The future of wireless and the case for exploring verticals in 5G

CdGpWwtW4AAQjhTAs we outlined last month in our guide to the challenges facing 5G and IoT, the connected devices of the future offer real potential to make existing businesses, services and utilities more efficient and more effective — better tailoring the service they provide.

In the wireless industry, the reality is that there is limited appetite to pursue the new generation of wireless technology (5G) for the industry’s own sake. Despite rapid takeup of LTE (4G) cellular technology, shrinking profit margins are affecting infrastructure spending, leaving finances that may not look attractive to investors and cause difficulties for a further round of investment so soon after completing the last round of upgrades.

The real business case for 5G, therefore, needs to come from the vertical industries that will benefit from the technology.

The rationale behind this was recently vindicated by the results of the European Commission 5G socioeconomic project Real Wireless contributed to, announced in Brussels on the 9th March 2016 (which we explored in more detail in a separate blog post). Our work found that, for an approximate deployment cost of €56 billlion, 5G can be expected to generate benefits of €95.9 billion across automotive, healthcare, transport and utilities alone — per annum.

However further quantitive evidence is required for a vertical-orientated business case to be established, and it falls to the wireless industry to lead the way in kick starting this process.

Any eventual solution will need to account for not only what dynamics are at play in the verticals, but also expert input from the leaders in these vertical industries on how they will evolve in the coming decades. It’s therefore crucial that the other verticals that could benefit from 5G are stakeholders in the development of this technology, to ensure they can fully benefit.

As chair of the executive committee for Cambridge Wireless’s Future of Wireless International Conference, I believe this year’s conference will provide an important opportunity for the industry to come together and explore how wireless can impact these verticals. Not just the cost savings each vertical can enjoy, but the challenges 5G will need to overcome, the opportunities that exist and — crucially — the common themes that span across these vertical industries enabling platforms of scale.

The Future of Wireless International Conference 2016 will be held at The IET, Savoy Place, London on 21–22 June. More information and registration details can be found here: http://www.cambridgewireless.co.uk/futureofwireless/

Real Wireless plays crucial role on spectrum requirements for 5G in European Commission 5G report

At a workshop in Brussels this week, the final results of our eagerly-awaited study on the socioeconomic impact of 5G in Europe, were presented to the European Commission and interested stakeholders.

The in-depth report has been produced by experts and academics from across the industry, including Real Wireless, who spent the past year researching the impact 5G will have on vertical industry sectors — and quantifyingthe economic value of this. The study gathered inputs from industry stakeholder workshops and existing 5G projects to determine which verticals and environments to examine in the study. It was decided to focus on four specific verticals which included healthcare, transport, automotive and utilities and four environments including smart cities, non-urban areas, smart homes, and workplaces.

Enabling verticals to explore new avenues
For the reasons we outlined in our recent report, 5G is much more than a new “mobile industry” technology, offering different benefits to different industries, enabling better machine-to-machine (M2M) communications to improve the way businesses operate.

For healthcare, 5G will pave the way for true preventative care, connecting patients with doctors anywhere, anytime. For automotive and transport, 5G can facilitate real-time telematics data to improve the way drivers interact with their vehicles, support the implementation of driverless cars creating a new media hub for passengers and also enabling authorities to better shape and manage traffic on the roads. And for utilities, 5G can turn the vision of smart meters into a genuine mass-market reality, helping consumers and businesses save money and reduce emissions.

5G — creating 2.4 million jobs and delivering benefits of €50.6 billion+
This project was established by the European Commission to fill a major void in 5G research so far, forecasting the quantitative and qualitative impact that 5G will have on society and the economy.

Real Wireless has played a pivotal role in the production of the report, working specifically on how to overcome spectrum challenges when different use cases run concurrently on the same spectrum band:

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We also were at the heart of both 5G information gathering workshops. Our business and technical expertise enabled us to bridge the gap between representatives of different verticals and those from the telecoms industry.

Forecasts in the report suggest that deployments of 5G will cost around €56 billion, creating around 2.4 million jobs. The investment will in turn deliver benefits of €95.9 billion per annum in 2025 across these four verticals — and €50.6 billion in benefits for the other four environments. Businesses will benefit from more than half (63%) of the benefits, with consumers and society receiving 37% of the benefits.

A crucial milestone in 5G development
Given the lack of significant research in to the socio-economic impact of 5G, and the important role a vertical-industry led business-case will play in any role, this report is a defining moment for the future of mobile connectivity.

