The fifth generation of cellular technology is in the works—what do lawyers need to know about it? Dennis and Tom discuss the enhanced network capabilities we can expect to see and how these developments will spur new innovation. Conversely, they share the issues surrounding the rollout of this complex technology and advise consumers to wait before switching to 5G devices. In their second segment, they talk about LinkedIn’s Showcase Pages and how lawyers can use them to share more tailored content with targeted audiences.
As always, stay tuned for the parting shots, that one tip, website, or observation you can use the second the podcast ends.
Have a technology question for Dennis and Tom? Call their Tech Question Hotline at 720-441-6820 for answers to your most burning tech questions.
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The Kennedy-Mighell Report
The Coming of the 5G Networking Standard
Intro: Web 2.0, Innovation, Trend, Collaboration, Software, Metadata… Got the world turning as fast as it can, hear how technology can help, legally speaking with two of the top legal technology experts, authors and lawyers, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell. Welcome to The Kennedy-Mighell Report here on the Legal Talk Network.
Dennis Kennedy: And welcome to Episode #243 of The Kennedy-Mighell Report. I am Dennis Kennedy in Ann Arbor.
Tom Mighell: And I am Tom Mighell in Dallas. Before we get started, we would like to thank our sponsors.
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Dennis Kennedy: In our last episode we discussed unconferences and my recent experience at Failure Camp and Unconference at Vanderbilt Law School, which was anything but a failure in my opinion.
In this episode we thought the time was ripe to talk about a new technology on the horizon or maybe even closer than the horizon, what it is and what it might mean to us as a practical matter. What comes after 4G, why 5G of course.
Tom, what’s all on our agenda for this episode?
Tom Mighell: Well Dennis, in this edition of The Kennedy-Mighell Report we will indeed be discussing the coming of the 5G Networking Standard. In our second segment we will talk about LinkedIn’s showcase pages and how you might be able to use them, and as usual we will finish up with our parting shots, that one tip, website, or observation that you can start to use the second that this podcast is over.
But first up, 5G, if you pay any attention to tech news or even to the latest phones rolling out from some of the major vendors, you will have learned that a 5G network is in the works. And if you believe them it’s ready to drop for everyone very, very soon and you should go out and buy a 5G phone immediately today.
It seems that it was only a couple of years ago when we were touting 4G is the next big thing in network technology and here we are, we are already talking about 5G. And so in this episode we thought we would take a look at what’s coming and figure out what lawyers need to know about it.
So Dennis, why don’t you kick it off and tell us a little bit about what 5G stands for and what it means.
Dennis Kennedy: Well Tom, 5G means the Fifth Generation Cellular Network technology. It became accepted, that term, in 2018, and technically it means anything using the 5G NR standard, which means Fifth Generation New Radio. So it is that next step beyond 5G and it promises all kinds of super fantastic things.
So Tom, what are some of the super unbelievable things we will get with 5G?
Tom Mighell: Well, I mean that’s an excellent question, what will we be able to get with 5G. There are a lot of people, a lot of experts saying that we are going to be able to do some really amazing things with 5G, but nobody really goes into detail about them.
I mean you mentioned a podcast that we listen to; we both really like the IRL, In Real Life Podcast and we highly recommend it. And there is a recent episode on 5G that had someone talking about the fact that you could have a surgeon who was in another country or across the country and they weren’t able to come to you to conduct surgery, but that 5G would enable them to operate on you remotely and that the speeds would be so fast that there would be no lag time that actually would enable them to operate on you remotely, which is still a little terrifying to me to think about somebody operating on me from that far away. But I suppose that’s one example of the amazing things that it can do.
I think that the way that I — that I want to think about it is, if you want to think about what 4G did and then multiply that by a whole, whole, whole lot, I mean just think about a couple of the things that 4G made possible, they seem pretty negligible now. 4G made it possible to stream music instead of downloading it. Before 4G, we had to download music to our phones or our iPods or whatever and listen to it that way. 4G was fast enough so that we could stream music, we could stream movies, it was easier to do. 4G made it possible to store our photos in the cloud, store big documents and transfer big things.
