Ringside Views

Ringside Views is our quarterly update exploring topics important to the industry. Each issue looks into the questions being asked at our next Ringside Session - a live broadcast event where industry participants discuss the issues and opportunities facing the market. This edition is focused on 5G and IoT.

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Crunch time for 5G, IoT

In a webscale world based on software cycles and DevOps, operators that take a 'wait and see' approach to 5G and IoT risk missing out on a market that will underpin and enable every single industrial vertical across the globe.

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Ray Le Maistre

Will the real 5G please stand up

Ray Le Maistre

Editor in Chief at Light Reading

Industry Insights

The first in a quarterly series of Industry Insights: Ray Le Maistre, Editor in Chief at Light Reading shares his thoughts on the urgent need for realistic consensus around 5G. Click below to read the exclusive article. 

“5G represents an opportunity for major progress in all industries, but over-hype and unrealistic expectations risk undermining the confidence and collaboration needed to make that a reality”

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In the hot seat

In the hot seat

Taking the leap… Watch Arun Bansal, Ericsson’s SVP and Head of Europe and Latin America, discussing Europe being left behind in 5G, what operators need to do to support innovation and the hard choices they will have to make in the near future.

5G deployment considerations

Sweat your assets

There is no excuse for operators to hold off on laying the foundations for their next-generation mobile networks, given that backwards compatibility is baked into non-standalone (NSA) 5G New Radio (NR). However, getting the right foundations in place – cost effectively – is no mean feat.

Unlike mobile technologies that have gone before, 5G represents an opportunity to tap new revenue streams by deploying a network that can be tailored to meet the varied requirements of different industry verticals, from healthcare and manufacturing to utilities and transport. Some sectors will require high throughput and low latency – and will be prepared to pay a premium for it – while others will need to connect huge numbers of devices to the network at the lowest possible cost, consuming as little energy as possible.

A key consideration for operators is that incremental new revenue streams will likely come from a variety of sources each with their own unique demands on infrastructure. With that in mind, Ericsson has devised an evolutionary strategy for deploying 5G, one that enables operators to act swiftly by sweating their existing networks, while at the same time positioning themselves to capture upcoming opportunities to offer services that are tailor made for different use cases.

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Telco strategy ecosystem partners

Considerate partners

5G will bring with it a host of new opportunities and massive revenue potential for operators, but they will need to make some changes in order to support their B2B partners.

As Michael Martinsson, Director, OSS BSS Marketing for Ericsson, outlines in the following blog post, operators must first look to their own businesses before they can enable the digital transformation of others and monetise those relationships. Operators need open APIs both for their own use and to help them work with external partners, and they need help to expose analytics information to capitalise on the wealth of data created by the networks. Better BSS capabilities will also be crucial to meet the real-time demands of the wider ecosystems.

There are major challenges ahead for the operator community, but those that work with their partners stand the strongest chance of forming profitable, lasting relationships.

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Why aren't there more smart devices in our lives yet?

Orchestrating the fantasy

Futuristic visions of smart lives full of connected devices have been around for decades. The technology already exists to make this a reality, so why hasn’t it happened and what needs to change?

The simple answer is orchestration. The connected life is evolving as a collection of different applications and technologies from myriad different providers, all of which need to work together to create a seamless experience. But with manifold permutations and potential interactions, it would be unwise for operators to try to dictate this future. Orchestration will need to be consumer-led. Operators must stay flexible and support with network data, open APIs, collaboration and broad ecosystems so orchestrators can create a symphony that is pleasing to the ear of the end user.

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Exploring IoT strategies

Role models

Operators blazing a trail in the IoT are lighting a path that the more cautious players can use to navigate their way to IoT riches.

This is the crux of an Ericsson study that interviewed 20 leading IoT service providers. By analysing their approach to the market and their common capabilities, the report defines various roles within the IoT that suit different types of operator. These range from Network Providers that focus on reliable, scalable connectivity, to Service Creators that offer end-to-end services designed to help customers digitally transform their business 

The report also establishes a positioning framework that illustrates what extra services operators can roll out in order to move up the IoT value chain.

With 20 billion connected IoT devices predicted by 2023, there isn't a single operator out there that isn't excited about the potential to build a lucrative new revenue stream. As this report demonstrates, there are some pioneering operators that those playing catch up would do well to emulate.

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The guide to capturing the 5G industry digitalisation business potential

Using clusters to cut through 5G bluster

Wherever operators turn they are being bombarded by promises of massive new revenue streams that will be made possible through the arrival of 5G mobile technology and the related IoT capabilities it will enable. But where should they begin? Big words are all very well, but operators also need guidance on how to address these new opportunities.

The answer lies in breaking down the market into clusters. Working with Arthur D Little, Ericsson segmented the market – which could be worth up to $619 billion to operators by 2026 – into nine application-based clusters, to create a guide for operators, helping them to overcome deployment challenges. The cluster approach is important for sharing risk and reward across use cases and industries.

Two A’s will be particularly interesting: automation and automotive. The real-time automation cluster is the largest with a potential revenue opportunity of $101 billion. Applications such as remote sensors and smart meters are already in use, but with 5G comes the potential for mission-critical applications in sectors like healthcare and energy, or connected vehicles, is smaller at $69 billion, but the barriers to entry are lower. However, new regulations and monetisation models could prove challenging.

Operators must play to their strengths when choosing which clusters to target and will need to evolve legacy business models and operational structures accordingly. If they are ambitious, there are significant revenues to capture.

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5G Spectrum remains elusive

Where’s the invisible hand?

5G represents a huge opportunity for economic growth and improved productivity, if countries are in a position to capitalise. Spectrum availability is one of the key barriers to progress and, as it was with 3G and 4G, Europe and Latin America are already lagging behind the US, South Korea and other more proactive countries.

While some progress and promises have been made, not enough is being done to ensure there is adequate, clean spectrum across all markets. The consequences of further delay or a fragmented approach could mean missing out on the boons of innovation and Industry 4.0.

But all is not lost, smart policy decisions with an emphasis on deployment over filling government coffers could get Europe back in the race.

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