Latency: What it is and why it matters to the next generation of technological advancement

How do professional baseball players hit a 100 mph fastball? Consider that there’s a 100 millisecond delay between seeing an object with the eye and processing that information in the brain. By the time the eye can actually see the path of the ball and process the necessary information to swing the bat, the ball should be past the batter and safely in the catcher’s mitt. The short answer is, exceptional athletes don’t wait to see the ball. Research shows that neurological activity in the V5 region of the visual cortex essentially enables them to “see” something that hasn’t happened yet…

Increasingly, however, in arenas like telesurgery, intelligent transportation systems, and remote-controlled robots, latency isn’t just frustrating, it can be critical. Certainly, display technology—including resolution and refresh rates—continues to improve, which reduces lag times. But more responsive, more reliable data transmission promised by future 5G technologies are what’s needed for the latency-critical services that will shape our future.