How the shift from 4G to 5G impacts security and surveillance

Issue 2 2022 Surveillance

5G goes beyond just the ability to surf the internet at a faster pace. Consumers may still be awaiting mass availability of 5G-enabled devices, but the groundwork is already being laid for the infrastructure and for businesses to embrace its full potential.


Marcel Bruyns.

The shift from 4G and 4G LTE to 5G is far-reaching and although its growth is relevant to most sectors, we can expect to see real and impactful applications in the network security and surveillance sector, particularly when it comes to smart buildings and cities of the future. It is therefore important to know what 5G’s core benefits are and how it forms part of effective digital transformation strategies and smart living initiatives.

The rollout of 5G

5G networks are likely to cover one-third of the world’s population by 2025, accounting for as many as 1,2 billion connections. This global rollout is happening right now, with private and state entities investing exponential amounts into constructing new and upgrading existing infrastructure to deliver what some now consider an essential service.

5G is not just about delivering faster and better broadband service. The technology can expand into new areas, such as sensitive and high-priority communications and more notably, the realisation of large-scale Internet-of-things (IoT) networks and infrastructure.

With the infrastructure eventually in place, 5G network carriers and suppliers can offer affordable and comprehensive options to businesses and individuals based on their technical and digital requirements. Network security and surveillance sectors may not be the primary driving force behind the rollout, but they do stand to benefit from 5G and as such, should begin making the necessary investments into their own research, development and existing operations.

Overcoming the obstacles

Companies are moving forward with 5G, gaining a better understanding of how the technology best suits the application requirements of their respective industries. But it’s still essential to manage expectations. We may refer to big numbers – with the number of future 5G connections being in the billions – but a wide-scale rollout is still a long-term prospect and it’s at the mercy of several pertinent factors.

5G requires spectrum. Countries and regions are taking steps to consider and apply the appropriate policies that will govern the provision of spectrum to operators – a process that takes time. And there is the infrastructure itself. While some countries are moving swiftly to establish their own 5G networks, developing nations are still working to provide widespread connectivity. Their existing – and considerable – investments into 4G networks and technology may compromise or elongate timetables regarding an eventual 5G rollout.

Then we must consider usage parameters, which are already creating notable real-world impact. In January 2022, mobile networks in the US were forced to delay the activation of 5G services near airports after receiving concerns from federal aviation authorities. Questions were raised about how the surrounding 5G signals might interfere with essential in-flight safety equipment such as altimeters. It’s still early days for 5G and while this may be a circumstantial scenario, it does highlight the need for collaboration and planning between all concerned sectors to ensure a smooth and efficient rollout.

Smart cities, smart applications, and a smart future

We need to take an holistic view on the rollout of 5G. It plays a significant role in smart cities – futuristic urban areas that use the latest tech for the benefit of citizens and businesses. In this scenario, IoT is key, giving cities the ability to use a network of interlinked hardware to gather, process and effectively use data. And this is not just a trend. Technology spending on smart city initiatives is forecast to more than double between 2018 ($81 billion) and 2023 ($189,5 billion).

Within a smart city, you have mobility and monitoring solutions that work together to not only identify typical, everyday problems, but also to compile the necessary data to solve them. It is predicted that in 2023, outdoor surveillance cameras will have a 32% market share for 5G IoT solutions worldwide. This enables licence plate recognition, traffic monitoring and vehicle detection, all made possible by a series of edge-computing cameras and other surveillance equipment that feed back to a central hub. Faster transfer speeds allow for quick-time responses from officials and data is efficiently compiled and processed through the cloud.

Body-worn surveillance equipment on city law enforcement is another example. Using 5G-enabled wireless technology, cameras integrated with established video management systems can transmit live pictures to a central command centre, where officials can react in real-time. The efficacy of a solution such as this depends on the width and breadth of network coverage within the targeted area, but 5G guarantees the speed. And when combined with edge computing, the reaction time becomes even quicker.

There is long-term value to this thinking and approach, but it also depends on trusted partners and vendors that can deliver on these solutions. The security industry is ever evolving and the shift from 4G to 5G opens up more new opportunities to contribute to smart buildings, smart cities and critical infrastructure. Let’s make sure we make the most of those opportunities.


Credit(s)




Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page



Further reading:

Pentagon appointed as Milestone distributor
Elvey Security Technologies News & Events Surveillance
Milestone Systems appointed Pentagon Distribution (an Elvey Group company within the Hudaco Group of Companies) as a distributor. XProtect’s open architecture means no lock-in and the ability to customise the connected video solution that will accomplish the job.

Read more...
Embracing next-generation surveillance for safer cities
Surveillance Integrated Solutions AI & Data Analytics
With the South African government highlighting the importance of building smart cities by integrating advanced technologies to make them more resilient and liveable, the role of next-generation network video and surveillance technologies cannot be ignored.

Read more...
Hik-Connect for Teams released
Hikvision South Africa Products & Solutions Surveillance
Hikvision has released an update for its security management platform; Hik-Connect for Teams not only meets the specific needs of individual users, but also caters to various medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and multi-site management scenarios.

Read more...
The human factor side of video management systems
Leaderware Editor's Choice Surveillance Risk Management & Resilience
A video management system (VMS) is central to, and the most vital element to any control room operation using CCTV as part of its service delivery, however, all too often, it is seen as a technical solution rather than an operational solution.

Read more...
A simple system for complex protection
Surveillance AI & Data Analytics IoT & Automation
Reconeyez is a company that provides autonomous wireless visual verification systems with built-in artificial intelligence. Running on batteries, each device includes communication capabilities, creating a mesh network between the various devices, linking them to the control room.

Read more...
Revolutionise your security with integrated solutions
Secutel Technologies Products & Solutions Surveillance
By merging the capabilities of SecuVue and Secutraq, Secutel has forged a robust system empowering users to fine-tune analytics and harness facial recognition, pose detection, and XFS, among other features.

Read more...
Edge could help transform South Africa’s healthcare
Axis Communications SA Infrastructure
Edge computing has emerged as a game-changing technology for many industries, and the healthcare sector is no exception. In particular, South Africa’s healthcare industry could significantly benefit from the potential of this technology.

Read more...
Safer roads to a sustainable future
Dahua Technology South Africa Surveillance
With the ever-increasing number of vehicles on the road, it is imperative to constantly improve the quality of transportation monitoring and traffic management in urban and rural areas.

Read more...
From damage management to false alarm prevention
Dallmeier Electronic Southern Africa Transport (Industry) Surveillance Logistics (Industry)
Video surveillance is undergoing an exciting evolution; today’s IP-based solutions can be fully integrated into digital systems. With the increasing integration of artificial intelligence (AI); logistics, in particular, can make processes more transparent and exploit previously untapped potential.

Read more...
Marshall Security partners with Blacklight to introduce Reconeyez to KZN
News & Events Surveillance Power Management
Marshal Security has joined forces with Blacklight Group to launch Reconeyez, a cutting-edge battery-powered surveillance platform with mesh network capability, in the KwaZulu-Natal market.

Read more...