Boris understands that technological infrastructure can give the city of London a massive economic boost. His 2014 vision as a provident Mayor remains part of his long-term infrastructure investment proposal even now as Prime Minister. There can be no business plan outside the ICT strategy. The ICT strategy is the business plan. Six boroughs already have a councillor specifically responsible for 5G and the remaining boroughs are to be staffed shortly to oversee the implementation of 5G.

Investment in soft infrastructure in smart cities will deliver to merchants and entrepreneurs innovations in healthcare, transport, retail, media and entertainment, power and utilities, manufacturing, tourism, financial services, cloud computing, gaming, real estate, public safety, supply chain management, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), education, insurance and a fabulously new style of life. Moreover, the changes will shift productivity and GDP to the next level.

5G is an investment for the next decade that brings three new aspects to the table: bigger channels (to speed up data), lower latency (to be more responsive), and the ability to connect a lot more devices at once (for sensors and smart devices). Smart cities will be swimming in a confetti of sensors that will analyse rapid-real-time flows of unstructured streams of data from sensors in taxis, trains, turbines, toilet seats, toasters, jet engines, hybrid cars, snapchats and tweets left behind by hurrying-humans who drop a digital trail of crumbs everywhere.

“Intelligent Life” will involve a daily commute via high-speed rail and driverless vehicles running on smart grids, auto-delivery drones and fully interconnected and automated homes with smart Internet of Things (IoT) appliances. This January in Las Vegas, a driverless sedan levitated off the pages of an Isaac Asimov comic when Japan’s Sony unveiled a car at CES 2020. Sony may never enter the automotive industry to compete with BMW’s €400 million new ‘i’ assembly line near Leipzig. But the Sony sedan falls under the umbrella of Sony’s new Vision-S initiative, which is fixated on mobility. Sony did not debut a car. Sony simply disclosed its capability to use fusion technology to build sensors across a range of mobility technologies.

The technology used in the Vision-S enables capabilities – such as self-parking, auto-lane change functions and the ultra-wide ribbon monitor that replaces the traditional dashboard – can be used for entertainment and information displays as the car communicates using the vehicle’s 360 reality audio. The in-cabin sensors detect and recognise people and objects inside the car. Today’s advanced driver assistant systems (ADAS) require clear-cut information about the driver’s focal point and what’s occurring inside the cabin. The car has a 3D camera-based, in-cabin sensing application that can recognize the driver’s behaviour and deliver this information to the ADAS system so it can respond accordingly.

The Sony prototype has 33 sensors that connects the cabin to the 5G network of the smart city. Leveraging its flair with sensors, Sony transforms core technologies by combining profitable advances that can be made cheaply using knowledge from different fields, firms, factories, and geographies to design hybrid sensors for new markets and new growth opportunities for each participant involved in the innovation. It blends incremental improvements from several often previously unrelated domains to create new products and new markets.

China is focused on developing five smart supercities powered by 5G in advanced regions, including the Yangtze River Delta, Jing-Jin-Ji, Greater Bay, Mid-Yangtze River, and Chengdu-Chongqing. The supercities will benefit from innovative solutions in energy production, transmission and distribution. Using connected smart grids, energy management will reduce costs and will increase the lifespan of battery-dependent devices. Smart factories in these cities will be able to leverage automation, artificial intelligence, augmented reality (AR), and the Internet of Things (IoT) over 5G mobile networks. The high bandwidth and low latency required for sustained augmented imagery means that AR could now be used to support training, maintenance, construction, and repair.

Nike’s new concept store in Shanghai points to a future of hyper-local, personalised limited-edition merchandise for social media-savvy consumers who are increasingly foraging for Instagram-friendly product lines. People are prepared to pay for privilege with one in five willing to pay up to a 20% premium for the personalisation option. Research by Deloitte in 2017 suggested that 22% of consumers are prepared to share personal data in exchange for greater levels of personalisation with one-to-one designer consultations to discuss colours, dyes and embroidery using 3D printing and Big Data to unlock additive manufacturing and new options for orthotics, styles and cosmetic design. The factory of the future may just be a mobile 3D printer that relocates and creates on demand.

5G is a performance hammer that uses around 10Gbps to throw the internet at sensors faster than ever before, as well as allowing huge numbers of connections that changes the way the internet is used. It paves the way to cut the cable from your desktop router. 5G is a capital improvement project the size of the entire planet, replacing one wireless architecture created this century with another. One that aims to lower energy consumption and maintenance costs. It’s also a huge gamble on the future of transmission technology.