Thank you to Verizon Wireless for sponsoring this post.
If there’s anything all parents can agree on, it’s that we could use a few more minutes (or hours!) in the day, and we do our best to try to find that extra time where we can. It’s something tech can certainly help with, whether we’re returning emails from our phone so we can cut out of work early to see our kids’ soccer games, or streaming a new film online so we can squeeze in an impromptu family movie night.
(We’re not even getting into all the hours we don’t have to spend waiting to pick up photos, or make catalog orders by phone like our own parents did!)
Now, there’s a massive new technological change that’s going to give us more time: The much buzzed-about Verizon 5G mobile wireless technology that’s rolling out across the U.S. this year, both in homes and to our phones, tablets and laptops.
We are so excited!
(And so is the traditional tech press, by the way.)
Remember how much things changed when we went from dial-up Internet to an ISP to get online? Well, this change from 4G to 5G is likely to be just be that significant. And we can help break down just why.
Image from Verizon Wireless 5G technology presentation at CES 2019
What is 5G technology?
If you’re familiar with 4G technology, then just imagine something that gives you a thousand times more data volume in the same amount of time — with sharper results and no lag time. As in, nearly instantaneous.
You may think that uploading videos, sharing photos, watching movies, collaborating online with coworkers, or having group video calls with far-away family is already pretty fast and pretty reliable. But when you get access to 5G technology, you’re going to remember this post and be like, “whoa — so that’s what they were talking about!”
We’re talking data transmitted faster than a blink of an eye. Literally!
It’s going to mean a lot for say, health care organizations and hospitals which will be able to access massive amounts of patient data instantly, to generate more personalized care for patients. One report published by UC Berkley even indicates that 5G will be tied to improved health outcomes, better quality of life, and lower costs for patients.
In education, it means teachers and professors can incorporate VR headsets into lessons, or upload videos for students in a snap. A 3D video upload will take less than a second, instead of ten minutes, which is pretty incredible.
But what does it mean for parents every day? Well, a few things.
5 ways 5G technology will make our lives as parents easier
Here are 5 scenarios in which 5G will directly impact your own life as a busy parent in some very cool ways:
1. For working parents
So many of us work at home now, and 5G technology will mean getting more done, and then getting back to life a whole lot sooner. And we’re here for that, big time. Those of us work-at-home-parents who have had to wait for large files to download, or sit on hold while a waiting colleague says “not yet…not yet…” know how much time it’s going to save us.
Even those of us who work in offices will be more efficient with our technology, and getting more done in the day — or even getting home a little sooner — is a big deal when you’ve got kids at home, excited to see you.
And if your work takes you out of town or out of the country? Or if you’re in the military, deployed somewhere far away? Those video calls with the kids are going to be something else.
2. For school-age kids
5G is slated to do incredible things in the classroom. At its most basic, it will allow more students to get online at once, and stay online. (Our own kids have complained about a limited number of kids being able to use the computer at one time, due to the limits of 4G.) This is particularly relevant as more schools want to get kids excited about STEM and STEAM education, and incorporate the need for online research in every school subject.
And considering computers have become increasingly essential for learning both in school and out, it’s great that our kids will have access to much higher quality video, faster search times, amazing animations and interactive apps to bring lessons to life, and even VR headset experiences.
It’s particularly exciting to think about the possibilities 5G can offer to kids with special needs, giving them more kinds of differentiated learning experiences.
3. For families at home
Raise your hand if you have a Wifi-connected gadget at home! So many of us are using smart thermostats, doorbells, baby monitors, and security cams, and of course our tablets and phones, and 5G technology is going to streamline all of it, making it 10 times faster, smarter, clearer, and more useable.
We know we’d love to get the clearest possible video of our front doors from our smart security systems — not to mention that “blink of an eye” transmission when we’re keeping an eye on our homes from vacation.
Of course there’s entertainment too, which is a big deal with families. If we can upload our kids’ ballet recitals, hockey games, or school plays instantly to watch together on a big screen, it’s going to thrill a few grandparents in our lives, giving us more opportunities to connect and be together.
4. For families on the go
Have you ever wanted to download a few recent episodes of a favorite series to keep the kids occupied on the plane or on long car rides? Not so fun. With 5G though, which is 10 times faster than Wifi, you can download a high-def hour-long show in under 5 seconds.
While we’re traveling, we’ll also be able to forward family members our favorite videos and high-res photos of the kids skiing, swimming, or being goofballs. When it’s this fast, it will save a ton of time and energy. (One of the reasons we always put it off, and we end up with grandparents saying, “why don’t you send me any photos!”)
We’re also envisioning up-to-the-second changes to our map and travel apps, alerting us to delays, traffic jams, or route changes before it’s too late to find a new route. And that alone is going to a massive time-saver — and lifesaver, at least when you’re traveling with kids.
5. For those of us who want to get offline more
Perhaps what will be best about 5G technology isn’t what we’ll be able to do online, but how it will get us off our screens even faster.
With a bigger battery and faster processor in our 5G devices, coupled with the ability to transmit and receive data faster than ever, 5G will easily allow many of us to spend less time in our online worlds, and more time experiencing the real world around us.
Finally, a huge shift in our ability to find the extra time we always wish we had, but could never figure out how to access.
Now that’s transformative technology.
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