Multiply that by 5G, you will be able to instead of now the latest virtual reality technology, to be able to use it you have got to put something on your phone and then use it with VR goggles or you have got to have a special computer that has lots of computing power. 5G will enable you to stream virtual reality rather than just downloading it somewhere.
So it really is that fast and that powerful and I think it’s understandable that people are sort of excited about the possibilities, because it’s about time that we thought about new innovation. We have done as much as we can with 4G technology, now let’s think about the things we can do with 5G and a lot of people are starting to think about that.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah, I guess Tom it is going to be faster. I mean that’s a big part of the idea. Now, how much faster is a little bit trickier. The podcast we listened to they did just a one-time test just to show and actually the 5G was a little bit slower than the 4G for the downloading of a Netflix video than the 4G network was, but that could vary from day to day.
So it could be like 100 times faster sometimes, about the same, depending on a lot of different factors. So there is the speed they are talking about. AT&T says it’s going to create a whole new kind of network that will be not only faster, but it’s smarter and able to respond, as you said Tom, in close to real time with no really diminished latency where you can start to do things in real time.
And so the notion is that 5G will replace the existing networks over time or at least augment for a while your 4G connection. So that’s what we are looking for.
And I guess the other thing is that we are also running out of 4G bandwidth so we need something else.
So there is a lot of pluses. The question right now Tom is whether it’s all marketing talk or whether 5G is real yet, because it’s actually been rolled out only very, very recently.
Tom Mighell: Well, it’s rolled out recently. I think AT&T has got the broadest coverage right now, but Sprint has rolled out some, Verizon has rolled out some; in London they have rolled out 5G to London, which is I think a good market to have it in, because it’s very dense, it’s easy to get through it.
I think as you indicate, it has the potential to be very, very fast. Early testing of Verizon’s network showed that there was 1 gigabyte per second download speed where phones on 4G were getting only about 20 megabytes per second. I mean that’s 50 times faster.
But as you point out, in another test they basically got the same download speeds as 4G did, which I think right now is a testament to — there is really I think two reasons why 5G is really not completely ready for prime time. And the first one is that 5G has terrible range, it has horrible, awful range and very tiny geographic coverage as a result. So in order to make 5G work well, if you see those cellphone repeater towers, you have got to have those in a much more concentrated area. You have to have a whole lot more of them just to cover an area.
I think that the podcast you and I were listening to was talking about, I forget, it was on the magnitude of 4000 or 5000, that San Jose was going to deploy 4000 or 5000 different of these repeaters in order to blanket the city with coverage, so very hard to do that.
But then the other problem is that right now the silicon that’s required to connect to these types of networks are nowhere near as energy efficient or space efficient as 4G technology, and what that means for practical reasons is, is that you are going to wind up with devices that have less than optimal battery life, that are thicker than usual.
So for example on AT&T, they claim that you can use 5G phones on there, but right now the only device that actually connects to their 5G network, in my knowledge, is a mobile hotspot that looks like a big hockey puck. It’s so thick. And 4G mobile hotspots, to the extent that anybody uses them anymore, are very thin streamlined.
And so it’s going to have a big effect on what your devices look like, because to get the kind of battery life and the kind of coverage that you need, they are going to be slightly different devices, although there have been a couple of phones that have come out that really haven’t changed that much.
But those are two I think major challenges that are going to at least — it really shows that it’s still too early right now I think for 5G to really take flight in terms of with the average customer.
Dennis Kennedy: Well, and I think that one thing to me that’s interesting Tom is that when you think about we need shorter range, so you need more antennas, but the antennas and the repeaters are just going to be a lot smaller and with the shorter range. So it’s a different type of approach.
I also like the fact that 5G can support up to a million devices per square kilometer, which is way up from the 100,000 devices per square kilometer, and I think that points us to one of the real perceived benefits at this time of 5G, which is Internet of Things, and other networking uses, critical communications, maybe less so than our personal devices.
