Customers are abandoning brick-and-mortar shops in droves because of the rapid expansion of online retailing. In order to entice customers away from purchasing online, retailers must deliver a convenient and immersive experience for them. A lot of that can be done with the help of 5G technology.
POS (point-of-sale) systems and video surveillance are commonplace in retail locations, and cellular networks are used to support these systems. etailers prefer cellular over Wi-Fi when their point-of-sale systems need to work in remote or mobile environments. It may be necessary for third-party kiosk and display firms to use drop-in cellular connectivity if they don’t have access to the local infrastructure.
The POS terminals of credit card companies are virtually entirely mobile now. Purchases that are rejected due to a lack of connectivity (such as Wi-Fi or wired broadband within the store) are extremely rarely refunded in their experience. The shopper will either make a cash purchase or will walk away from the transaction completely. So, the credit card company loses both ways.
The flexibility of cellular is a benefit in some retail scenarios. Is 5G’s introduction going to have an impact on this industry?
The Beginning of 5G in Retail
Several industries expect to witness rapid and remarkable changes in the way they conduct business as 5G is introduced with considerable excitement in the coming months. The influence of 5G on retail is not expected to be felt for some time. Initial 5G networks are merely faster versions of existing LTE networks. Data uploads from brick-and-mortar stores to the corporate headquarters may benefit from this technology. It is likely that 4G will continue to be widely used in most retail applications until the cost of 5G falls to an acceptable level.
Retail IoT applications will be enabled by 5G technology when it becomes more widely available, including:
- Counters for people.
- Recognition of the face.
- Kiosks that interact.
When 3GPP Release (Rel) 17 of the low-bandwidth version of 5G comes out in a few years, additional LPWAN retail applications will be available. Smart shelf sensors and asset trackers are just a few of the existing retail uses for low-power IoT devices. The promise of 5G’s enormous IoT will make them easier to implement at scale.
Future Of 5G In Retail
5G has the potential to transform retail in a number of ways, including:
Enhancing Back-End Network Operations
When merchants desire greater wireless capabilities over what is now available with 4G, 5G will complement traditional network management. For example, shops may want to offer:
- Increased bandwidth.
- Reduced latency.
- Increased capacity.
- Exceptional dependability.
The demand for data bandwidth on the network increases when a retail company installs a wireline replacement or failover backup. If the network is to run smoothly, 5G will be able to supply it.
More Digital Content Can Be Delivered with A Higher Bandwidth
Designers of retail spaces will take advantage of 5G’s increased capacity to produce and distribute more content to customers. Here are a few of them:
- Smart displays for in-store use.
- Kiosks that interact.
- Computer vision.
- Smart digital signs and billboards.
- AR and VR.
Further development of AI applications will be facilitated by high-bandwidth networking. Systems will be able to modify material based on the demographics and other aspects of the customers that use them.
Aspects of video security that will benefit from 5G include computer vision technologies that will detect anomalies and potential threats. In order to send high-resolution images and videos, these devices need a lot of bandwidth to do their job. These new features will be able to take advantage of the larger data flow 5G delivers.
Achieving Delivery Automation via Robotics
Robots in stores and automated delivery systems that rely on self-driving vehicles are being tested by a number of merchants. As a result of the increased bandwidth that 5G provides, these technologies will continue to grow and become more viable. The rise of self-driving vehicles in the supply chain will have an influence on retail. In the future, customers can expect faster, more precise, and more cheap deliveries. Improved warehouse management technologies, such as sensors and robotics, will be made possible.
The Barriers to 5G Deployment in the Retailing Industry
There is a lot of talk about how 5G will change everything, but it might be a while before that happens in retail. A number of factors, including the following, suggest that new advancements will be more modest and gradual over the next few years:
Costly 5G Service
You might be led to believe that 5G is becoming more widely available in the United States based on advertising from major carriers running on TV. With this first edition of 5G, video downloads are faster and videoconferencing is of superior quality on the go. As a result of this, its ability to support large-scale IoT deployments and economical high-bandwidth connectivity is limited. Retailers will have to wait until Rel 17 and later to take advantage of these features. Even still, switching from a 4G to a 5G network will almost certainly be too expensive for most consumers. Carriers must make a significant financial commitment to expand their 5G networks. Those expenses will most likely not be recovered for several years. Many retailers may continue with 4G for a time if it is sufficient to power their technology, rather than move to a more expensive 5G service.
Complicating Factors Due to Different Technologies
It is important to note that 5G uses a different set of components than prior cellular generations in order to function. For retail IoT applications, this disparity could be a barrier to the development of new features. Because of its radio frequency (RF) interface, millimeter wave (mmWave) technology is more sophisticated and limited in its application possibilities. The new possibilities it affords will be explored by developers, but new items may not enter the retail market as quickly as they would in the previous generation.
The development and maturation of 5G will take time. New efficiency and technology, on the other hand, will have an impact on retail and e-commerce. For retail system integrators and solution providers, now is a good moment to learn about and experiment with 5G technology.