5G: How Brands and Lotteries Can Prepare for the New Era of Connectivity

5G Network Communications

Faster, flexible, and more fluid, 5G is the 5th generation of mobile networks, marking a new era of connectivity. Though official standards are yet to be developed, there have been recent breakthroughs in the technology behind it, as well as announcements from major telecommunications providers on delivery timelines, so consumer-facing brands of all sectors need to be prepared. There are predictions that 5G will be commercially rolled out in 2020, if not before, and it will provide a diverse, end-to-end network for not just mobile phones but a whole range of devices.

Consumers already have significantly increasing expectations of functionality from their mobile devices. Between 2010 and 2017, the global average of people agreeing to the statement, “All I want a mobile phone for is calls and messaging” dropped from 54 percent to 31 percent (37 percent among weekly lottery players), showing that for the significant majority of global consumers and lottery players, phones are expected to be more than just basic communication device.

There are various criteria for 5G and measurements for its speed and latency. An example of the difference felt by an individual user is that a movie can be downloaded in 10 seconds, rather than 10 minutes on 4G, and a movie can be watched almost as soon as it starts downloading instead of waiting for buffering. This speed will help form the perception of limitless bandwidth and continuous availability, wherever people are. And even where there aren’t people using their devices, devices themselves will be using 5G, fluidly linked together and working in the background (the Internet of Things). Many sectors have been disrupted by the on-demand economy facilitated by 4G networks. Whereas apps like Uber summon a car at the tap of a button via 4G, 5G enables not only faster user experiences but machine interaction. With 5G, a self-driving car could be proactively driving near potential passengers’ locations before the passengers even think to open an app.

5G is a structural trend, so consumer-facing brands need to be establishing B2B connections and watching government regulations in their market: portions of the spectrum are allocated by national governments to telecom firms. Lotteries could develop new, data processing-intensive mobile games and be ready to offer that special play experience to the early adopters – i.e., customers of the telecom companies and citizens of the markets/countries that are on the leading edge of 5G. Examples include Sprint in the U.S., which announced in February 2018 that it will roll out 5G to six cities before covering the rest of the country: Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston and Washington D.C.; and EOLO in Italy, which was awarded the national 28GHz frequency band license by the Italian government, laying the groundwork for 5G technology.

Since commercial rollout is predicted to arrive from 2020 onwards, the time to create more graphically immersive, multiplatform, seamlessly connected play – e.g., play that interacts with elements of the smart home and city – is now. “More” in a game is not necessarily better for the play experience, but more speed – with shorter latency and faster loading – certainly is.

One example of expanding the player experience using 5G was used to promote the testing and development of 5G. In July 2017, the University of Bristol and Bristol City Council in the U.K. began testing a mobile game that required teams to compete in a virtual treasure hunt. Teams of three to six players navigated around the city using the map and solving clues to complete the game. Each week, the best team received a £100 voucher for a city restaurant as thanks for helping the researchers experiment with how to minimize network latency during their virtual treasure hunt.

The Public Safety LTE Network (Long Term Evolution) is a system being developed by major telecoms providers that will provide data sharing and connectivity technology for emergency services in the U.S., U.K., and South Korea. Video streaming, file sharing, and real-time surveillance analytics will be implemented at higher speeds, without compromising security. The network standards can also be applied to commercial critical communications such as airport operations.

Using 5G to securely and instantly track lottery sales from every retail location and online touchpoint could provide real-time data, invaluable for better targeting of messaging, and instant and direct communication and validation of winning numbers, in addition to easy sharing on social channels by the winning player themselves in a totally connected, 5G world.

Source: Foresight Factory │ Base: 382-3371 online respondents per country aged 16-64 [Indonesia 16-54], 2017 August

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