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5G – Game-changer, or hype?

Commercial Trends Image

It has become increasingly clear that digitising businesses is no longer a ‘nice to have’, but a necessity that if not already completed or underway at your organisation, now essentially needs to happen overnight. Adding to the urgency and need for companies across all sectors to prioritise digitisation, is the rise of Fifth-Generation cellular wireless networks – ‘5G’. Not simply a faster 4G, 5G has been hyped up to be one of the most transformative technologies in the history of telecommunications. 5G is 10 times faster, supports 10,000 times more network traffic and can handle 100 times more devices than 4G networks while enabling one-fiftieth the latency (the time it takes a message to go from one device to another) with zero perceived downtime. Holding the promise of such high data speeds, underpinned by such substantial improvements in latency, capacity and bandwidth – this fifth-generation network technology is truly more than simple hype. It’s the catalyst in an evolution in advanced products and services that includes everything from mobile, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality, the ‘internet of things’ (IoT) and so much more.

5G is a cloud-based network that connects people on mobile devices to the internet faster than previous networks. Unlike 4G which requires cables and infrastructure to run optimally in a suburban or commercial setting, 5G’s cellular towers amplify cloud-based signals eliminating much of the infrastructure and cabling requirements. And these are just what futurists and technologists call ‘first order effects’; those benefits that are directly attributed to 5G’s properties. Beyond these, 5G will help realise the potential of many other emerging technologies, and foreshadow new approaches, ideas and business models that no one has yet conceived of. Fully realised, 5G networks will pave the way to a host of new options for streaming content, live events, gaming, and other high-quality immersive and interactive experiences as well as usher in a sea change in both product and service innovation, experience and delivery.

It is no secret that 5G will open a door to new consumer services and experiences, as well as expand enterprise opportunities across a broad spectrum of verticals and use cases. Increased broadband speeds will facilitate and likely encourage even greater consumption of content. Streaming will become instantaneous and all downloading will happen in seconds rather than minutes. In addition, the massive amount of bandwidth available may see business models around mobile changing in response. For instance, the abundance and ubiquity of broadband could see a future where users are no longer charged for data use but are billed in other ways that encourage them to use their devices more, without worrying about cost. It thus follows, that a new ‘5G marketing mindset’ focussed on use cases, customer experience and immersion as well as product and service differentiation is increasingly becoming a critical priority for marketers. The right strategy starts with asking how 5G can impact fundamental marketing strategies and product mix across multiple industries. Marketers will need to consider abandoning their current tried and tested playbooks and open their imagination to the limitless possibilities of what could be achieved when harnessing the full potential of 5G technology. Marketing with 5G requires a complete rethink of your four P’s: product, place, price and promotion. It need not only be about promoting your product in isolation, now by leveraging 5G marketers

Rethinking What You’re Selling – Product / Service

Things that aren’t readily possible today, like true live dynamic and interactive virtual experiences and tutorials, will become a reality in the 5G world. 4G has served consumers well in some use cases, but 5G will enable vastly richer customer experiences. Want a VR cooking lesson, an in-home mixed reality interior design consultation or to experience a live event through the power of VR? Think about a MasterClass series, but with Malcolm Gladwell for instance, actually being beamed right into your lounge to give you that introduction to writing class essentially in person. 5G makes it possible.

Delivery Where Consumers Want It – Place

Likewise, 5G may realise the possibility of ‘Minority Report’ like adverting. For those unfamiliar with the Tom Cruise Block buster, Minority Report is a movie set in the future where one of the features is personalised in situ advertising. In the film, ad’s are served to customers based on retinal scanning and recognition technology paired with big data to deliver personalised tailored ad content and discounting based on your individual preferences, purchasing habits and location at the time. Marketers will soon be able to deliver what customers want, where and when they want it, as network capacity will no longer be a restricting factor with 5G. Consumers will no longer have to go to a store or open their laptop to find out about, test or buy products. Using 5G, products can be marketed to customers anywhere, leveraging a plethora of newly imagined devices. Take going to the gym for example, advertising could be done directly via a connected health device like an Apple watch or Fitbit. Signup packages could be introduced utilising try before you buy virtual classes delivered ‘in-home’ leveraging AR or VR technology supporting one-on-one virtual personal training sessions.

