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How 5G adds value in the corporate world

There are remarkable possibilities enabled by 5G. Together with Cisco advocates, TietoEVRY expert Line Nøst-Klemmetsen discusses and shares examples of how to make use of 5G in a business context.

Line Nøst-Klemmetsen / March 03, 2021

During 2020, it is unlikely that a company involved in networking has given an annual presentation about future networks without mentioning 5G.

Everyone is talking about it, and yet even the greatest speakers soon get shy when asked to discuss 5G, including its business benefits and best corresponding use cases. Instead, they tend to say 5G is cool but also complicated. Let us try to understand why.

However, while we do firmly believe that technology indeed matter, let us also face the fact that no technology can cover all circumstances. The use case reviewed below illustrates the potential of 5G, but 5G has many use cases in which it can bring the best out of technology. Consider all those possibilities as we discuss and demystify 5G a little further.

Is 5G just another technology?

Yes and no. Essentially, 5G is all about higher frequencies, and it thus has clear advantages over earlier standards. It enables a beautiful variety of consumption models as well. The typical focus is the great speed and coverage of connectivity that 5G provides us with – complemented by the wider pre-existing technology collection.

The old phrase “the app is king” should be rephrased as either “any app is king” or “no app is the king”. A varied set of technologies, including 5G, is needed in the application jungle to amaze today’s users, to keep them benefiting from any specific application, and with that, to make society work more intelligently. Consumers do not select one app over another; instead, they base their selections on their particular use cases, which they do indeed select over one another.

Industry examples: how WiFi6 and 5G are stronger together

Where are the barriers with 5G – if any do exist? Again, the answer is complicated. To deliver the best value, 5G needs complementary technologies. Examples are already present in our daily lives, where we improve our health and happiness through making our buildings smarter, more eco-friendly and more convenient for tenants. These buildings tend to have features like coatings on glass, which tend to have the side effect of keeping radio signals out. Luckily, by bringing WiFi6 into the mix, and understanding that 5G is also about heterogenous networking, this indoor challenge is resolved.

Of course, it is not only WiFi6 that should be bundled with 5G. There are further technologies that benefit from 5G. For example, combining 5G with a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) can boost bandwidth, secure backups, enable sites to load faster and support solutions that are resilient from top to bottom, throughout their cross-dependencies in architecture.

And here are a few more key use cases. By utilizing 5G, we can enable high-quality real-time video from autonomous vehicles and drones to enhance their efficiency. This would also improve the safety of other road users, such as cyclists and pedestrians. All precision operations are enhanced by 5G too, as it enables a higher density of connected devices and supports the low latency required. In manufacturing, greater autonomy can be unlocked in robotics, as time-sensitive networking via 5G enables connectivity to intelligence in the edge cloud. Furthermore, 5G can also be utilized in the health industry in saving lives through video consultations, assistance robots and smart wearables to increase efficiency and effectiveness of treatments.  

How to utilize 5G and enable apps – from promise to reality

While the current arguments mostly circle around consumer benefits, of course 5G is a lot more than that. As shown in the use cases above, it is also about making businesses work more efficiently. However, this increasing opportunity in B2B is overshadowed by the cry for higher bandwidth as well as the now natural demand for high quality connected experience everywhere. This demand is currently seen as one of the main drivers for large-scale 5G adoption, which will ultimately benefit business.

Network slicing provides another interesting opportunity for manufacturers. Slicing basically refers to separating virtual networks from their given 5G networks and delivering these to customers or applications individually. This achieves global connectivity through a more cost-effective solution, while significantly reducing operational overhead.

Every trial starts with targets to improve safety, reduce costs and accelerate time to value. While many of the solutions are here to stay, we are still at the start of the evolving journey of quite a few more. This means we are currently working with hypotheses yet to be proven and looking for investment paybacks to realize eventually. Once the hype curve (Gartner 2019) settles, odds are that 5G will grow roots deep within the connectivity market and become one essential part of how the world works smarter, sharper, and more together.

The emergence of fast, low latency 5G networks comes at a crucial time, as the pandemic has challenged the current ways of working overnight, creating an extensive need for more secure and more reliable connectivity for people working remotely. This shift in the new normal of how we live and work – in terms of both social and physical distancing – accentuates the need for continuous mobile connectivity.

Connect with us to take your connectivity and applications to the next level!

Dominic Elliott
Director, Systems Engineering, Cisco Systems
Laura Uuskoski
Account Manager, Cisco Systems
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