Qualcomm in San Diego is working on developing a new technology that could push the speeds of cell phones to 5G—speeds for most smart phones are currently 3G or 4G.
The technology is designed to make phones work faster and bring several new devices to the playing field, including virtual reality goggles, according to Qualcomm.
“The awesome factor really comes down to, imagine connectivity that's almost unlimited,” said Matt Branda, from Qualcomm.
He added that Qualcomm is working on developing a technology to embed sensors that could help fight wildfires.
“Imagine a fleet of drones that you can utilize to address that fire without having a person physically there,” he said.
Sherif Hanna, from Qualcomm, also told NBC 7 that at the center of the technology are new, tiny antennas that will increase internet speeds and connect your devices to the online world.
“They're going to be peppered throughout a building, in a campus like here, in a university, in a shopping mall or an airport and everywhere you're walking,” Hanna said. “These tiny little antennas are pushing super fast internet connectivity to your phone. Completely different from the way we do wireless technology today.”
The company has already promoting its 5-G technology through several promotional videos—touting remote health care, autonomous cars and drones.
“Let’s say you want to download five movies before getting on an airplane for a transcontinental flight. You'd be able to do that in a few seconds as opposed to hours and hours,” said Hanna.
Branda added that the new technology will create a “layer of connectivity” between infrastructures, vehicles as well as our health care systems.
“We're also talking about billions of sensors that will be embedded in cities, farms, in health care devices that are going to allow us, allow new industries to benefit from this ubiquitous connectivity that we get with mobile networks,” he told NBC 7.
Qualcomm expects 5G networks to go live in the first half of 2018, with broader availability in 2019. Once it arrives, the cost of any device using 5G technology will depend on the service provider for your cell phone.