Increasingly, we are seeing demonstrations and trials and even real-world implementations of 5G’s potential marketplace impact: remote surgery using 5G; 5G autonomous cars; streaming video/ Virtual Reality for 3-D music and sports experiences, and more.
While these technology demonstrations help to prove out the technical aspects of 5G, they do not necessarily prove out market readiness in different verticals for those types of services. They also are not pushing the readiness of the operators to support a range of new services, as they are making changes to radio and to the rest of their networks focused on the demonstrations, and not the value. In most cases, the effect is not yet revolutionary, as the service provider is still just a bit pipe— even if a “better” bit pipe—and the enterprises in many cases still ambivalent about which communications services and in what combinations will bring them meaningful value propositions.
In order to add value, CSPs have to integrate into verticals seeking broader ecosystems and communications-driven digital enablement. They have to find a way to help them provide complete services and experiences to their customers. Digital transformation is the primary vehicle by which Customer Experience and Engagement is augmented, as 5G can foment rapid service deployment, flexible SLAs, ease of usage, ease of integration into broader services (technical and business ease, including support for multiple models).
This can have important implications for the communications industry, as digital services are communications based, and CSPs can be the key to making those services easy to use and specialized enough to improve the user experience and drive up business value.
A 5G Core + Slicing to Support Devices, Data & Specialization
While we don’t know what the “killer use cases” for 5G are yet, we do know that communications services will be critical to every vertical industry and that 5G-driven ecosystems are the means by which companies will accelerate innovation.
Operators are in a unique position as they can provide the feature rich and easily usable communications services vertical industries need, but only if they make the most of their core values as players in broader ecosystems with a 5G core and slicing support. As we’ve written previously, network slicing empowers CSPs to tailor connectivity services to the precise requirements of any given application, user, device or context—and when applied appropriately, SLAs may be attached that provide the building blocks of the business model. This is the means by which CSPs will participate in a range of ecosystems, moving them up the value chain across industries.
For example, in game streaming, there can be real operator value through greater integration into an ecosystem. With specific slices and integration into CX and applications, a specialized version of a game streaming platform could be offered under an operator brand.
Under the covers, the operator could provide much of the experience, including the basic portals for users and game providers, as well as own-branded monetization for the game providers. This service could run out of multiple cloud environments with third parties providing various parts of the streaming platform, back office, CX, slicing, and edge, and the mobile network operator providing the access and other technologies. The integration would be facilitated by the ecosystem, as shown in the image below, with each participant focused on the value it brings, while the operator provides the cohesive package to the users with great CX and rapid provisioning.
To succeed, there are many integration points and a need for an architecture that supports integration. That can be accomplished with a 5G core with slicing support, and good API exposure and integration with other cloud environments.
The point is that all good service environments will provide “5G building blocks” that help service providers move forward with both traditional mobile services as well as Enterprise services. The goal should be to add value to core services with good margins and operational efficiencies—something that will come with more automation in technology and business practices, and with a willingness to go outside your comfort zone to tap into and capitalize on the expertise of people outside your own industry. In other words, CSPs have to focus on curating world-class experiences for their customers, and must leverage the best that they and others bring to make this reality.
To learn more, see our recent research report, “5G Ecosystems are Transforming the Enterprise—Are You Ready?