So there are a number of difficulties. It’s crazy interesting technology when you just think about the idea of how much data you are running over the open air through these things, and all the things that have to go right for this stuff to work. To me, it’s really, really amazing, but because this is new infrastructure, I think, and at the shorter range it does cause some problems in wherever it makes sense, in the big dense cities. But once you get out into the rural area, which already has the broadband — like a broadband issue, I am not sure how much it’s going to help.
Tom Mighell: Well, it makes sense in the big cities, but only the big cities that have coverage, because the stories that I have read, I know I say coverage, I mean equal coverage across the entire area, because they have literally reported that you could have great service in one street and then go a block later and your service completely drops out, which I think shows how far it still has to go.
And when you think about that level of coverage, you have to realize that that level of coverage is never going to get to rural areas, it’s just not. It’s just not possible, it’s not practical, and it’s just not going to happen.
And so I worry that — well, I think that to a certain extent rural areas have always been left out of high-speed Internet anyway. I mean when I am out in rural areas I see lots of advertising for satellite Internet, which is really the only way that people can get to it. So I don’t know that 5G is necessarily going to destroy things for the people for whom 4G was working just fine out in those rural areas, because I don’t hear that it happens a lot. I mean on the podcast we listened to the person couldn’t even get a cellphone coverage at their own house, they were so far out.
So I sort of see to a certain extent 5G kind of maybe broadening the gap between the urban and the rural areas in terms of Internet technology, but I do agree, what it can do and what it will be able to do once it’s optimized, once they work the kinks out, once they fix some of the things they are working on, once they get better equipment and more efficient equipment, pretty amazing. The kind of things that we thought 4G would be were pretty amazing in their time and for what they did, I think 5G will just be that, a great deal more than what 4G was.
Dennis Kennedy: So where is it at you might be wondering? So as of April 2019, there were 224 operators in 88 countries actively investing in 5G, so that means that they are at least doing field trials.
South Korea was first in April 2019 and they now have a million subscribers. There has definitely been large quantities of new spectrum allocated to 5G, which may cause its own issues as it gets — because it’s closer to some other areas of spectrum and we will touch on that in a minute.
In the US, it looks to me, doing a quick count, that 5G is now available in 22 cities, including Tom, Dallas, so does that mean you are already thinking about 5G?
Tom Mighell: Again, it’s available on AT&T, and AT&T doesn’t actually provide it for a phone, or it will provide it for a 5G phone, but we will talk a little bit later that that’s essentially meaningless at this point in time, because if you have paid attention to the news, AT&T actually put a 5G logo in the upper corner of your smartphone to make you think that you were actually on a 5G network, but actually they were pretending that its most advanced 4G LTE network was 5G.
So no, no 5G phones for me here in Dallas and nobody is touting it here in Dallas, nobody talks about it.
What I think is interesting, you talk about the other countries, my understanding is that China is actually further ahead on 5G than we are and I have been seeing some stories that describe 5G as being a race, like it’s a competitive advantage. And one of the companies in the world that actually has a lot of equipment that is 5G compatible and farther ahead than most companies ironically is Huawei, and if you have been paying attention to the news, Huawei is not on the US’ list of favored companies, because they believe that they are kind of an agent of the Chinese Government, and so they at one point said, don’t do business with Huawei.
They have kind of backed down on that, but they still are not big fans of the company, which is a shame, because based on what I know about phones, actually Huawei makes one of the best phones out there these days that I would get my hands on immediately if they were able to sell in the United States.
But that said, we are I think not necessarily playing catch up, but I think that other countries are probably doing a little bit more. Like I said, London has rolled it out in a lot more — it’s been a more substantial roll out than any of the cities that they have had here. I just think that the US is maybe lagging a little bit behind in catching up on 5G.
Dennis Kennedy: So there are some concerns about 5G and some of it is, as you might expect, it’s a complex technology, so there is a question about how well it will work and what sort of surprises we might find as it rolls out. There has definitely been some concern about interference, like you said, with relative closeness to other spectrum areas, and then with these — with some of these shorter wavelength transmissions, there has been concerns about their ability to get through walls and then also whether weather will have more of an impact than people might expect.
