Intel used CES to introduce Project Athena, an industry-wide roadmap for next-generation laptop standards set to roll out by the end of the year that will include built-in 5G support. Rob Topol, general manager of Intel’s 5G strategy and program office, said the company’s strategy is to think beyond the smartphone and the smart home devices to plan for all the potential uses 5G’s low latency and remote control capabilities will enable.
“What will really come as a second wave in 5G is this ubiquitous low-latency benefit where if things are extremely quick, it really changes the way it can be used for real-time decision making or any type of remote-type application,” Topol said. “We experiment with laptops and cars and phones today but we really know that the second wave of applications are going to be some derivative of what we’re doing today—and that’s really what you have to do—you have to ideate and you’ll find those killer use cases through that process.”
Sprint, which has yet to announce concrete plans for a wide 5G rollout and decided against a formal booth at this year’s CES, is focusing its energy on farming new internet-of-things uses for 5G. It recently rolled out a new platform called Curiosity that’s tailored specifically for smart devices in collaboration with SoftBank-owned cloud computing company Packet.
Ricky Singh, Sprint’s chief of IoT products and solutions, said one of the goals of the project is to establish relationships with IoT developers earlier in their production process so that devices and connections can be tailored to their specific needs.
“Because we can’t imagine the types of use cases that are happening, we’re going to build this network out in such a flexible way,” Singh said. “How do we take all of that knowledge that developers are putting forward and how they’re going to use 5G to change the world to say that our network is flexible and scalable? Tell us what you need and we can implement it in a way that’s quick and service works better.”
In such an uncertain environment, it can be easy for brands to get overwhelmed in planning what types of trends and new technology will be most important in a 5G-enabled future. But Stagwell Group COO Beth Lester Sidhu, who spoke on a panel on 5G at CES, said companies should avoid rushing headfirst into every potential 5G market and instead focus on key uses of the network that make the most sense for their particular consumers.
“5G should enable brands to do things that they cannot conceive of right now, and the cautionary piece is whether it’s really the right thing for your brand,” Sidhu told Adweek.