Monetisation – Price

5G will enable marketers to offer their customers tiered immersive experiences perhaps spanning from baseline to intermediate and premium or even exclusive experiences for AR and VR. One-size-fits-all pricing models that do not differentiate value will increasingly become a thing of the past as the world of mass customisation finds a delivery channel that will support and encourage dynamic pricing models, much the same as those used in airfare pricing – everyone is on the same plane but almost every individual ticket has a unique price depending on where and when you bought it and the accompanying basket of privileges you are seeking pre, during and post flight. Using 5G, you can offer consumers a new proposition to pay for individualised experiences and subscription plans, especially when considered from the viewpoint of a retailer or event promoter where experience is an inseparable part of the purchasing or consumption act itself. 

Meaningful Marketing – Promotion

5G is new, dynamic and increasingly in vogue offering marketers a catalyst to inject new energy and vitality into their brands, through inspired application and creative execution. But to ensure sustained engagement, marketers must elevate the utilisation of 5G and allied technologies to move beyond simple gimmicks and cheap tricks, shifting application further than fad to becoming a fully-fledged channel for rich immersive experiential delivery. Promotions must above all else resonate with your target audiences. Today’s hyper-connected world makes it imperative to deliver an ad experience that does not ‘feel’ like advertising

We live in a hyper-connected world and while 5G won’t change everything completely, or instantly, it will unquestioningly amplify many of our digital experiences. Marketers and businesses alike must   align our strategies to this new reality, allowing ourselves to explore and apply more of the innovative technological opportunities in our campaigning – especially in the realm of AR, VR, AI, and smart devices. 5G opens a world of new opportunities for marketers and brands unafraid to scrap their old playbooks and buck the status quo to grow customer engagement and brand loyalty.

In concluding, here are just five simple ways 5G will likely revolutionise digital marketing:

  1. Mobile ecommerce will accelerate.
  2. Targeted customer personalisation and CX (customer experience) will get easier—and more accurate.
  3. Segmented video advertising will proliferate.
  4. Augmented and virtual reality (AR & VR) will enhance customer experiences.
  5. Advertising will be more interactive.

At the IMM we’re always connected, always current and always exploring.  Check out all our qualification and short course offerings, each one uniquely developed to keep your knowledge, skills and industry awareness at the leading edge of innovation, best practice and thought leadership.

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Commercial Trends Appendix





Business trends for 2020

The top trends predicted for 2020 that will propel business into the future

2019 has been a tough year for businesses in general with a sluggish 3.9 % global GDP growth (IMF Data mapper) and a meagre 3.1% growth in South Africa (StatsSA).

In these tough times having a competitive edge is more important than ever. Looking into the future and seeing what opportunities and threats are on the horizon does not call for a visit to your local fortune teller however, but rather business strategists use an analytical process called ‘trend watching’.

Trend watching involves analysing the current trends and, using statistical formulas, projecting them forward to provide an indication of which trends will continue to gain momentum and which ones will fade. When done right, business trend awareness is a valuable skill that helps management to pinpoint the changes that need to be made to keep strategies and business practices up to date.

What changes can we expect in 2020?

Here are 7 trends businesses can expect to see in 2020.

  1. Businesses will pay more attention to their employee’s wellbeing and job satisfaction

The success of any business rests on the shoulders of its employees. Productivity levels are almost guaranteed to drop if employees are unhappy.  Companies will be looking for innovative ways to keep a high morale internally. A recent example of this was when Microsoft Japan tried a 4-day work week in August and experienced a 40% increase in productivity (CNN Business). Whether that means more spacious workplaces, relaxed dress codes, foosball tables or 4-day work weeks we can expect to see an increase in similar changes in 2020.