The European Commission plans to publish the full report including all results in April 2016.

Why 2016 is crucial to the development of 5G and IoT — an expert briefing

RW-Manifesto-2016_coverAs we approach another Mobile World Congress (MWC), the noise is again ramping up around 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT). Many years in development, and seemingly filling newspaper column inches everywhere for just as long, it’s becoming increasingly hard for many to follow their progress.

Despite the noise, the world is still a long way off a public 5G network, and the delivery of the technology’s full economic value not expected until around 2025. This long timescale is because 5G will be unlike any other mobile standard to date — there’s incredible potential for the technology to revolutionise different verticals like automotive, healthcare and utilities.

But, whilst the mobile industry needs to lead these discussions, it’s the responsibility of all who wish to benefit to collaborate and ensure the technology works to everyone’s advantage.

As a result, getting the foundations of technology and negotiations right during 2016 is crucial to making sure the end standard reaches its full potential.

Conversely, machine-to-machine (M2M) communications has existed for more than a decade, yet the consumer facing version — IoT — is still struggling to get traction. This is the result of an industry littered with multiple competing standards, no harmonisation on spectrum, and no singular roadmap for development to maximise scale economies.

So 2016 is a genuine make-or-break year for the technology; if the industry gets it right, we could see a truly universal, robust standard start to take off. If it gets it wrong, we will be left with fragmentation and clear barriers to the IoT’s future potential.

Real Wireless has been working at the forefront of both of these technology areas, across the technological, social, and economic aspects of their development, providing independent research and analysis.

This includes our work with the European Commission, research as part of 5G NORMA, and membership of the UK’s 5GIC, where we are working to understand the socioeconomic impact of 5G and how the wireless industry should engage with other vertical industries in its development.

To this end, Real Wireless today launches a short primer outlining exactly what needs to happen in 2016 for 5G and the IoT to be able to reach their full potential. This concise, comprehensible piece distils the knowledge of our many experts in to three pages, providing an essential briefing for anyone interested in the telecoms industry in 2016.

Download our summary to cut through the industry noise and find out why 2016 is a milestone year for 5G and IoT — and how the industry can make sure it gets it right.

We’re also at Mobile World Congress (MWC Barcelona, 22–25 February) next week, so please get in touch if you would like to speak with one of our experts about either of these issues in more detail.

Industry verticals can see the benefit of 5G — but trust is still an issue

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Last week in Brussels, Real Wireless helped deliver the second and final workshop of the “5G Socioeconomic” study for the European Commission.

The event saw attendees from four vertical sectors — automotive, healthcare, transport and utilities — each with their own needs and priorities for 5G. For example, automotive and transport were looking to reduce accidents and traffic congestion, utilities to reduce energy costs and healthcare needed to improve access and care provision.

During the workshop, participants were tasked with validating 5G for their own sector. They needed to identify the top three 5G capabilities from a list of nine which are part of the capabilities developed by the Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance (NGMN) for their own industry. For each, participants captured the economic value, social value and other values — in each case identifying if the value was high, medium or low. Prioritising the capabilities helped those involved realise which were of most value to each sector.

Participants were also tasked with discussing the value of 5G in four key environments; smart homes, smart workplaces, smart cities and non-urban environments. Participants identified the economic, social, environmental and other impacts and value in each environment and subsequently mapped the results to each of the 5G capabilities.

The results — scalability is key
Understandably, the capabilities and requirements varied between sectors. So where healthcare saw the need for a “dynamic increase of network capacity on the fly”, those in utilities did not see that as a key capability.

However, almost all vertical sectors had at least one common capability requirement, such as the ability to deliver a scalable Internet of Things or sensor solution.

The ‘trust and control’ barrier
Before 5G can become a real success, however, concerns were raised around trust. With 5G, industries and businesses will be running their “virtualised” networks over third-party infrastructure. So, many were understandably concerned by the lack of control they would have over that network. Who would be liable for any costs incurred by network outages? And how would operators address concerns around security?

To address these trust issues, verticals argue that network operators will have to relinquish control of their 5G network slice or solution. If we get to a stage where there is harmonised spectrum and stable, reasonable, coherent regulation and policies, industries will buy into 5G, manufacturers will want to produce hardware, there will be economies of scale and no need for more physical networks (verticals that need a network can become MVNOs over 5G).

These findings clearly highlight that industries are willing to embrace 5G, but there are still certain aspects that need careful consideration before each widely adopts it. Based on this feedback, the project team will later write up into its second workshop report. Watch this space…