Mobile connectivity, or what some might call "interconnectedness," became even more important with the introduction of 5G technology. Over the past decade, 4G LTE has been a cornerstone for the rapid development and advancement of mobile networks globally.
But with 5G's introduction in 2019, we are experiencing an unprecedented jump in speed, coverage, and latency.
5G is a fifth-generation wireless technology and is bound to be the next big leap in mobile technology. It will revolutionize how people access data, as it can offer speeds up to 100 times faster than existing 4G networks.
That’s right… 100 times faster. This has incredible implications for business, communications, and how we relate to information.
But what does this have to do with museums?
For one, 5G is a transformative tool, meaning museums can effectively implement 5G technology to get the most out of their spaces. Mobile technology is no stranger to museums, having been a staple for realizing certain innovative offerings, i.e., interactive displays, audio tours, and location-specific content.
The implementation of 5G technology further enhances these experiences by providing faster speeds and lower latency. One should expect unprecedented performance when providing visitors with interactive media experiences, including, but not limited to, augmented and virtual reality.
How Museums and Art Galleries Can Utilize 5G Technology
Museums rely heavily on the maintenance and preservation of their artifacts. Deterioration is inevitable, but with 5G technology, museums will have access to immediate data analysis and generate preventative maintenance plans.
These intelligent systems also employ predictive analytics, which allows for the automatic invocation of preventive measures. This means that museum staff no longer has to wait until a problem arises before implementing solutions; instead, they can identify it proactively and take action to prevent damage before it even starts.
This system can't exist without 5G as it relies on the speed and coverage that the technology provides. It will enable museum staff to collect sensor data, analyze it in real-time, and take necessary action.
5G For MuseumSecurity
The use of 5G technology affords museums an added layer of security when protecting valuable artifacts. The network's ability to connect millions of devices simultaneously and offer low latency allows museum staff to detect any network irregularities quickly.
5G enables better risk management through real-time asset tracking with RFID tags and heightened access control for sensitive areas. By integrating this technology into their existing security systems, museums guarantee the safety of their artifacts and visitors.
Beijing's Palace Museum in the Forbidden City recently worked with telco giant, Huawei, to create a smart network to improve security and visitor access. The network is highlighted by over 3,000 closed-circuit TV cameras and facial recognition for a secure access control system.
This system incorporates data collected and up-to-date information about the queuing process to maximize the guest experience. If a tourist disregards the advice and waits in line for an exhibition, then so be it. Nonetheless, any data arising from this decision is considered to devise more efficient recommendations.
IoT Framework for Museums
5G technology is instrumental in implementing an Internet of Things (IoT) framework. The IoT consists of connected physical devices that are equipped with sensors, actuators, and software to exchange information with each other. The primary reason why IoT makes sense for museums is that it can automate the management of their exhibits, artifacts, and visitors.
For example, an IoT-enabled museum can track how many people visit certain exhibit areas and determine the most popular ones. It can also monitor temperature, humidity, and other environmental factors to ensure that exhibition pieces won't deteriorate over time.
And since one of the indispensable components of IoT is back-end services, museums can analyze and store data from the connected devices to make informed decisions. 5G makes all these processes possible, providing low latency and high bandwidth.
Data-Driven Insights for Profit Generation
Museums can use 5G-enabled devices to collect real-time data on attendance, exhibitions and visitor preferences. This data can then be used to generate profit by providing personalized services and customizing experiences.
For instance, using the collected data, museums could offer special discounts and promotions based on customers' habits and interests. They could also create targeted campaigns to attract more visitors and encourage repeat visits.
And talking about targeted campaigns, 5G also makes it possible for museums to launch location-based marketing campaigns. Arguably the handiest innovation brought by 5G in this regard is geo-fencing, a location-tracking technology, to deliver notifications and discounts to visitors who enter certain areas within the museum.
Improved AR and VR
A significant improvement in data communication courtesy of 5G opens up the possibility of using much-improved augmented and virtual reality for museum visits. By providing low latency, 5G-enabled AR/VR systems will give visitors a fully immersive experience even if they're physically located in different parts of the world.
Case in point: museums could enable visitors to see 3D projections of historical objects or explore artifacts from different angles. They can also provide virtual tours of their exhibitions and allow visitors to interact with them more engagingly.
Perhaps the most telling advantage of 5G technology incorporated in AR and VR is the prospect that museums no longer have this limit in showcasing their exhibitions to a limited number of people. The low-latency connection means that people can explore the artifacts virtually regardless of where they are.
Connecting various devices in the museum to a single 5G connection makes it possible to reduce wasted energy by automating processes like temperature control and lighting. This one's a feasible option for museums that plan to reduce their carbon footprint.
And speaking of lights, some exhibitors are now using light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs that can be controlled wirelessly via a 5G connection. This is an energy-saving solution that museums can use to make their exhibitions eco-friendlier.
Game-Changer (or not)?
The potential of 5G to revolutionize the museum sector is unquestionable. From automated exhibitions to personalized services, it could significantly improve visitors' experience and help museums maximize their profit. On the other hand, its implementation requires considerable time and money — an expenditure not all museums can afford.
Still, this doesn't mean that 5G should be immediately ruled out. It's for the museums to decide how, when and if they want to implement 5G technology within their premises. After all, if taking a wait-and-see approach makes more sense for them than investing in the industry's latest technology, then so be it. Nonetheless, any museum that develops a 5G-enabled infrastructure will certainly become more attractive to a younger generation of visitors.