Engaging With Brands In A 5G World

Brought to you by the FCB Health Engagement Planning team

Background – What is 5G?

5G is the 5th generation mobile network, a new global wireless standard after 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G networks           (5G is ~100 times faster than 4G)

  • 5G enables a new kind of network that is designed to virtually connect everyone and everything together including machines, objects, and devices

5G wireless technology is meant to deliver higher multi-Gbps peak data speeds, ultra-low latency, more reliability, massive network capacity, increased availability, and a more uniform user experience to more users

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, much attention has focused on 5G’s potential to support telehealth services, or doctor’s visits conducted via computer, which are helpful when physical distancing is required or when patients are located far from healthcare facilities

5G Rollout Timeline

As of January 2021, PwC reports that US mobile operators had collectively covered 75% of the country with 5G. Today, all major US cellular carriers are deploying 5G networks in major cities as they prepare for wider rollouts. The super-fast technology reached more customers this year than expected and will cover about 60% of the global population by 2026, according to a report from Ericsson. 

Okala is tracking 5G rollouts in real time and can be seen here.

Why 5G Matters For Healthcare Marketing

This POV covers four areas of particular importance for our industry: 

Telehealth Expansion

Why is it important for the healthcare industry?

Many people have turned to telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic and intend to continue seeking treatment online due to the accessibility.  5G allows for patients in rural areas to get treatment faster,  as well as increasing the speed for doctors to submit prescription requests online.

Faster network speeds and the quality of care will allow doctors to engage remotely with patients at home or in the field.  5G aids in relieving the worry of network blackouts, disconnections or lag time thus providing patients with better care.

Relevant applications

As telehealth expands, brands will need to incorporate this touchpoint into their ecosystem of promotions. Telehealth-specific doctor discussion guides as well as links on brand.com to finding telehealth providers that can help get patients on product faster.

Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)

 Why is it important for the healthcare industry?

With 5G-enabled wearable devices, healthcare providers can monitor patients remotely and gather real-time data for preventative care and other individually-tailored healthcare provisions

  • 86% of doctors agree that wearables increase patients’ engagement with their health1

  • Sensor Innovations in medical device technology will provide more medical gadgets to patients who can reliably measure and monitor their health from home. These do-it-yourself innovations in healthcare will calibrate, gather and validate data from trusted sensors. The data can then be transmitted to a variety of medical and health care professionals for analysis

Augmented and virtual reality

Relevant applications

  • Incorporation of RPM in chronic disease management allows for increased patient independence, which may improve patients’ quality of life and aid HCPs in monitoring progression by providing data that can assist in proactive treatment and  preemption of complications

  • Brands can help facilitate these beyond-the-pill benefits by providing resources to patients on appropriate wearable devices for their condition – or partnering with device manufacturers to create drug-specific wearables 

Why is it important for the healthcare industry?

  • Current AR and VR headsets are clunky and uncomfortable, and heavy amounts of processing power are needed that make it hard to slim them down. But low-latency 5G connections will allow glasses to communicate with a smartphone/cloud where the processing can happen. This means that users can tether a lightweight pair of glasses to the computing power of an in-pocket smartphone, making for a wearable and powerful AR/VR experience
  • Another solution: tethering a lightweight glasses/googles frame to the computing power of an in-pocket smartphone

  • Low-latency 5G connections will allow glasses to communicate not only with a smartphone, but also with a cloud, where the processing can happen – this can also enable location-specific effects2

Relevant applications

  • Hybrid Events: 5G events will offer more immersive, personalized experiences and allow for untethered creativity to take hold by abolishing many of the obstacles related to overcrowded venues – including future COVID scenarios.
  • Clinical applications: Therapeutic interventions through VR (including pain management, sensitization therapy) can be accomplished on a wider scale and expanded, helping provide additional value to patients within a brand’s existing patient list

HCP Training Capabilities

Why is it important for the healthcare industry?

HCP Training can be completed at a faster, more reliable level given the speed and processing ability that 5G provides. Larger files such as AR, VR, and videos can be consumed more efficiently and effectively due having the adequate streaming ability to withstand this immersive content. With lower latency, higher network capacities, and fast processing speeds, HCPs can retrieve vital information in a fraction of the time.

Relevant application

Given that 5G provides a more efficient interconnected experience, training can be held from virtually anywhere and can be supported on a multitude of devices and platforms. This presents the opportunity to innovate the ways that training is done and the different ways to engage HCPs in the learning experience.