How 5G is going to impact digital marketing landscape in India – Times of India

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The author is Entrepreneur & Consultant – Digital Strategy, Media & Content, Product Development, User Experience & Marketing at Nine Triangles.
With the launch of 5G services in India, we are poised to usher into yet another era of a significant technological revolution that will truly empower the Digital India vision. It would not be an exaggeration to say, 5G will be the much needed expressway for this country’s digital transformation to unlock its true potential for the population at large. 4G has been around for about a decade. Adoption of high-speed Internet has exponentially increased in the last few years. However, network strength, coverage, and latency have been some of the pain points (or shall we say limiting factors) for many tech possibilities to come to life. 
 5G (or the 5th generation mobile network) is designed to deliver significantly higher speed than 4G, ultra low latency, wider coverage through increased capacity, and supremely efficient utilisation of every bit of spectrum. In layman’s terms, 5G would imply access to high-speed Internet for a large population across socioeconomic classes; a significant increase in speed even for those already connected to a 4G network; a better experience while conducting high-intensity online activities; and the unlocking of product/services and experiences that so far has been a novelty. Changes in access, experience, and behaviour of a medium to large population will always have a significant bearing on marketing scenarios – and this situation is no different. 
Here are some of the areas that will provide enormous opportunities for brands, products, and services to leverage in terms of deeper immersive marketing avenues, delivering better digital experiences and creating newer mediums of reach out to deliver next-level tailor-made communication. 
Mainstreaming of AR/VR content for marketing & Digital experience 
The AR/VR medium of content has been around for a while, but with very little or limited usage in practical applications. With higher speed, increased consistency or stability of connection, and wider coverage of the population, the AR/VR medium presents an enormous opportunity for brands to leverage this immersive medium of communication and engagement across the customer lifecycle. For example, a car company can provide a real-time test drive experience through a simulated environment, an e-commerce brand can provide a near-real world demonstration of products on shopping websites, and a real-estate company can provide a walk-through to showcase its property – to name a few of the numerous immersive engagement experiences that we will see coming to life in the months to come.  Not only that, even the advertisements could feature more immersive/real-world simulation of products, giving more confidence to the customer and shortening their decision-making journey.
 Bringing the 4th industrial revolution to full life and usage
IoT is not an alien term any more; some of us may be using it in our daily lives. However, at present, not even a fraction of the scale and potential this tech eco-system has to offer is being used. 5G provides the ability to seamlessly connect a massive number of embedded sensors in devices, remote & cloud-based management of manufacturing processes, surveillance & automation of large infrastructure and more. All such automation and integration would result in opportunities for personalised and contextual communication for brands, driving discovery, engagement, and transactions pertaining to new or extended products or services. This is an area where there exists enumerable use-cases for marketing technology innovations. 
Video/Voice/Vernacular Revolution 2.0
A seamless browsing experience with quicker downloads will give impetus to the already ultra-fast growth of video content consumption. The quality of content being delivered (or shall we say in demand) is set to change with the viewer’s ability to stream high bandwidth hungry content. Not only that, with wider coverage of the population and consistent connectivity across regions, the already ~400 million strong video viewer base is set to increase in leaps and bounds. Also, 5G is expected to hugely decrease dependence on cable and DISH TV, thus bringing more people into the fold of the OTT and connected TV platforms. The deeper penetration would provide brands with the option to stream a richer and wide variety of content, more advertising; and wider coverage across languages and geographies. 
Leveraging Big Data & AI for deeper personalisation
An exponential increase in connectivity of existing and newer avenues across touch-points and interaction with the population at large – would generate a massive amount of data. This data would provide a treasure trove of insights for all sets of TG personas possible. These insights would most definitely be leveraged for hyper personalisation of communication, media delivery, experience creation, and even for designing newer offerings (or tweaking the present ones) for the target groups across the spectrum. What is going to be the icing on the cake is that all such insights would be available on the fly, in absolute real-time and in the most seamless manner possible, enabling efficient utilisation of every marketing dollar spent. 
Gaming on the go
With the significant improvement of mobile hardware and access to better Internet speed, online gaming has seen a significant rise in adoption and usage in the last decade. However, there are still limitations to unlocking the true potential of this medium, and usages for this medium in the marketing realm have been limited to mostly media placements and occasionally engagement through gamification (albeit a side activity in the overall marketing plan). As a result, there are very few case studies of serious usage of this medium for mainstream marketing. I think this is set to change with 5G potentially making cloud gaming a reality at scale, where all the major computing power could be shifted to the cloud, enabling users to play games by means of high resolution streaming. This has the potential to virtually transform gaming, not only making playing games independent of device, place, environment, etc. but also making the whole medium viable for brands across scale to leverage this for mainstream marketing. 
The usage and application of 5G are going to be enormous across spheres of communication. A lot of it we can see, given the limitations of existing media, and a lot will be visible as it is rolled out to adoption at scale. In short, this is going to be a new wave of revolution in the digital transformation timeline of this world. It would be fair to say that this is going to be a significant event in the timeline of democratisation – putting more power in the hands of consumers. Digital marketing, in particular, is going to hugely benefit from this. Digital advertising, while growing at 31% per year, is still 33.4% of the overall ad spend as against a global average of over 55%. This is definitely going to change, and soon India could be inching closer to the global average when it comes to digital share in total advertising spends.
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Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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