What’s needed to turn 5G network tech into enterprise services

MWC Insider Blog

Post date

February 6, 2020

By Marco Contento, VP Technologies, Telit

What do we need to do to turn 5G network technology into services for businesses and industries?  We can all see the potential behind the innovative capabilities being developed for networks today – such as network slicing, edge computing and so much more – but turning that potential into ‘easy to buy’ enterprise services requires some innovative and collaborative thinking.

There’s no doubt that 5G technology could revolutionise the relationship between operators and enterprises – but there’s also a huge leap between having a technical capability and delivering a commercially successful enterprise service. What’s more, in terms of getting this right, the stakes for the telecoms industry have arguably never been higher. Next generation 5G networks have been designed from the outset with the delivery of a range of complex services in mind, they are being deployed at great cost, and they will not deliver the appropriate return on that investment simply by providing enhanced mobile broadband services for consumers.

It’s no surprise that among the most talked-about applications of the new network technology are its ability to deliver an exponential growth in massive IoT deployments, and also to facilitate the critical machine-led applications in robotics and automation enabled by Release 16 of 5G which supports URLLC. The good news is that, as things stand today, much of the demand for those deployments is out there waiting to be served.  What’s missing, is much of the ecosystem to support that demand. 

The fact is that the networks, the chipsets, the devices, and the operating systems required to put together these services are all at different stages of their lifecycle and availability.  An enterprise trying to deploy a 5G-ready IoT system today is looking at a complex project not an off-the-shelf product.

To unleash that 5G power for the enterprise, this situation has to change, and we also have to learn some of the lessons of the recent past. Pretty much every generation of mobile technology has suffered issues in terms of scaling up to meet demand; and the service provider community has also suffered when OTT companies have exploited the vacuum and delivered direct services to customers that marginalise operator revenues. 

Given the size of the investment in 5G networks, operators need to act now to stop history repeating itself. But of course, operators cannot do all this by themselves, and at this point in the 5G lifecycle they need to be working with the right partners to make things easier for their potential customers.

Successfully delivering enterprise solutions will be about true collaboration and forming partnerships that can put all the elements together: Creating devices with connectivity and security built-in; building an operating environment that makes it easy to scale and manage the eco-system; and working together to deliver a product that is simple to buy, operate, maintain and expand. 

We have been doing work with our partners and collaborators across the world to deliver large-scale IoT projects for major global events, or to provide support across complex industrial facilities, or to businesses across a wide range of sectors including Oil and Gas, public transportation, and smart building and City systems. It’s time to stop talking about the potential for 5G network services within the enterprise market and start collaborating to build products and solutions that enterprises can easily buy. We need to move beyond the hype and start fulfilling the potential.

Fine more details on Marco here.

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