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National   /   April 23, 2021

Paul Bubny
By: Paul Bubny

5G is Poised to Alter the Workplace Experience

5G promises to deliver faster download speeds than are currently feasible and to bind together billions of IoT devices, among other capabilities. With that much potential behind 5G, it stands to reason that it will play a key role in “the office of the future,” says Cushman & Wakefield.

For the latest edition of its online publication The Edge, Cushman & Wakefield brought together Verizon VP Andy Brady and SVP Debika Bhattacharya with Rob Franch, chief technology officer for Cushman & Wakefield, to discuss how 5G could impact the post pandemic office. Here are excerpts from that conversation.

“If you look at the post-pandemic expectations of the workplace, it’s so much more than just working from your desk,” said Franch. “Since people can do that at home, expectations have evolved. So, when people do return to the office, they aren’t going in to just do typical work from their desks. The experience has to be different.”

Among other capabilities, 5G can take large-scale meetings outside the confines of a traditional conference room. “With 5G, employees can collaborate, leveraging these virtual platforms, from almost anywhere in the office—from small huddle rooms to individual offices to large meeting rooms,” Franch said.

Bhattacharya noted that Verizon is seeing “more workers being untethered from desks. They’re not just on their phones, but working on more complex problems on their tablets in conference or huddle rooms, without having to be at their desks or on their computers. They can do that now because of 5G’s bandwidth and speed.

“Phone and tablet apps are only going to become more powerful and interactive and with 5G’s promise of faster speeds and higher bandwidths, the opportunity exists for people to do their work on the go,” she continued.

The promise of 5G is factoring into office owners’ view of their properties. “Landlords and investors are increasingly viewing 5G as a ‘must have’ versus a ‘nice to have’ amenity,” said Franch. “After all, the technology is key to marketing space effectively—especially in a post-COVID-19 era when employees will need a reason to return to work. We’ve been advising our clients to make sure they have the technology infrastructure in place to be able to enable 5G and recently we’ve gone a step further, helping tenants optimize their space for 5G as well.”

Brady pointed to Verizon’s upcoming launch of Private 5G, slated for the second half of 2021. “Certain industries, such as manufacturing, banking and logistics, want all-inclusive capabilities and top security within their own private environment or ecosystem,” he said. “We can build them a completely enclosed secure network, enabling faster responses to issues.

“With tighter security measures in place, network owners have the ability to determine which users connect and what data is contained within the site, mitigating overall risk. In addition, part of the attraction of a Private 5G network is that it keeps your data local and, because of the low latency, it can be real time and interactive.”

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Paul Bubny serves as Senior Content Director for Connect Commercial Real Estate, a role to which he brings 13-plus years’ experience covering the commercial real estate industry and 30-plus years in business-to-business journalism.
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