If you’ve ever attended a large music festival or sports event, you’re familiar with the pains of being in a crowded venue. It gets hot quickly, there’s little room to move around, and — arguably worst of all — there’s no cell phone service.
Unfortunately, being without cell service is a common occurrence for people who attend large events. Every other phone in that crowded venue is also competing for attention from the surrounding area’s cell towers. The 4G network most cell phones operate on simply can’t handle that kind of volume, effectively rendering each phone useless.
This kind of problem is exactly what 5G wireless technology aims to eradicate. But the dawn of 5G promises more than just cell service for festival-goers. Thanks to its ability to fundamentally improve how interconnected systems operate, 5G is poised to send innovations in the energy industry forward with leaps and bounds.
5G: A Catalyst For Connectivity
5G — the fifth generation mobile network — is the latest advancement in mobile connectivity. In plain terms, it’s a faster, better internet connection. More specifically, it’s defined as a network that can connect virtually everyone to everything, including machines, objects, and devices. It combines the basics of GSM (the global system for mobile communications), 4G, Wi-Fi, and other networking technologies to provide always-on coverage in a variety of use cases.
5G has already been rolled out in 60+ countries across the world, and major wireless operators started launching new 5G networks in 2019. The technology hasn’t been deployed ubiquitously quite yet, but as we continue progressing into 2022, it’s beginning to pick up speed for a number of reasons.
5G promises increased data download and upload speeds, lower latency, and better connectivity between devices, for starters. It’s also much better at handling thousands of devices on a singular network simultaneously than 4G tech is — great news not only for people in crowded venues, but also for the industries that rely on sensors, autonomous devices, and other IoT technology.
Energy happens to be one of those industries increasingly relying on digital connectivity tools. That’s why 5G has the potential to usher in an era of an increasingly hyperconnected, smart, and sustainable energy ecosystem. Here’s how:
5G Will Enable More Efficient Smart Grids
Smart grids leverage automation and digital communications tools for the two-way exchange of energy and information. Currently, smart grids operate more efficiently than the traditional grid does, but adding 5G into the mix will only maximize that efficiency.
As 5G is deployed, it will facilitate more interconnected IoT sensors on the grid. It’ll also bring previously unconnected devices online, creating new data touchpoints that yield higher rates of data collection. Greater access to data will help utilities make informed decisions about energy usage.
5G is predicted to play a role in the building of new electricity load forecasting software for more accurate monitoring and forecasting; this will give utilities greater insights to predict peak periods so they can proactively make adjustments and distribute power. What’s more, 5G can help us ensure that data doesn’t go dark and is instead leveraged for improved decision-making capabilities.
These advancements will not only improve efficiency capabilities for energy suppliers, but they’ll cut costs for energy suppliers, too.
5G Empowers Smarter Tools & Remote Monitoring Capabilities
The energy industry is no stranger to remote monitoring. But 5G will introduce an era of enhanced monitoring capabilities that build on previous ones.
By adding the remote monitoring of decentralized renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, smart grids optimized with 5G can help allocate resources more effectively. It will also help automate instant diagnoses that quickly alert suppliers if something goes wrong on the grid, enabling quicker responses to potential disruptions. 5G will also empower energy consumers to better monitor their daily energy consumption with enhanced tools like smart meters.
Thanks to 5G’s lower latency, brokers and suppliers who rely on digital tools (like the Dash platform) will benefit from better connectivity as well, making their workflows much faster and more efficient. 5G will also enable rapid customer service response, as well as fast and convenient new energy installation, electric charging pile installation, electricity bill settlement, billing inquiries, and minute-by-minute electricity consumption inquiries that make the procurement, management, and consumption of energy more economical.
5G Will Give Renewables Their Time To Shine
The introduction of 5G networks will offer new opportunities to speed up the energy transition and reach the goals of the Paris Agreement. Why? Boosted connectivity capabilities equal higher power bills. Because they’re generally more cost effective, industries will increasingly turn to renewables to offset the costs of implementing 5G connectivity.
5G technology also has the potential to impact current renewable energy innovations. Take energy harvesting, for example. This technology harvests energy from ambient sources, like sunlight, vibrations, or thermal temperatures. Energy harvesting devices can also draw electromagnetic energy from 5G signals, transforming latent or unused wireless signals into a power source. Advancements like this made possible by 5G have the potential to usher us into an era of smarter energy generation and consumption.
5G Is The Future
5G is poised to bring enormous advancements to the energy industry in the coming years. More efficient energy management, better data insights, heightened connectivity, and advances to current innovations are just some of the benefits we can expect the technology to offer the energy industry — and 5G is just getting started.
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