October 15, 2019
With the rollout of 5G, there’s a pressing need for companies to attract and utilize the skilled labor required to implement the new technology. According to Ed Fox, vice president of Network Services and head of the customer innovation lab at network and telecom services provider MetTel, firms need to make sure that their fiber solutions and power distribution networks are in place to accommodate 100 to 400 Gbps devices made feasible by the new telecoms standard. If they don’t, then they’re at risk of falling behind.
The current workforce at most companies isn’t up to the task. What’s more, firms don’t always know the type of people that they need to build out their systems. Job descriptions are dated, and there is a lack of understanding of how the new technology fundamentally differs from that of the old.
Compounding the problem is the fact that there is, as yet, not enough skilled labor to go around. Building out an extensive 5G network is a mammoth undertaking, but finding the workers to make it possible is a challenge. Even finding people to update and maintain existing infrastructure is a substantial issue for many companies, let alone finding the required labor to roll out an entirely new and upgraded infrastructure. Funneling resources to the development of 5G capabilities is a luxury that very few in the industry can afford.
As you will learn below, however, Field Engineer’s online freelance worker platform, is part of the solution.
Part of the labor shortage issue has to do with the fundamental nature of the technology. 5G uses a different part of the electromagnetic spectrum compared to the old 4G standard. While the change enables data rates to rise, it also means 5G antennae can’t communicate with devices over distances of more than 500 feet, compared to the 45 miles of coverage for a typical 4G tower. Hence, there's a need to install many more individual devices as part of the rollout.
There’s also the issue of 5G’s high attenuation rate. Not only do workers need to position 5G antennas on every street corner, but they must also do so in a way that does not cause interference and penetrates the interiors of large buildings. Solving both issues simultaneously will prove to be a substantial challenge in some locations.
The labor demands of the new system, therefore, are much higher than the old ones. Companies need engineers who can install 5G antenna on every block instead of larger regions.
So, given this predicament, what can companies do to prepare their 5G workforces?
The first thing that they can do is adopt approaches that enable them to re-educate workers. With the changing telecom standards, there’s a need for continuing education, opportunities for mobility in the company, and recertification.
Companies also need to develop their pool of skilled labor to accommodate 5G. One of the ways that they can do is through internal education programs. With the right educational practices, companies can update their workers to understand the new technology and give them the skills that they need to install it on a large scale while being sensitive to the needs of each carrier.
Of course, the options available to firms don’t end with their regular workforces. While there’s a role for training, there’s also the opportunity to hire temporary engineers to assist with the rollout from on-demand freelance engineer platforms, like Field Engineer. Companies often need a variety of people with different skills to help them complete their 5G projects, including engineers, researchers, and technicians. Temporary workers can provide firms with the support that they need to harmonize 5G connectivity with their existing back-end and cloud-based systems.
Mobile data is a critical part of 21st-century life. Local governments, enterprises, and consumers all want lightning-fast mobile communications, wherever they happen to be. 5G promises to enable people to check their Facebook status, send work to their boss, and send instructions to remote workers faster and more efficiently than ever before.
What’s exciting about 5G, however, is that it’s not merely an evolution of 4G, but a genuine step-change that will open up a whole raft of new use-cases, propelling the economy into the future.
The fourth industrial revolution, for instance, depends on the development of integrated systems. 5G communication protocols that slash latencies will allow elements in the value chain to communicate with each other in real-time across vast distances. The role of the technology will be as pivotal as that of 3D printing and the internet of things. It will transform how companies operate and, hopefully, increase the total output of the economy. 5G, for instance, could be the technology that drives the adoption of automation improvements that generate capital and labor productivity over the next decade. It’s an enormous opportunity for all involved.
5G will also improve mobile media entertainment by bringing it up to 5G speeds. Consumers will experience lower latency, higher bandwidth, higher video resolutions, and faster loading speeds when in range of a 5G antenna. Data rates may also permit data-intensive applications such as VR and AR without having to hook systems up to existing terrestrial fiber and broadband connections. Consumers could, for instance, have images piped through to their smart glasses as they travel around the urban environment.
The promise of 5G, however, is not limited to consumers and smart cities. There’s also a prediction that the technology will also make its way into agriculture, helping farming to become more efficient with the help of networks of integrated sensors. Ag firms will be able to get real-time data about their crops and perhaps even use 5G to direct automated drones to deliver targeted pesticides.
While the promise of 5G is fabulous, firms need skilled workers who can do the heavy lifting to make it happen. Field Engineer, through its online jobs marketplace, is helping to ease companies’ labor constraints by providing on-demand 5G freelance engineers. Companies can use the platform to supplement their existing workers with engineers, giving them the capacity to roll out 5G and maintain their existing, legacy networks.