Editor's Note: There's been a lot of hype about 5G technology. We spoke to some of the most successful entrepreneurs to see how they're adopting 5G today and preparing for a transition in the future.
In the not-too-distant future, first responders will be able to recreate a traffic accident seconds after it occurs. Instead of arriving at the scene of an accident blind, dashcam footage delivered instantly to their emergency systems will allow them to examine the terrain on the go.
It's something entrepreneurs are already working on. At Lombard, Illinois-based M2M in Motion, a fleet management software provider that claimed the No. 360 spot on Inc.'s annual list of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S., co-founder and CEO Marc Lonson refers to this technology as "instantaneous accident recreation." Using engine data and video footage, M2M is working on a tool that will someday allow customers to scope out the territory where an accident took place.
"If they are able to see what is going on in the scene before they even get there, that would be transformative," Lonson says.
Instantaneous accident recreation is not possible without the next generation of wireless technology, known as 5G, which can process data at speeds 100 times faster than 4G LTE. What takes you a minute to load on your computer or phone today will load in a second or less when 5G technology becomes widely available.
With the arrival of 5G, M2M's dashcam monitoring service will allow for even better real-time supervision. The company, which pulled in $2.1 million in annual revenue in 2018, provides the trucking industry with services including asset-tracking and vehicle maintenance programs. Its dashcam-monitoring service lets a manager track fleets of vehicles on a map and livestream what a driver is doing or seeing in real time.
For Lonson, who projects M2M's revenue will more than double between 2019 and 2020, 5G cannot come soon enough.
"There is some latency because a lot of cameras are on 3G," he says, referring to the time it takes for the video to reach a user's screen. "We have deployed some LTE cameras, and you can see a clear difference on return of speed--it's not as choppy. Once you get the 5G capability, it would basically be like you are watching TV on HD."
M2M also creates safety programs and risk profiles for its customers based on accident recreation analyses and other data points. First responders would be a new market for the company and Lonson says he'd like to offer special pricing to public servants. With 5G, the company will be able to feed greater quantities of data to its software at quicker speeds. "The more data that we can gather and the quicker that we can gather, the faster we are able to provide that information to our customers, and in turn, to the people they do business with as well," Lonson adds.
It could be a long time before these processes can be implemented, however. Carriers are still in the process of upgrading current cell towers to 5G technology.
"I think it's going to take until 2021 or 2022 for any full deployment," Lonson says. Still, he remains very bullish about how it will help M2M.
"As it's more widespread and deployed in the U.S. and in other countries, we are going to reap the benefits," he adds. "The 5G ecosystem is going to make our lives easier."