The Role 5G Can Play in Global Sustainability Efforts

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The fifth generation of cellular technology, or 5G, has started rolling out in pockets around the globe, bringing expanded network connectivity and speed to new users and device types. These advances are benefiting many key enterprise initiatives, especially when it comes to creating automated internal processes and real-time customer experiences through the Internet of Things (IoT) and edge computing.

But beyond the efficiencies and heightened performance potential that 5G offers, 5G can also support strategic sustainability efforts across a variety of industries. 

Sustainable Benefits of 5G Technology

Automated environmental monitoring and response

5G network speeds, ultra-low latency, and overall networking capacity have vastly enhanced how enterprises handle infrastructure monitoring and the application of data insights. 5G makes it possible for more advanced technologies to monitor environmental factors like water usage and greenhouse gas emissions in real time. Even more important, 5G’s larger workload capacity supports smart technologies that recognize the data collected from real-time monitoring and use that data to make changes to the environment and tools accordingly. Several companies, such as networking and telecommunications company, Ericsson, are beginning to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and overall energy consumption because of more efficient devices and monitoring.

IoT-powered smart devices

A new generation of smart devices, powered by both 5G and IoT, is making major strides on the sustainability front. 5G-powered IoT devices, such as smart lights or HVAC systems, can be automatically powered up or down as user and environmental needs change throughout the day. Smart devices use less energy while still meeting performance demands with IoT support.

Support for remote work infrastructure

5G is creating the connectivity that will become more necessary as workforces grow increasingly remote and global. 5G and 5G-supported communication, video, and collaboration platforms make it easier for teams to interact without being in the same place. As 5G continues to make remote work, meetings, and event experiences more sophisticated, fewer work-related travel emissions will be necessary.

Learn about other remote work-friendly solutions: Best Remote Desktop & Access Software

How 5G Can Support Sustainability Across Industries

Every industry and company type can use 5G to support sustainability and improve networking and user experiences. But some of the industries that can most fundamentally transform their business models with the help of 5G include manufacturing, oil and gas, agriculture, and government/city planning:

  • Manufacturing: Smart factories and more granular smart equipment are designed to reduce unnecessary energy consumption and assist with more efficient supply chains.
  • Oil and gas: IoT devices, powered by 5G connectivity, can more quickly and efficiently detect problems like oil spills in the field. These earlier detections also increase worker safety.
  • Agriculture: 5G offers farmers real-time insights and automation opportunities for water and pesticide regulation.
  • Government/city planning: Cities can use ultra-low latency 5G networks to get real-time insights and make real-time adjustments to things like stoplights, ensuring that cars don’t idle more than necessary during their commute.

Learn more: Data Center Sustainability: 5 Steps to a Green Data Center

Best Sustainability Practices for 5G

Many of the most impactful environmental changes happen at the service provider and macro levels, but individual companies can also take important steps toward increasing their operational sustainability with 5G. Here are just a few key best practices that companies should implement:

Support a remote-first working culture

Support a remote-first working culture if it’s possible for your industry and employees. Remote work not only opens your company to new pools of talent but also decreases unnecessary energy consumption from employee commutes and energy-hungry office buildings. To ensure your employees have a productive and pleasant remote working environment, make sure you’re relying on a high-power networking solution, like private 5G, to ensure all workers have the mobile connectivity they need to succeed remotely.

Audit your existing technology and workflows for inefficiencies

Many of the most energy-inefficient features of a business are its networking hardware and other pieces of operational equipment. That’s why it’s important to audit your existing network and supply chain infrastructure for inefficiencies as soon as possible.

You should also review shadow IT and other technologies your teams are using in silos; chances are, you’re using something you don’t need that is increasing your organization’s carbon footprint. 5G will give you the capacity and speed you need to use that larger portfolio of tools, but it’s still up to your network administrative team to ensure you’re not wasting energy on unnecessary business processes and solutions.

Invest in 5G-enabled technologies for automation and support

When enterprise leaders are focusing on key business initiatives and goals, it can feel overwhelming to add on sustainability concerns. The best way businesses can take advantage of 5G technology for sustainability is to use the advanced technologies that run best on 5G, such as data analytics, artificial intelligence, and automation tools. These tools continue to grow in their capabilities, and with 5G powering their work, they help to create more sustainable, automated, and efficient business processes.

Read next: Best 5G Network Providers for Business

Shelby Hiter
Shelby Hiter
Shelby Hiter is a writer with more than five years of experience in writing and editing, focusing on healthcare, technology, data, enterprise IT, and technology marketing. She currently writes for four different digital publications in the technology industry: Datamation, Enterprise Networking Planet, CIO Insight, and Webopedia. When she’s not writing, Shelby loves finding group trivia events with friends, cross stitching decorations for her home, reading too many novels, and turning her puppy into a social media influencer.

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