What Will 5G Technology Bring to Association Meetings and Events?

What Will 5G Technology Bring to Association Meetings and Events?

If you’ve been reading about 2020 trends, you’ve no doubt heard about impending 5G mobile speeds. This technology has become a business buzzword and has been touted as the next step in meetings and conferences.

If you’re not sure what 5G is or how it will affect your association, we’re here to explain it. Eventually, 5G will become the gold standard, so it’s to your organization’s benefit to understand it and figure out how to use it for your benefit.

What is 5G technology?

The term “5G” stands for “fifth generation” wireless technology, a step up from 4G, which most people are still using today. The 5G iteration will bring lightning-fast downloads, improved connectivity with motor vehicles, and seamless interaction with the Internet of Things (IoT). Because it radically improves speed, 5G will carry augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to the mainstream, with low latency and reduced costs.

How is 5G being rolled out?

Because 5G technology requires an upgrade in infrastructure to handle its demands, it is not being rolled out uniformly across the US. Depending on your mobile provider, you can find 5G in only the largest cities right now, like New York and Los Angeles, with pockets of 5G in other urban micro areas, such as universities and commerce centers.

It is anticipated that it will take at least several years for 5G technology to become routine in major cities and even longer for it to reach more rural areas. Meanwhile, 5G will interface with 4G and Wi-Fi until the transition is complete. It’s worth noting that 5G Wi-Fi isn’t an entity, as 5G and Wi-Fi use different technology and are overseen by two different bodies.

What does 5G bring to meetings and events?

The new 5G technology will impact meetings and events in numerous ways:

  • Allow for huge events with thousands of attendees without systems crashing
  • Make travel and hospitality more comfortable, with better mobile service in high-density locations
  • Provide an immersive experience for attendees, with virtual keynote speakers and AR/VR demos
  • Improve security with faster notifications


How can your association capitalize on 5G right now?

If you’re eager to have your association reap the benefits of 5G technology, there are multiple ways to do so. The first, obviously, would be to plan conferences in cities that offer 5G. Since most organizations schedule meetings well in advance of their actual dates, it pays to stay abreast of the 5G rollout, in order to learn which cities and hosting sites are picking up the new technology.

You can also follow events in these locales to see how early adopters of 5G technology fare. You’ll want to read reviews or perhaps attend a few events yourself to see if problems occur, so you can learn from others’ mistakes.

The period between now and the completion of the 5G rollout will have some bumps, and your association will need to negotiate them. Consider questions like:

  • When will your offices need to switch from a Wi-Fi-based communication system to one operating on 5G? Would it be wise to relocate your headquarters or switch to a virtual office?
  • How will your audio-visual needs change as a result of having 5G available for your meetings?
  • Is your membership ready for 5G technology? A younger membership base will probably embrace it wholeheartedly. But if your membership is considerably older or your field a low-tech one, you may find resistance. Not everyone will rush out to buy 5G mobile devices (remember when smartphones were thought to be an extravagant expense?).


Of course, you can also take advantage of 5G’s slow introduction to US markets. Until the technology becomes ubiquitous, some cities will be considered less desirable to host events if they’re still on 4G. As venue and hotel prices drop in these locales, associations that don’t need 5G technology can enjoy meeting for less and pass on the savings to their members.

If your association is already challenged by the 5G question or struggling with other issues, Jaffe Management is here to help. Reach out today to learn how we can assist your group with meeting and event service and much more.