"I feel the need, the need for speed!”


It’s the bugbear of most marketing professionals – nay, all professionals, and people… I’ll rephrase… it’s the bugbear of EVERYONE; poor connectivity and slow internet speed.

The stuff of deadline nightmares and the obscene death of stress-balls around the globe. However, the advent of 5G is upon us, a future which we imagine will be full of instant gratification, no loading times and superspeed swiping.

But with great power comes great responsibility, so what does the roll out of the fastest connection speed mean for events and experiential marketing?

Remember the dial-up internet tone? Yeah, yeah me neither. (*pops dentures back in and adjusts Zimmer frame*) The increased speeds of internet and processing power of smartphones has been our generation’s “Space Race”, denoted by Daft Punks punchy lyrics “harder, faster, better, faster, fasterer, stronger, faster” (or something like that!). It has fostered a society accustomed to instant gratification, life in the fast lane where eyes roll, and loud exhales are frequently heard at the slightest inconvenience and waste of vital, vital seconds. Time is money is time.

Without going into the techy detail of 5G supply and processing capability let’s just dumb it down to; everything is instant now. Which is music to events and experiential ears – where brands and organisations constantly compete for people’s precious attention and time. So quickly, here are some key benefits which you can start to consider:

  • Gaming – we often shy away from gamifying our events and experiences (in a digital sense) because of lag/load time. We can produce games and experiences with much higher resolution now, as with 5G we no longer have to worry if vital seconds could be lost while screens load and data is processed.

  • Other Realities - Processing your VR/AR experiences become instant and reactive. VR often lost its attraction because the resolution was low or plainly cinematic – you pop on the headset and away you go on a rollercoaster style journey where all you can do is sit and watch. Fun? Yes, but you could do almost the same job with a large screen and capture more people in the same amount of time. The same could be said for AR – it was interactive yes but not too far beyond cinematic, a watch and move event. Now we can up our game, and easily allow users to properly interact with the reality around them. The mobile phone catching up with console gaming experience.

  • Creative – the additional processing speed gives much greater scope for creative in the instances stated above, but also in terms of the outputs. Scale has always been a factor when thinking about renders and sharing creative digitally, 5G will erase this and make creative on the go much more streamlined. We’ll be able to have more creatives working at the same time on the same project without overlap – sharable creative platforms will become much more accessible.

  • Content – because faster and greater processing means we can augment digital aspects of campaigns we can work on the fly. Those who have had to do live updates at sporting events or conferences know all too well the pain of waiting for your update to upload, the limitations it can put on engaging fans in a live conversation or live stream can kill an idea or potentially viral moment in an instant. High definition 360 video live streams and shows could change the way we watch news reports, sports and TV - so the creative and production teams must now think in full 360 detail.

  • Datasets – sharing large datasets or databases will become easier. Privacy aside, we don’t need to dive into that here, marketers will be able to share datasets and touchpoints on people much faster and more effectively. Hyper close-range targeting won’t seem so daunting a task now that it can be facilitated through 5G network speeds.

  • Transport – self-driving or autonomous vehicles are here getting ever closer. With greater capacity 5G provides an adequate network to support driverless transport. Which means marketers will have an extra set of eyes in each car which we can target. If we say ‘so long’ to front facing seats in cars and turn them inwards making them more like travelling living rooms, then we’ll have a whole new landscape to play with.

  • Robots – or rather AI, not quite Arnold Schwarzenegger proportions, (surely we’ll be on 6G networks before they decide to kill us off?) but the range at which localised AI can work will be greatly enhanced, meaning your campaign may be able to learn and interact with people with far greater pace and scope of information analysis.

Wow, that escalated real fast – but you get the idea. There are far greater socio and economic impacts to having a full 5G rollout across the world; de-urbanisation of developed countries being one in particular, but in the short term, there will be a golden opportunity for marketers to grab by the megabits and change the way we deliver our stories. 


- GC 

Bonus: Holographic AR concept which could change the way we teach and learn about the world

Gavin Coffey