5G, the new generation of wireless networks, could spell the end of companies’ need for physical offices, according to a panel of experts at the 2019 Fast Company Innovation Festival.

Tatyana Bellamy-Walker, Inc.com; November 6, 2019.

Thanks to 5G networks, one day businesses will no longer have physical offices at all.

Instead, in-person interaction between employees will be replaced by holographic meetings, said experts in a Tuesday panel discussion held at New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology.

The event, entitled “Transforming Industry: Creative Collaboration in a 5G World,” was part of the 2019 Fast Company Innovation Festival.

The benefits of 5G networks extend well beyond just mobile devices. The wireless technology promises to make everything from cloud computing to video streaming faster and cheaper.

That means business owners will be able to perform the full range of their work from almost anywhere.

“5G networks are going to create a world of nomads,” said Theodore Schachter, chairperson of advertising and marketing at FIT and founder of the marketing firm Wolf Prey Advisors.

At the same time, widespread adoption of 5G will make it easier for entrepreneurs to collaborate and establish (virtual) communities.

The retail industry has an opportunity to take advantage of improvements in customer data afforded by the improved technology. “It will allow the brick-and-mortar experience to finally compete with the web and online experience,” Schachter said.

“AR, VR, and 5G will allow stores to know the shopper in context. For example, why are they shopping? Are they shopping for a first date, an anniversary?”

The panelists also warned, however, that increased access to customer data likely will lead to heightened concern about security and privacy.

Michael Caralis, the director of public sales and operations at Verizon, called 5G the “fourth industrial revolution” that will streamline production for retailers.

“The network will be faster than our brains,” he said. “As you add capabilities and features to technology you drive down the costs and make everything easier to connect over time.”