Tag: 5G

COVID-19 Will Accelerate Private 5G Adoption | Blog

COVID-19 has disrupted the business landscape, forcing enterprises to find new work models to ensure business continuity. There is, however, a silver lining to the otherwise painful episode: support for accelerating 5G adoption. Several factors are significantly driving the business case for adoption of a faster and more reliable network: the spike in work-at-home, increased demand for digital delivery of applications and content, and the realization that digital-ready enterprises are better prepared to navigate crises. These challenges put 5G firmly in the forefront of future digital transformation. However, in the medium term, recessionary pressures, constrained capital, and heavy debt may discourage telcos from widespread deployment of public 5G. As a result, telecom providers are increasingly exploring the prospect of private 5G for enterprises as a means of generating steady revenue. Telecom providers’ interest, coupled with enterprise enthusiasm – now truly appreciating the importance of digital readiness and advocating for Industry 4.0 adoption, of which 5G forms the foundation – make now the right time for private 5G adoption.

Effect of COVID-19

Consumer, or B2C, data consumption is likely to increase as social distancing continues, at least until the release of a viable vaccine. Moreover, as firms pivot to digital models and operate virtually, data consumption will continue to rise, establishing a connectivity-centric ecosystem while compounding the load on 4G systems. To maintain service quality and ease network congestion, telecom providers have begun to invest in 5G networks. These networks can be classified into two broad buckets: public 5G and private 5G. Public 5G refers to consumer cellular networks deployed across the world for telcos’ B2C customers. Private 5G is a kind of restricted network, often used by enterprises on their premises, to take advantage of 5G’s low latency and high bandwidth for accelerated Industry 4.0 adoption.

Slow progress of public 5G deployments

Most telcos are highly leveraged, given the capital-intensive nature of the business. Some market leaders, such as AT&T, have also taken on additional debt in their pursuit to transform into media conglomerates. Telcos that follow that strategy will most likely prioritize optimization of existing consumer networks to cope with the load and deploy consumer grade 5G only in highly urban pockets where the return on their investment is sizeable. To increase revenue, we expect a push from telecom operators for B2B private 5G networks.

Rise of private 5G

Private 5G is a means for an enterprise to modernize its internal broadband and wireless communications infrastructure with high speed 5G cellular networks. A cellular network can provide better coverage within an enterprise’s work location, enable better bandwidth, and support low latency requirements. Deploying 5G in controlled work environments like shop floors, power plants, and healthcare facilities can also negate some of the key technology issues of mmWaves such as the effects of noise and attenuation, and difficulty in penetrating dense objects. We expect telcos to aggressively push private 5G use cases as an integral part of Industry 4.0 transformations as they look to improve revenue share from their B2B businesses.

Private 5G adoption by industry

Given its use and benefits, some industries are more likely to leverage private 5G more quickly than others.
  • Healthcare: COVID-19 has highlighted the stark reality of insufficient healthcare personnel to care for patients. As the use of virtual health consultations rises, telemedicine and telehealth will soon become the norm in the industry. With its significantly higher bandwidth and lower latency, private 5G adoption will accelerate with the rest of the virtual healthcare model.
  • Manufacturing and energy & utilities: Manufacturing firms are facing ongoing pressure on demand and production due to lockdowns. With most factories requiring their workforces to work remotely, some of these firms have had to go months without production. To reduce the number of workers on-site, firms will explore automation and adopt technologies such as digital twins, robot assistance, and IoT. Private 5G will enable and accelerate the adoption of these technologies.
  • Media and entertainment: 5G will unlock the potential of immersive reality; for example, stadiums and theme parks are investing in the technology to improve user experience.
  • BFSI: With the movement toward digital and the proliferation of data, the banking industry will explore 5G network slicing, whereby firms can apply specific security policies to various network slices. Moreover, the combination of edge computing and 5G will enable faster and more secure processing of data. For insurance companies, 5G will play an important role in improving customer experience through telemetry.

Challenges remain

Despite its promise for many industries, challenges remain for the adoption of private 5G.
  • Capital intensive: No matter the customer (B2B or B2C), 5G remains a capital-intensive transformation. However, the COVID-19 crisis will further strengthen the business case for Industry 4.0. The manufacturing and energy & utilities industries, which have often lagged in the adoption of emerging technologies, will be more inclined to spend on digital following the crisis. The partial shift of this investment to enterprise customers in private 5G will appeal to telcos, which are otherwise supporting high debt.
  • Geopolitics: Political uncertainties also loom large as countries re-examine China’s accountability on cyber security and data privacy. These concerns have been exacerbated by ongoing geopolitical tensions. 5G deployment may see slight delays as these issues cause supply chain disruptions and increase pressure on other global players.

