Will 5G Seal the Fate of the Traveling Salesman?
by Tara McLaughlin, on 12/1/20
The Time for Digital Transformation is Now
As we enter into the area of widespread 5G adoption, the network’s dramatically faster speeds and lower latency will fundamentally change how people live and work. Long anticipated, 5G’s potential to bring people and brands closer together has been accelerated to a certain extent by the pandemic. In response to lockdown orders and travel restrictions, companies and consumers alike embraced new digital offerings and it’s expected that many of these services and behaviors will remain even after we finally put COVID-19 in the rearview.
Test Automation: The Key to 5G
According to Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Predictions for 2021 and Beyond, by 2025 customers will be the first humans to touch more than 20% of the products and produce in the world . The firm writes, “New technologies are automating most processes, and that ability to automate will change how businesses operate and how they think about their business models. Again, COVID-19 has acted as an accelerator, driving the industry to find new and improved ways of getting…products to consumers.”
And as a recent Forbes opinion piece puts it, “While the pace of transformation was already accelerating before COVID-19, the pandemic has encouraged businesses to invest more heavily in digital solutions…Businesses will be looking to technology, and 5G in particular… to weather the crisis” .
Building Compelling Digital Experiences
This begs the question, what else can we expect from our connected world where physical contact is becoming increasingly less important?
- Immersive Experiences. With all three major U.S. mobile providers now claiming a nationwide 5G network, brands have new opportunities to deliver immersive experiences. SDKs are emerging for app developers to create augmented reality services for smartphones, which will allow companies to deliver a level of personalization throughout the customer journey that was impossible with previous generations of wireless technology .
- Deeper Customer Connections. As Bloomberg puts it, “With speed as a selling point, carriers brand the experience” . 5G will enable mobile carriers to deepen their customer relationships and make connectivity and mobility an even more intrinsic part of modern life. From a B2B standpoint, edge devices can be more widely deployed and relied upon to produce information that will improve the customer experience, accelerate transactions and improve efficiencies.
- More Self-Service Options. 5G brings more opportunities for self-service than ever before, and companies will be expected to embed these capabilities into their technology and devices.
- Contactless Connections. Contactless payment soared in popularity during the pandemic, but it’s just one example of how digital technologies have replaced activities typically done in person.
So, to answer the question posed in this blog title, will 5G signal the death knell for the traveling salesman? Only if said salesman is not prepared to innovate. Things have certainly changed but it’s all about leveraging digital technologies to get closer to your customers and prospects—whoever they are.