5G could be the future if we embrace it

A leading player in the telecoms industry claims that the UK risks falling behind in the global race to build infrastructure for ultrafast wireless broadband and driverless cars, which would be a massive boost for businesses.

Industries in all sectors, from manufacturing to transport, are looking into how they can use connectivity to drive efficiency, so this could be a blow to future plans, as the advent of 5G has been described as a future of “endless possibilities”.

For example, for commuters, with 5G we could see a future where an electric bus feeds a bus stop information of its exact whereabouts to keep passengers up to date.

Filling a gap between the Internet of Things (IoT) and humans is another use, whether it be connecting smart houses to phones or keeping customers informed of where their deliveries are.

Meanwhile, in terms of industry, 5G will be able to control remote devices, from smart grids to heavy machinery. In fact, A 5G network has the potential to save industries large amounts of time, energy and money through incorporating old legacy networks and systems into sustainable networks.

However, the head of Arqiva, which owns thousands of telecoms masts across the UK, Simon Beresford-Wylie, has warned that we lag behind economies such as South Korea and the US because our mobile operators do not make a big enough return on investments in network improvements.

Mr Beresford-Wylie has criticised Ofcom for its opposition to the £10.3bn merger of Three and O2, which was blocked by competition authorities earlier this year. He is also calling for planning reforms and policies to increase the availability of fibre optic connections to reduce the cost of building mobile masts.

Business owners ready for their close-up

A new system for banks that relies on business owners taking ‘selfies’ on their mobile phone is being brought out, which will mean that they can open accounts and conduct business transactions.

HSBC has already rolled the technology out, while Lloyds is conducting trials. HSBC business customers who want to open an account with a photo must download a free app on their mobile called HSBC Business Identification.

They then select a form of photo ID, such a passport or driver’s licence and take a picture of it then do the same thing with a utility bill that confirms their address and then finally take a ‘selfie’. If the selfie matches the photo ID, then the bank will open an account in 48 hours.

According to reports, banks have been ramping up their efforts to implement biometrics in the security process for some time. Earlier this month the World Economic Forum (WEF) said in its Future of Financial Infrastructure report that biometric technology is one of the key things that will revolutionise banking in the next couple of decades.

According to experts, doing away with passwords will improve security and cut down on hackers’ ability to access accounts.

However, it is not just a photo that works with banks; First Direct is allowing customers to access their accounts by just using their voice. Instead of a password and security questions, customers who sign up are asked to make a voice recording, which is then stored by the bank.

When the customer next signs in, special technology will compare their voice with the recording and, if it matches, they can access their account.