There’s broad consensus among the telco set that the real money to made from 5G will be made by selling solutions into high-value vertical industries. But whether you’re an operator, cloud provider, equipment vendor, or integrator, it’s a tall order to deliver a turnkey solution that would say let a global manufacturing interest transition its robotic assets from wired to wireless.
In that example, you need a network and spectrum. You need some IoT chops to get those robots connected and capture the relevant telemetry. You’ll also need a data platform and localized compute to ingest, understand and take action based on the telemetry. You’ll want to connect that to legacy systems present on the factory floor. And someone will have to test, install, and maintain all of that, so…
To do that for manufacturing, and healthcare, and commercial real estate, and oil and gas, and transportation, and logistics, and retail, and so forth, no one company is likely going to be able to go it alone. That’s why this enterprise-facing 5G discussion ultimately comes back to concepts of co-creation and parter-driven approaches to delivering business-specific solutions.
This topic was front and center at Arden Media’s recent 5G Transformation Forum.
David Joosten, regional director of Vodafone Americas, said, “I would really emphasize that it is really is a broad ecosystem of players. I think you really need to do well your due diligence on who you’re going to partner with and how you’re going to integrate all those solutions together…and what is the value of the network provider in this?”
He said 5G network expertise is a must. But, “You’re [also]going to have to buy something, either some components already built together, or you’re going to have to stitch a lot of things up and those things are going to have to work together. I think that’s critically important.”
AT&T’s Robert Boyanovsky, vice president of Enterprise Mobility and IoT, wondered, “Where’s the $13 trillion coming in 5G and where’s the big ecosystem wave…what is the killer app? I don’t think we have that in our hands right now. I would say that in order to spur this along, you’ve got to have flexibility, you’ve got to have ecosystem partners…you’ve got to have a strategy around where you’re going to put your investment whether that’s mobile 5G, edge and fixed.”
He continued: “When I talk to customers, especially in the IoT space, having a carrier you can talk to that’s got professional services to help you figure out your roadmap for your digital transformation is going to be really important. You need to be able to trust someone to come in and articulate, from experience, how other customers in their industry have made the transformation.”
Inseego’s SVP of Enterprise Sales Stephen Brown said that driving 5G into the enterprise space hinges on “getting to the value prop quickly with the client…Everybody has a lot of questions around 5G. Most customers get that they’re going to get a faster phone…but 5G is so much more than that. It’s about bringing revolutionary capability and connectivity. I think [success is]being willing to partner and listen to your client. It’s allowing us to partner with best-of-breed folks out there. Customers are going to lean on their telco providers because it’s such a large part of their business and they’re trusted.”
“If we can figure out early on and we can demonstrate value earlier in the process and show that value, I think that’s going to be the key to unlocking this technology,” Brown concluded.
Editor-in-ChiefSean focuses on multiple subject areas including 5G, Open RAN, hybrid cloud, edge computing, and Industry 4.0. He also hosts Arden Media’s podcast Will 5G Change the World? Prior to his work at RCR, Sean studied journalism and literature at the University of Mississippi then spent six years based in Key West, Florida, working as a reporter for the Miami Herald Media Company. He currently lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.