5G Singapore vs 4G: What It Means For Businesses
The emergence of 5G technology has left some wondering whether the successor of 4G will revolutionise the current business paradigm or rather – lead to possible waste of capital expense. To truly understand the capabilities and potential of 5G technology for businesses in line with the future of Proptech, we’d first have to dissect what it is and how it compares to 4G.
5G boasts lower latency, faster network speeds of 1-2 GB/s and wider bandwidth capacity, making it much more capable to cater to a society on the trajectory to embracing the Internet Of Things (IoT). Due to the wider bandwidth of 5G, there will be a reduction of tower congestion– we no longer have to compete over bandwidths with limited capacity like 4G LTE.
Comparison of 4G and 5G:
4000 devices per square kilometer
1 million devices per square kilometer
20 – 30 milliseconds
< 10 milliseconds
200 to 400 mbps
> 1 gbps
Limitations of 5G technology
An increased bandwidth, comes with it limited coverage. Users of 5G technology may find their 5G coverage dropping more often relative to 4G and 3G. As a result, more cell towers will be needed in order to maintain the bandwidth of 5G technology, leading to steeper infrastructural costs.
As 5G technology is still relatively new, some of its complementary devices like mobile phones and smart devices will need some catching up. Battery improvements are necessary as phones running on 5G can experience overheating and major battery drains, etc.
The potential for 5G technology is limitless, despite its teething issues to be sorted. Its capabilities can be advantageous to an array of industries like healthcare, telecommunications, manufacturing, retail, automobile industries and building security. Let’s look at some brands and how they are leveraging on the 5G technology to make waves within each of these industries.
5G Technology In The Healthcare Industry
The NYP-Starhub Application & Experience Centre for 5G (Apex 5G) collaborated with Singapore General Hospital (SGH) to employ AI for real-time remote and predictive monitoring of emergency patients with the use of 5G. Large amounts of data tracking the patients’ vitals are transferred reliably and swiftly through sensors and cameras. This is especially crucial in emergency events, as a split second lag could have life-changing impacts.
5G Technology In The Telecommunications Industry
Singapore is expected to lead its Southeast Asian counterparts in the race to 5G. According to AT Kearney, a global consulting management firm, Singapore is predicted to attain countrywide 5G penetration of 56.9% by 2025 with Malaysia at 39.8% and Thailand at 33%. With these trends, telecom operators in the ASEAN region are set to experience higher revenues on enterprise businesses, increasing at an estimated 18% to 22%.
5G Technology In The Manufacturing Industry
The use of 5G technology allows manufacturers to build smart factories and employ existing technology like AI, AR and the IoT on an elevated field. Telecommunications companies like Ericsson, are collaborating with manufacturing factories to create a more streamlined and efficient production with the help of 5G technology.
5G Technology In The Retail Industry
5G technology can pave the way for the use of AR in retail. A notable example would be IKEA’s Place app, a platform to aid users in visualising thousands of IKEA’s furniture in their own homes before making the commitment to purchase. The high speed and reliability of 5G technology elevates the overall AR experience for their customers especially when online shopping.
5G Technology In The Automobile Industry
Connected cars first started out as a concept for a high-end safety feature in the late 90s. Fast forward to now, 381 million connected cars are expected to be on the road by 2020. With big-name companies like Tesla and BMW backing this development, the future for connected cars seems very promising, especially with the help of 5G technology. In Milan, connected ambulances allow paramedics to update the emergency management centre and hospital doctors about the patient’s condition prior to their arrival. This allows them to save crucial time and potentially save lives. Such time-sensitive, life or death situations can be improved through the reliance of 5G technology.
5G Technology In The Building Security Industry
According to Gartner, a leading research and advisory company, outdoor surveillance cameras are predicted to be the biggest market for 5G IoT solutions over the next few years to come. It is predicted that outdoor surveillance cameras will occupy approximately 70% or 2.5 million units of the 5G IoT endpoint installed base in 2020. Moving forward, Gartner believes that 5G IoT installed endpoints for surveillance cameras will grow to 6.2 million units in 2021 and 11.2 millions units in 2022.
Table 1: 5G IoT Endpoint Installed Base, Worldwide, 2020 and 2023 (Thousands of Units)
2020 Market Share (%)
2023 Market Share (%)
Connected cars — embedded (consumer and commercial)
Outdoor surveillance cameras
However, there could be minor hiccups when relying on 5G for building security. According to Compucom, the high-frequency transmissions of 5G technology may not pass through certain building materials effectively. Hence, specially designed walls and floors are required to accommodate the use of 5G-reliant Property tech for indoor building security. Jeremy Edalgo, director of wireless sales and engineering at McKinstry, added that distribution of 5G signals within a building has yet to exist.
While the limitations may seem unnerving, technology is constantly playing catch up. New technology will surface to combat these minor setbacks. By the same token, 5G technology employed with Proptech can still be utilised for outdoor building security purposes.
With the numerous advantages that 5G brings, building security vendors should consider using 5G technology as for their smart security devices. Examples of such Proptech vendors within the building security space include Innotec solutions (CCTV), MIRS Innovate (drones), Igloohome (smart locks), Huntaway Security (biometric door locks, CCTV cameras and intrusion alarms) and Secom (building security solutions provider for warehouses and logistics companies).
Singapore as a Smart Nation
Rolled out by the Singapore government in 2014, Smart Nation is a national effort to tackle information communication technologies, network and big data to produce tech-enabled solutions. As Singapore evolves into a Smart Nation, businesses will become more productive, opening up new avenues and opportunities within the digital economy as well as across its shores for international collaboration for global solution.
Having a Smart Nation as the next phase of Singapore’s nation-building is quintessential in maintaining our relevance given the increasing trends of global tech disruption. It is best to be ready and support a fully digitised economy.
5G technology plays a big role as our current 4G LTE network lacks the capacity to support the concentration and density to transmit vital information from existing sensors in the market. With the implementation of 5G technology in 2020, networks could support up to 1 million devices, such as embedded traffic sensors, per square kilometre.
In summary, the power of 5G allows for faster speeds, wider bandwidth capacity and lower latency is crucial for rising technologies like AR, AI, or even VR. Here are a few examples of Proptech brands that could benefit from the promising advantages the 5G wave brings about.
What 5G means for Proptech players
Artificial Intelligence (AI): Humanoid Robots
The rise of humanoid robots is not just a sci-fi plot anymore. NTU & AIA collaborated to create customer service humanoid robots named Nadine and Pepper, that were programmed to take on customer service roles in Singapore’s insurance industry. Such sophisticated robotics technology combined with 5G network with low latency can only mean one thing – robotics so intelligent and intuitive, it is primed to take over the world!
Virtual Reality (VR) Property Viewing
VR headsets have taken a turn from its former and original use, gaming, to where it can now be used to facilitate virtual house viewings. House hunters can now view properties in an immersive 360-degree tour without having to be present, through the use of VR headsets. One such product is the Keppel Land Live by Keppel Land, a property arm of Keppel Corporation. As the demand for such VR tool increases, so will the need for a stronger, more superior network and its capabilities.
With Singapore spearheading the implementation of 5G technology by 2020, it is no wonder that this tiny red dot can and might just transform into Asia’s most technologically advanced city this side of the world. Yet another reason as to why Singapore is the best place for startups, especially those within the Proptech space. Gear up and get ready to bid adiós to high latency networks!