate with and work with suppliers, resulting in cost savings and improved overall efficiency.

5G would also make downloading large amounts of media, software, and documents easier and able to be done in a much shorter amount of time—in a matter of milliseconds, even. Reduced latency will make wireless connections suitable and more efficient for streaming and downloading media, playing online games, improving medical IT services, and connecting other non-entertainment forms of technology. However, this technology could come with a hefty price. As it is still under development, it’s currently hard to say what additional costs 5G technology could incur or how much it will cost businesses in general, though costs related to mobile data could increase after the introduction of 5G technology, negatively affecting both consumers and businesses.

Another potential issue that could hold 5G back from its full potential for success is a lack of readiness, especially in terms of connectivity. The integration of 5G technology will need to be fully and properly supported by infrastructure as well as internet providers, mobile phone providers, and businesses. Providers and businesses worldwide need to increase connectivity ahead of 5G’s arrival to ensure that it can be used to its fullesst potential and will not encounter any technological or connectivity-related roadblocks. This involves increasing the number of individuals and businesses who have 4G connectivity as it will prepare them for 5G. For mobile and internet providers, preparing for 5G means upgrading their entire infrastructure and, in some cases, building new wireless networks entirely. Policy issues will also arise as we get closer to 5G’s debut, and governments and regulators will have to prioritize meeting the needs of and investments in 5G technology and 5G networks.

If proper preparations and precautions are made before the introduction of 5G, it will be able to live up to the hype it is continuously generating. Procurement will be able to benefit from increased connectivity and speed, and will see increased savings, improved supplier cost analysis abilities, and increased business opportunities. Managing and improving potential costs, infrastructure, and connectivity are essential for the success of this revolutionary technology.

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