Already people are concerned about potential health issues caused by the 5G waves and whether those have been tested out enough, some people think it opens up whole new areas of cybersecurity issues, especially as you go to the Internet of Things all connected to the Internet and no conversation about any technology these days would be complete without talking about people’s concerns of new ways that they could be subject to surveillance through new technology.
But Tom, I think it is worth me asking your thoughts about one of the things that was discussed at length in the IRL podcast we mentioned, which is the digital divide and what role 5G might play in possibly making that worse.
Tom Mighell: Well, actually let me come back real quick to a couple of your — one of the concerns that you mentioned and then one other one that I don’t think that we have thought through clearly enough. One of them is the health issue and I found this was very interesting, because the FTC recently did an announcement that there is no compelling evidence that 5G radio waves are dangerous, they are a higher frequency than the radio waves that are used for 4G, and this is something that I was not completely aware of, but they say that 5G radio waves are still part of the spectrum that does not cause damage to human DNA.
I didn’t know that at a certain level radio waves at a high frequency cause damage to human DNA. I guess I supposed that a microwave or things like that, that there would be waves that could do that, but it didn’t really occur to me that radio waves that were part of a phone could do that. But the FTC has come out and said no cause for concern.
The one concern that I do have is with great speed comes great data usage and the people who have used 5G networks report, just using — one person was just doing tests and they used 30 gigs in an hour, and I would imagine that when things finally do settle down, carriers are going to really have to rethink what their unlimited plans look like and how much they are going to charge for unlimited data, because that’s going to be a whole lot of data. And maybe it’s because it’s so fast and because the bandwidth is there, maybe it will — that they will be able to keep the prices in line, but that’s going to result in a huge increase in the consumption of data all over the place.
Now, come back real quickly to the digital divide issue that you talked about, what I found interesting about the IRL podcast that we listened to is talking about how there is a divide with the elite areas, the areas that can afford technology versus the areas that may not be able to afford technology, and understanding that those who maybe rely on a mobile device as their movie screen or something that they use as their all the time computer.
Some families and some offices and some people have the wherewithal to have Fiber in their home and have a TV that they can watch all the streaming services at screaming fast speeds but not everybody has that and they rely on what they’ve got on their telephone to be able to get to that multimedia.
And I think that that’s one of the bigger concerns that I’m seeing with 5G is whether or not everybody will have the same level of access to it to be able to benefit from it, especially those who actually probably would use it more because that’s their only way of getting to the information that they might need that’s online.
Dennis Kennedy: So one of the things I’m interested in is something called fixed location 5G, which may be an option for people to get faster networking and Internet connections inside your house, especially if you don’t have Fiber in your area. So that’s something to consider.
I know, Tom, that I found a really good summary on a website called digitaltrends.com, so if you go to www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/what-is-5G, there’s a really nice summary especially if people want to dig into technology which of course, Tom, you and I kind of glossed over some of the most technical details.
So I guess the question is, although I’m truly excited about what can happen with the Internet of Things in 5G, which I think will ultimately be its best shoes, and I think I know your answer to this question, Tom, but why don’t we wrap it up by saying do we either of us think there’s anything we need to do about 5G right now?
Tom Mighell: Well, so I’ll talk in terms of devices. There are at least 10 phones now that support 5G networks, but almost everyone is unanimous that it is too early to buy a 5G phone. I mean — and for those of you who live in the Apple world, Apple is sitting out 5G until next year at the very earliest.
So if that’s a message then listen to that message. Coverage is still too spotty, the upload speeds are not actually 5G, they’re limited to 4G LTE speed. Everybody that I’ve seen recommends waiting on the next generation of the 5G phone modems, they’ll be better, more and better coverage and network improvements in order to get that done.
So I think pay attention to it, see that they understand the benefits and that when it comes, it should be good, but I still think from the way that it’s going to impact most people and that’s the devices that they use, still too early.
