PARTNER NEWS: 5G moves from hype to commercial reality

Author: Sales Force Europe

Sales Force Europe — sales team outsourcing and lead generation for tech companies aiming to go global — has spent over a decade attending Mobile World Congress. Each year we get to see what both network giants and telco scale-ups are up to. Lately that has broadened to include not just your mobile phone, but any and all connected devices. In fact, besides a few niche devices like the foldable phone, the 2019 Mobile World Congress paid little mind to the connection in your pocket. Rebranded this year as ‘MWC Barcelona’, Europe’s largest tech conference has realised that the potential isn’t in necessarily a single device but in the connections made.

This year’s Mobile World Congress was described in two words — ‘Intelligent Connectivity’. We could’ve just described it in two letters — 5G. OK, maybe it was the combination of seven letters — 5G, AI, and IoT.

You couldn’t walk past two stands without 5G shouting at you from brightly coloured banners. MWC knows that the promise of 5G won’t be delivered on the omnipresent screens — we can do just about anything we want to do for personal use with 4G. 5G will deliver that intelligent connectivity to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT or Internet 4.0) with a combination of high-speed connection and artificial intelligence (AI).

There was even the first 5G to direct surgery live on stage at this year’s event — with the surgeon in charge over three miles away.

Last year saw the first major 5G spectrum auctions around Europe as operators continue to vie to be the first to offer this major fix to bandwidth and latency issues. Deutsche Telekom and its T-Mobile already have 5G rolled out around major German cities. This year will see the first 30 or 40 5G networks launching worldwide.

After years of investment in research, pilot programs, and betas, 5G has been standardised and this year’s Mobile World Congress finally showed it in fruition with enabled devices, services and solutions.

So beyond Pokemon Go parties, what could a future of 5G empower? Today we share wisdom heard in the halls of Fira and from some of our awesome clients to talk about the true potential of this rapid connectivity.

Collaboration will drive 5G partnerships

Like augmented reality gaming, 5G delivers when you combine the data and power of a lot of devices doing high levels of processing, like video streaming or real-time machine learning. 5G is what will build the next-gen connected city. It’s the swarms of drones responding to an isolating natural disaster or self-driving cars moving around a work campus. 5G will change the way industry and utilities work, optimising many maintenance, monitoring, and research and development tasks.

Since the benefit of 5G doesn’t come from things in isolation, it’s logical that its success will come from collaborative partnerships. 5G is the biggest driver to date of public-private technological ecosystems. This collaboration will be essential to the widespread adoption of flexile, scalable, and programmable network architecture that will make 5G a commercial reality.

Interoperability partnerships between hardware and software will continue to be what actually adds value to the next-stage of the Internet of Things. 5G will create the speed and devices and the AI solutions built on top of them will be what actually makes it useful.

5G in the real world

Once we are out of any beta stage, focus shifts to three things:

  • Security
  • Stability
  • Quality

We are looking forward to learning more about the security challenges that will rise from and be solved by 5G-driven innovation. 5G will certainly create greater stability via high-speed connections. But what we are most excited about in 5G is how it will affect the quality of all experiences, from industry to customers to users.

With a name like Interop Technologies, it’s no surprise this company has spent years at MWC touting the benefits of interoperability, standardisation and collaboration, talking about how billions of devices and mobile solutions will connect to the network. Interop is an industry-leading, standards-based, GSMA-accredited provider for all stages of RCS — rich communication services, which will take messaging to a whole new level of connectedness. Interop predicts that RCS will play a strategic role in how consumers and businesses interact with IoT, AI, Chatbots and future technologies within a wide range of industries. For this reason, Interop is currently upgrading its virtualization infrastructure to accommodate the network performance optimization required by 5G verticals, including those for RCS and other mobile services that will enable future innovation and new revenue streams for mobile operators.

One area we are really excited about is how the intersection of 5G and artificial intelligence will change the customer experience.

There’s no doubt that customer support becomes so much harder considering the unbelievable amount of devices — upwards of 30 billion by year’s end — that are connecting. 5G availability will only accelerate that IoT device adoption. With every device release and update, providing support becomes more complicated — and many of these devices won’t have an easy-to-find About folder to just click on. Ozmo is a solution built for this reality, providing responsive support tooling that transforms knowledgebases into something that both tech support agents and chatbot systems can use to save time and money solving user issues.

However, it remains to be seen how ready telecommunications companies really are for 5G. 5G deployment is still nascent but that’s not all. Silicon Valley-based Adazza argues that these giants are working on ancient infrastructure which makes it really difficult to gain business insights from accurate big data analytics. Adazza looks to bring its telecom-focussed machine learning to networks around the world so they can finally deliver on quality — and 5G will allow such processing to happen closer to the device, sending data to the edge instead of the cloud, for just-in-time essential customer info.

Where will 5G be this time next year?

What does Sales Force Europe expect for Mobile World Congress 2020? We honestly don’t think vendors are going to throw out their 5G signs any time soon. Operators are beginning commercial deployment of 5G, so in a year, European customers will have started interacting with the devices on-show in 2019. Particularly, we believe #MWC20 will feature some awesome use cases of how industry is leveraging 5G on the edge to make manufacturing and transportation more secure, more stable, and with a higher quality experience.

In short, 2020 will see 5G go from commercial viability to real-life business use cases.

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