In 2020 alone, the world will generate over 45 zetta bytes of data, increasing to over 175 zetta bytes by 2025. A large portion of this data would be generated by IoT devices, managed by cloud-based applications or platforms and consumed in real-time. The data explosion will further be compounded by the Connected Ecosystem our world is evolving towards with the combination of IoT and 5G technologies that improve the latency between connected devices.
The connected ecosystem, powered by four technology superpowers: Cloud, AI, IOT and Virtual network as the foundation, will open up multi-trillion dollar worth of new use cases, business models, products, and services serving many new markets in the next 5 years. Building resilient supply chains and commercial goods logistics management on a global scale in international transits, touch-less retail and commerce that provide customers redefined experiences, increasing acceptance for video surveillance and monitoring in manufacturing and healthcare are some of the largest areas where 5G is seeing rapid adoption.
The need for lower latency, lesser jitter, more bandwidth and cost-efficiency coerce telecom service providers to upgrade and transform their backbone networks and wireless infrastructures. Telco’s are developing cloud-based network components by increasingly acquiring and partnering with network technology firms and cloud providers to leverage their expertise in managing software functions, development, and deployment in an open virtualised software defined network construct.
5G as a unifying connecting fabric will allow organizations to develop new capabilities and applications competent in processing large amounts of data in near real-time, thus providing enormous business benefits across verticals/domains that are in search of new revenue streams and innovative business models. To achieve this, organizations are accelerating the convergence of the connected ecosystem and upcoming technologies such as video analytics, mixed reality, game theory, and facial recognition to create new experiences and improve positioning and market share. The connected ecosystem could be used along with Intelligent systems to pull telemetry data from its connected devices, massage it in data lakes, and use the AI tools on the cloud or peripheral systems like MEC to derive insights or action on intelligence that deliver these next gen experiences.
However, 5G could take several years to move through this hype period and penetrate deep enough to deliver consistent ROI. Challenges such as network densification, massive deployment costs, low penetration ability and range pose hurdles to the immediate realization of standalone 5G deployment. The near-term reality is LTE-A and non-standard 5G deployments. And enterprises need to factor this on a country wide basis, while strategizing the development and release of use cases, products, or services. The onus is on leading cloud providers to create the systems and the building blocks for these enterprises.
On the enterprise side, organizations need to simplify the management and assurance of cloud-based systems. Cloud providers, CSPs, and technology firms would implement advanced Intent based networks and security that can convert business intent into policy, improving service assurance, alerting when there are potential failure possibilities, and making the network better, smarter and safer.
For telco’s this means a fundamental shift in the way they function. The call to collaborate with cloud providers, technology giants, and 3GPP organization to competitively expand the 5G fabric and connect ecosystem has never been louder.
5G is a collaboration game in the truest sense. For organizations to maximize and harness the potential of 5G, technology providers need to approach the 5G network as a forum for innovation for new use cases and rapidly testing them with consumers and businesses. This would mean an increasing number of partnership and joint ventures that help approach innovation. Coming together of manufacturers for 5G compatible devices, 5G access and network providers, high-performance computing cloud services providers and start-ups offering distributed 5G Core capabilities in multiple permutations will see much of the innovation come to life.
While the potential on table is uncontested, to what extent companies can realize will depend on how holistically they look at 5G enabled transformation. Learnings and experiences from 4G roll outs can provide foundations to build blueprints for a robust strategy. Prioritizing the highest impact use cases with instant ROIs would go far and deep in driving adoptions on enterprise scale. Establishing the right partnerships early to collaborate and co-create differentiated 5G technologies will be critical as the CAPEX investments are expected be significant roadblocks.
Enterprises that develop technology roadmaps and product strategies that take into consideration the phased release of 5G standards, availability of telco and cloud building blocks, complexity of implementing these new 5G products and services and regulatory policies could improve revenues and attract market demand faster and snowball success.
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