Dennis Kennedy: So, for me there’s two things. What is the price going to be and am I going to pay extra for what 5G is giving me because it seems like my cell bill goes up all the time, so the benefits of technology don’t drive the price down as they do in some other areas.
So price is key and then I think that for the listeners to show I take that to the extent you haven’t already started think about Internet of Things. 5G really gives you a reason to start thinking about Internet of Things.
Tom Mighell: So, I will only say in my wrap-up that I’ve been watching a series on HBO recently that takes place over the course of the next 10 years or a little bit more, 10 to 12 years and in that series they make repeated reference to the 6G network that actually lives in your walls that you can just talk and you’re talking to the network.
And in a tweet earlier this year, the President stated I want 5G and even 6G technology in the United States as soon as possible. So it’s only a matter of time, folks, before we onto the next new thing. So 5G will be here for everybody I think sooner than we imagine.
Before we move onto our next segment, let’s take a quick break for a message from our sponsors.
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Tom Mighell: And now let’s get back to The Kennedy-Mighell Report, I’m Tom Mighell.
Dennis Kennedy: And I am Dennis Kennedy. This segment we want to talk about something way less technical, but it’s something new I’ve been trying out on LinkedIn; LinkedIn Showcase Pages. So Allison Shields and I are finishing up our new LinkedIn book and I started experimenting with something LinkedIn is calling Showcase Pages, and I’m really excited about their potential.
So, Tom, I think it makes sense for me to start on this one, don’t you?
Tom Mighell: Take it away. I agree.
Dennis Kennedy: So LinkedIn has always offered something called Company Pages, which you can use to talk about your business so you can have a profile for your business, you can do updates, you can list jobs, you can provide other information and it’s that sort of business concept.
If you had a law firm you would have like the company page would be your LinkedIn presence. So, the Showcase Pages are an interesting variation off of that. So you can do up to ten of these and it’s sort of like if you want to highlight a new practice area or something that you’re doing, you can create a showcase page.
And it’s sort of simple, I think they actually has — the feature are too limited at this point, I would like to see more, but they’re sort of rolling out and you don’t see a lot of use of them yet, but I started to experiment with it myself and I really like it because I can do a company page for my new company and then I can do the showcase pages to talk about certain services I’m doing or my books or my speaking or other things like that and kind of highlight those things and I can do regular updates, each of those showcase pages can find their own audience.
And I take advantage of the LinkedIn network and then I can do links from my web page to the LinkedIn Showcase Pages and it just gives me like another platform into the LinkedIn world that allows me to, as it says, to showcase certain services.
So, Tom, I don’t know whether you’ve got the chance to look at my showcase pages or other ones, but what are your thoughts on the showcase page at least the concept of it?
Tom Mighell: Well, so the thing that actually surprised me the most about the Showcase Page is that it’s not a new thing. I had never heard of Showcase Pages and so when you mentioned you wanted to talk about it I went to do some research and I found references to them at least it back as far as five years ago that there have been showed.
It sounds like they’ve been around for a while anyway or at least I’m finding references to them anyway. I think they’re a terrific idea because especially for companies, for law firms, for practices even individuals if you — I think of a large firm that has a LinkedIn presence but they are general practice firm and they have litigation and they have commercial and they have immigration law and they have all sorts of different areas of practice. There are a lot of people who might be interested just in following along with what that firm does in that particular area, and a Showcase Page is a great way to segregate that from other things. So they say, you know, I’m only interested in what this practice does in this particular area. I’m going to subscribe to the Showcase Page or I’m going to visit that.
And then they don’t have to go and pay attention to the other stuff that doesn’t matter. I mean it looks like these Showcase Pages kind of have the same functionality as your regular LinkedIn profile and then they can all sort of link back on your primary LinkedIn page, you can have as many as you want.
So I really like the idea of being able to segregate out so that people who don’t want all the noise to the extent that it is noise that they don’t want to be distracted from things they’re not interested in, you can provide a dedicated page that only contains what somebody wants and it’s fairly simple and easy for you to kind of maintain that wheel and spoke approach or that hub-and-spoke approach that your LinkedIn page is the hub and then maybe you’ve got some showcase pages as the spokes. I think it’s a very smart idea to provide your message in a different way.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah, so there is the limit of 10 currently, I would expect that that might go up, and Tom, from your reaction I’m suspecting our listeners might see a Kennedy-Mighell Report showcase page in not-too-distant future.
