Feature Story

Music experiences transform with Wi-Fi 6 and 5G

by Stephanie Chan

Music experiences transform with Wi-Fi 6 and 5G

Decades after the Walkman, new mobile technology changes the way we hear music.

Music technology has had dramatic developments since the Walkman was released 40 years ago. Sony released the portable cassette player on July 1, 1979, letting people go where they wanted with the music they wanted to hear. The CD arrived in 1982, MP3s came in 1995, and the iPod was released in 2001, but today’s newest music technology is all about mobility. Much like when the cassette player finally went portable, so too are the newest mobile innovations revolutionizing the music industry. With plenty of music being streamed these days, Wi-Fi 6 and 5G will make music truly go wherever you are.

Wi-Fi 6 is a new, primarily-indoor network technology that provides wireless connectivity to places like arenas, stadiums, and convention centers. 5G is wireless networking for mainly-outdoors, granting new speeds in places like cars and trains. Together, these two technologies will make your mobile connectivity seamless as you move throughout your day. What this also means is that streaming music will become seamless as well.

See also: Cisco Wi-Fi makes fans feel like the real VIPs at Bottlerock

A recent Nielsen report revealed that music streaming services have delivered a record breaking half a trillion on-demand streams in the first half of 2019. The same report shows video streaming grew from 124.7 billion streams in 2018 to 174.2 billion streams in 2019. The future of mobility could make these numbers climb even higher, allowing people to stream everywhere, and enhancing the immersive experiences you can get on video streams.

Cisco VP of Worldwide Enterprise Networking Sales Gordon Thomson believes that Wi-Fi 6 and 5G will also change how we experience live entertainment in the future.

“With the combination of Wi-Fi 6 and 5G, everything will be about the ‘experience’ of the end user, and the value to business.” says Thomson, "We expect Wi-Fi 6 and 5G to have a massive impact on business creating business value in the way 4G created social value. The seamless transfer of connectivity between indoor and outdoor makes things like events, theme parks, movie theaters, and concerts an opportunity to innovate and make event-experiences a reality, benefitting both the user, the artist and the venue. Imagine if you were going to see Beyoncé, and the day leading up to the concert you were fed a playlist to get you in the mood. As you arrive in the arena you are located on your phone and directed to the clothing concessions, the nearest food concession and then your seat. The constant connectivity will provide the value of data about the users’ likes and dislikes while allowing multi-purpose software to guide the user to a variety of purchasing opportunities. After the concert, you are sent a recorded thank you message from Beyoncé as you walk to your car…priceless. That is the kind of experience we can expect the new wireless connectivity to provide.”

Wireless technology will have a positive change beyond music as well—educators will be able to reenact history with students and surgeons will practice procedures with VR. The immersive experiences are limitless with the increased bandwidth and lower latency of mobility’s latest technologies.

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