15 years of consulting in niche markets
The most striking aspect about transformation through technology is that most changes have occurred within a generation. For example - In healthcare, imagine how surgery was conducted a decade ago compared to today, innovations such as the Hololens are transforming precision surgery; more importantly what’s mind-blogging is imagining how operations will be performed a decade from now. Constant transformation is the new normal.
Another transformation that’s just around the horizon is 5G. I, like others of my generation, have witnessed how telecommunication has evolved from rotary dial landlines to push buttons to the present generation of mobiles. Calls are now launched by touching a single button on Whatsapp, without having to patiently wait for the pulses to go out with each number in the old landlines. Data from the Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2016–2021, forecast that 5G connections will swell to touch 25 million connections in 2021 within a year of rollout, generating almost 5 times traffic of a 4G connection.In short, the speed of change it will usher and the scale of its impact, will transform society, and here is what will drive 5G.
Business drivers of 5G
Broadband and network connectivity have improved considerably, but there is still a lot to be achieved. Connectivity is patchy, calls drop, videos buffer, and users have to put up with inconsistent network performance. Mobile data traffic grew by 65% in a year between 2014 and 2015,while in 2016 and 2017 it grew almost 500% and its continued growth will push existing networks to their technical limits.
With digital transformation underway globally, the need is to create a network that offers seamless and uninterrupted connectivity with low latency or delay. This will become mandatory in future communications between humans or machines, where critical applications just cannot co-exist and function in networks that witness drops, delays or freeze in connections. 5G as the next level of telecommunications, is the wireless standard that will permit applications to fully realise their technological capabilities and offer solutions that are realistic. The future demands that connectivity be made available ‘everywhere’ and ‘all the time.’ And 5G is the standard that can meet these requirements by virtue of superior network architecture and performance.
Technology drivers of 5G
The quality of videos has undergone a sea change, with HD videos transmitting superior clarity with breath-taking details. The Cisco Visual Networking Index predicts that by 2021, video will account for more than three fourths of traffic, and this places demands on networks that cannot be met by existing architecture. The IoT (Internet of Things) will see more and more ‘things’ connected to other ‘things,’ communicating autonomously through service creation and business support system platforms. This ecosystem of IoT will see 929 million devices connected by 2021, and for this system to work, networks need increased bandwidths. 5G can keep billions of devices connected to each other, without compromising on the speed or low latency. The cities of the future will comprise smart grids where all public services/conveniences are part of a unified grid connecting homes, offices with public infrastructure. Machine to machine (M2M) will cohabit in this ecosystem with various sectors benefitting from technology, increasing to a staggering 3.3 billion connections by 2021Healthcare, logistics, and agriculture will see equipment connected to each other through cellular networks, transmitting and receiving information like subscribers. All of this will require a network that permits multiple devices of different technologies to work seamlessly, and 5G is best placed to support various devices.
What’s next on the horizon?
This transition is not limited to the technological aspect alone or its impact on lives, it will also change revenue streams. Subscriptions will saturate at a point when almost all individuals possess connections, and service providers rollout free offers to stay competitive. For instance, Reliance Jio offered new subscribers unlimited benefits for three months, and other operators had to introduce similar offers to stay in the game.This will create a situation where operators need to look beyond subscribers for revenue. As a wireless standard that has more direct impact on industry and by extension on subscribers, 5G will create revenue streams for industry. This standard which will permit machines to get on the network as entities will then monetize this solution, billing M2M devices or earning revenue from IoT devices. The future of telecommunications is exciting in more ways than one, which is why this means a lot to the industry.
Source: Telecom Economic Times, 2018
Thursday Feb 1, 2018