So now it’s time for our parting shots, that one tip website or observation you can use the second the podcast ends. Tom, take it away.
Tom Mighell: All right, so I will never deny that I talk about Google things too much in my parting shots but I could not resist talking about this.
I was on vacation in July, I took a lot of pictures that I really enjoyed, I came back, and actually I didn’t even really come back, I was on my way back and I opened up my iPad and I pressed the button about making a photo book and I selected about 40 pictures that I thought were sort of the best pictures that I had. I selected hardcover, I selected one of the pictures that I thought was the absolute best and I put it on the cover and within five days I had a hardcover photo book that was just so simple to use.
I know that there’s lots of services out there that provide photo books and things like that, but the fact that I can do it just from my camera roll indirectly with Google Photos to me is a little magical and then I was able to pick what I wanted, design the way that I wanted to, and order it all within about, it took me 15 minutes to do it, all within Google Photos, very high quality book. I really enjoyed it.
Not terribly expensive, I think for the 40 photos it was about a $36 book in hardcover, you can also get softcover as well. I think it’s a great option for those of you using Google Photo Books.
Dennis Kennedy: How big is the book and how big are the photos?
Tom Mighell: Well, the photos you can actually they come in — they organize themselves in different ways. The book itself is probably about, oh, I’d say it’s about 8×8, it’s kind of a square book, it’s about an 8 inch × 8 inch book and you can organize the photos however you want and they come in different sizes on the page.
So, some will have a border around it, some will take up the entire page, but you can tell how you want the pages to line up and how — whether you want the photo to stretch throughout the whole page or I kind of let Google do its own thing and I’m always satisfied with the result.
Dennis Kennedy: So my parting shot is I guess a little bit self-promotional but it’s free for people who are listening. So I’ve been working on two book projects this summer the one that people don’t know about is going to be called Successful Innovation Outcomes in Law and could be out by the time even that if you’re listening to this podcast.
In connection with that, I put together a set of tips based on the book and the book is really my attempt to put together a whole practical guide for innovation programs in innovation projects in law and kind of capture everything I’ve learned over the years.
So I put together 57 tips from that book, it’s a free PDF download, it’s a bit of a teaser for the book, but I think it stands on its own. I’ve got a really good response to people who like the tips. So you could find it, there’s a Bitly address to shorten it but it’s a bit.ly/2KiZOKI, and that will take you to the free download. Otherwise, you can go to my website and you’ll see a blog post about it if for some reason that Bitly link is not working for you, and it’s free. It’s my little effort to make the world of law a little more innovative. So I’d be happy for you to download that and see if it helps you.
Tom Mighell: And it’s a great read, definitely worth the download. So that wraps it up for this edition of The Kennedy-Mighell Report. Thanks for joining us on the podcast. You can find show notes for this episode at tkmreport.com.
If you like what you hear, please subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or on the Legal Talk Network site, where you can find archives of all of our previous podcasts along with transcripts. If you’d like to get in touch with us, please reach out to us on LinkedIn, perhaps in the future on our Showcase Page or leave us a voicemail. The voicemail number is (720)441-6820. That’s (720)441-6820.
So, until the next podcast, I am Tom Mighell.
Dennis Kennedy: And I am Dennis Kennedy, and you have been listening to The Kennedy-Mighell Report, a podcast on legal technology with an Internet focus.
If you liked what you heard today, please rate us in Apple Podcasts, and we will see you next time for another episode of The Kennedy-Mighell Report on the Legal Talk Network.
Outro: Thanks for listening to The Kennedy-Mighell Report. Check out Dennis and Tom’s book, ‘The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together’ from ABA Books or Amazon, and join us every other week for another edition of The Kennedy-Mighell Report, only on the Legal Talk Network.