How you can drive 5G adoption in your organization

You can follow a five-stage structured path to drive private 5G adoption in your organization.
  1. Business case: First you must understand the benefits and challenges of private 5G. It is also imperative to understand the key alternatives to 5G such as Zigbee, WiFi-6, and SIGFOX. You can work with technology partners to identify key use cases for your industry and select effective cases to pilot.
  2. Feasibility study: In this stage, you assess the technologies that could work with your existing landscape and outline the changes that would be necessary to adopt them. You can then run pilots on selected use cases and understand the key parameters that may need adjusting, such as security and scalability. Following the pilot, you must ascertain the business outcomes achievable and model potential ROI.
  3. Pre-implementation: Once you have a fair understanding of the necessary changes, you can begin changing and upgrading your existing landscape to be compatible. Because private 5G is a hardware-intensive and long-term investment, you should plan to spend considerable time in selecting the right vendors for implementation.
  4. Implementation: At this stage, the OEM and service partners begin the network transformation. Because 5G is a disruptive technology, you must give considerable attention to improving processes and change management to realize its full benefits.
  5. Post-implementation: Following initial adoption, you must continuously monitor the technology landscape and assess how you can adopt new use cases to maximize your ROI.
If you wish to learn more about the 5G landscape and private 5G in particular, please connect with us at [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected].

Smartphones and 5G are the Keys to AR/VR Success | Blog

A Goldman Sachs Research report published in January 2016 stated that venture capitalists had pumped US$3.5 billion into the augmented reality (AR)/virtual reality (VR) industry in the previous two years and that AR and VR have the potential to become the next big computing platform. But a recent PwC MoneyTree report stated that funding for augmented and virtual reality startups plunged by 46 percent to US$809.9 million in 2018, as compared to 2017. Indeed, multiple startups in the space shut down in 2019 because they haven’t been able to materialize their claims and have been unsuccessful in making the technology economically viable to the masses. It’s not just startups that are throwing in the towel on their investments. For example, a dwindling user base drove Google to shut down its Jump VR platform in June 2019, and Facebook-owned Oculus is closing its Rooms and Spaces services at the end of this month. AR VR blog graphic And the startups cited above sunk nearly $550 million in investments when they shuttered their doors. So, what’s going wrong?

Problems with present-day AR/VR

New technologies, particularly those for the consumer market, invariably need hype to succeed. But, despite all the buzz around how AR/VR can change the way consumers interact with commercial and non-commercial entities (like healthcare providers and educational institutions), multiple problems are getting in the way of mass adoption.
  1. Cumbersome hardware: Despite 2-3 generational improvements, the hardware for these technologies remains bulky and difficult to set-up or use. More research is needed to bring advanced optics and computation of head-mounted displays (HMD) to a usable level
  2. High cost: Nearly all the standalone AR HMDs cost over $1000, and those for VR are over $150. At these price points, the vast majority of purchasers are technology enthusiasts and novelty buyers
  3. Poor content: While the premise of buying an HMD is to consume and interact with content in an engaging way, the flood of poorly designed experiences hardly makes the case for purchasing it, even for those who can afford it
  4. Selling an idea, instead of a product: This is perhaps the biggest reason for the slew of closures in recent months. While AR and VR both have compelling use cases, the entrepreneurs and enterprising providing the products and platforms promised the sky and underdelivered on expectations.
So, what should enterprises do to change the narrative behind and fate of AR/VR? Here are our recommendations.

Focus on developing smartphone-based AR

AR adoption is far outpacing VR adoption, not only because it adds to users’ reality rather than replacing it, but also because smartphones make its cost much lower for consumers. Indeed, smartphone-based AR has gone mainstream in the retail and gaming spaces; examples are IKEA, Nike, Nintendo, and Sephora, all of which have deployed applications for interactive experiences. The buzz will stay alive, and the uptake will continue to grow as an ever-increasing number of developers incorporate AR elements into their applications.

Embrace 5G with open arms

Fifth-generation (5G) wireless promises to bring high bandwidth and reliable low latency in data communications. Along with the proliferation of edge computing, 5G will help move processing-intensive tasks closer to the edge of the network and content closer to the user. In the near future, telecom operators could provide dedicated network slices for AR/VR applications, greatly reducing network latency. By enabling faster processing and increased proximity to content, 5G will boost the overall user experience. And this will lead to increased adoption. But, before going all in, enterprises should partner with communication service providers to test 5G PoCs for AR/VR. Doing so will help them better prepare for scaled adoption as HMDs become less cumbersome. By placing hype before substance, AR/AV providers created the current low-growth environment. We believe that focusing on smartphone- and 5G-based AR/VR will increase both investor confidence and customer adoption. What is your view on the AR/VR space and the emergence of 5G as a savior? Please share with us at [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected].

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