How 5G Will Take the Pain Out of Business Travel

By Joe Dyer
Director of Experience Strategy and Insight
projekt202

Business travel can be a pain, no matter how much of a pro you are at it.

Seasoned travelers know the routine all too well: Book a flight. Drive to the airport or arrange for a car service. Swipe a credit card to get your boarding pass. Stand in line. Check your luggage. Head through security. Board the plane. Listen to music or watch videos on your mobile device (or settle for in-flight entertainment). Land, pick up your luggage, find transportation to your hotel, check in, head to your room, and, if you want to check messages and/or email, hope the hotel’s Wi-Fi is strong enough to connect multiple devices.

This scenario is unfortunately commonplace for many business travelers. When you look at it step-by-step, you see the disconnected world in which we live. Multiple systems currently don’t talk to each other, including:

  • The travel site where you booked the flight
  • The car service company or the lot where you parked your car
  • The airport and the airlines in it
  • The rental car company
  • The hotel
  • Your personal devices

This makes a simple trip become unnecessarily complicated.

Now, imagine a world where all these entities are interconnected, providing a seamless experience from Point A to Point B for all business travelers.

That’s the potential of a world with 5G.

The Potential of 5G

Naturally, much attention being paid to 5G revolves around the speed of the network. That’s because 5G isn’t just projected to be a slight improvement on 4G; it will provide speeds up to 100 times faster than our current network.

Speed is also easy for the common consumer to understand. Faster speeds lead to quicker transmission of data, allowing you to download a movie faster while waiting in an airport, for example.

But the revolutionary potential of 5G comes not from its epic speed, but that the network will be high bandwidth with low latency.

“People generally recognize speed as the logical impact of 5G’s rollout,” said Anthony Goonetilleke, the group president of Media, Network and Technology for Amdocs. “However, there is an entire suite of functionality — ranging from low latency, security, support for IoT and network slicing, to name a few — that will enable the industry to drive innovation on the back of 5G and find new ways to monetize.”

Similarly, Shelly Palmer, a strategic consultant and CEO of The Palmer Group, told Travel Weekly, “The value of a low-latency, high-bandwidth wireless network is limited only by your imagination. Where can you either increase people’s experiences — so, make a better experience for your customer — or cut costs? Those are the things it’s going to do. It’s going to enhance experiences and cut costs.”

What Consumers are Excited About

An Amdocs study — “What Consumers Really Want from 5G” — outlined tangible benefits consumers are excited about from a work perspective.

Of 1,000 U.S. consumers polled, 61 percent said they were excited about better remote work opportunities.

Further, 35 percent were excited about video conference options, and 32 percent were excited about video training as well as video-based development opportunities.

From a personal perspective, 64 percent desire better AR/VR experiences around specific events such as the Oscars or the Super Bowl, 31 percent are interested in the improvements 5G will make to connected home devices, and 26 percent are excited about the possibilities for cloud and online gaming.

According to the Amdocs study, consumers are willing to pay more for 5G, because they see both the entertainment and practical uses behind it.

Business travelers see the potentially huge benefit of improving remote communications, which will, in part, make working from the road much easier than it is now.

In addition, it will make connecting with family through video calls easier. No longer will you have to wait until you return to the hotel to video call your family (only to be interrupted by a poor Wi-Fi connection). 5G will allow you to stay connected.

Simplifying Business Travel

5G will also work in the background to make various steps of the business travel experience less of a headache.

For example, car rental companies can use the network in new ways, such as tracking fuel, mileage and damage data automatically, reducing the need for the renter to wait for an assessment.

Got a flat tire while driving a rental car? The company’s on-board system can notify agents to contact the customer in need of assistance.

Have a last-minute change in travel plans while you’re on the road? 5G will allow travel agents to better connect with clients to take care of arrangements without forcing customers to stay on hold or search for other accommodations.

It may sound like science fiction, but the possibilities are truly endless with 5G. In a few years, business travelers may look back on their travel experiences and say, “Thank goodness I don’t have to do that anymore.”

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