  1. AI will become the norm.

While AI has been an ongoing trend it is worth mentioning. With AI assistants quickly becoming a standard feature on digital devices, it is on an upwards trajectory and will inevitably be used more frequently in 2020. It will increase efficiency, improve productivity, and generally improve business performance. However, this does not mean replacing human roles and expertise completely as some would believe:

2020 will be the year where the industry realises that while AI can be a fantastic extension to enhancing human capabilities, it cannot work independently or replace human roles within facility management. Instead, skilled engineers will be more in demand to ensure AI can effectively be incorporated into any data centre facilities to drive higher value for end customers.”Intelligent CIO

Read more: AI: Should we be worried? 

  1. 24-hour customer service using AI chatbots

With the internet at their fingertips, consumers want their queries and requests answered at lightning speed. Another consideration is that with global markets becoming the standard, your customer could easily be in a different time zone and have different business hours to you. Previously, this meant that call centre agents either had to be available at all times, or the customer needed to call during business hours. Now, with AI and Chatbots becoming more advanced, 2020 might just see customer queries answered at any time of the day. Don’t think that human interaction will be a thing of the past, though.

Not everyone likes speaking to a robot and the technology is currently not sufficiently developed to handle all queries, so for now customer service agents are safe. If you would like to learn more about customer service, IMM can help. Register for our online short course and learn how to successfully connect with your customers. 

  1. Home offices will become more prevalent

If you hate your commute to and from work, join the club. But we can expect to see a reduction in people commuting for hours every day in 2020. Many businesses believe that employees are more productive in a work environment, but a Stanford study suggests otherwise. They found that employees who work from home produce more work, are not restricted by being on the clock and as a result produce higher amounts of work that are higher quality.  It has the added advantage for the employer of reduced overheads for office space etc, and staff take less time off if they can work around their personal schedules. With the advance of online technologies and high-speed internet connections, working from home is increasingly becoming an option for many employees

  1. No more meeting rooms.

Its been estimated that in 2020 just less than 60% of the workforce will comprise of Millennials and Gen Z workers.

Business trends for 2020 b

These generations have grown up with technology and consider conversing electronically as natural and possibly even preferable to face-to-face conversations. This combined with the increase in employees working from home means that more meetings (even in house) will be held in virtual meeting rooms using conferencing software and apps like Skype, Hangouts and Facetime

  1. Personalised products and services.

Consumers have become so used to generic ads, that they don’t even notice them anymore. This makes traditional advertising less effective than before. To fix this problem, businesses will need to customise each customer’s shopping experience according to their explicit specifications. Pulling this off will mean that customer satisfaction and loyalty will skyrocket.

  1. 5G will finally become a reality.

We’ve all heard about the wonders of 5G but we’re still waiting for evidence that this network even exists. Don’t worry, we don’t have to wait much longer. The world can expect download speeds of around 1 Gbps once 5G networks go public, so get ready for a next-level web experience!

  1. You need to continuously upskill and changing careers becomes a norm

Whichever trends take off one thing is certain, business as we know it will change and at an ever-increasing rate. You can no longer rely on your experience or outdated education. To remain relevant, you will need to continuously upskill and bring your knowledge in line with the latest industry practices. You may even need to change career when yours becomes obsolete.

Whether it’s the latest in Digital Marketing, the most recent approaches to Supply Chain Management or the cutting edge of Business Management the IMM graduate School has a host of programmes and online short courses to keep you up to date and in demand. Start your career, or if you’re already working, boost your career with an internationally recognised qualification from the IMM Graduate School. If you already have a qualification, top up with skills from our ever growing online short course offering. Applications for 2020 are now open! Visit https://www.imm.ac.za to find out about our many programmes and https://imm.ac.za/apply-online/ to apply online.