Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Building a case for 5G

By Chris Kelly, Total Telecom
Monday 20 November 17

Following BT's call for the telecoms industry to 'build a strong business case for 5G', Huawei publishes white paper outlining 10 specific 5G use cases

With a number of leading telcos conducting high profile 5G tests this past week, the telecoms sector has been abuzz with more than the usual levels of 5G hype. This week Huawei released a white paper detailing 10 specific use cases for 5G, following its Global Mobile Broadband (MBB) Forum in London last week. The white paper comes just days after BT's CEO Gavin Patterson called on the industry to provide a compelling business case for 5G. "If you look at when we went from 3G to 4G, the business case for that was underpinned by the fact that you were going from what was a pretty poor Internet experience to one which really opened up the potential of the Internet on your mobile…

With a number of leading telcos conducting high profile 5G tests this past week, the telecoms sector has been abuzz with more than the usual levels of 5G hype.

This week Huawei released a white paper detailing 10 specific use cases for 5G, following its Global Mobile Broadband (MBB) Forum in London last week.

The white paper comes just days after BT's CEO Gavin Patterson called on the industry to provide a compelling business case for 5G.

"If you look at when we went from 3G to 4G, the business case for that was underpinned by the fact that you were going from what was a pretty poor Internet experience to one which really opened up the potential of the Internet on your mobile. We haven't really found that yet with 5G. I think…finding the use cases will be the industry's biggest challenge," he told journalists at Huawei's Global MBB event.

Patterson's comments were echoed later in the day by the CTOs of Deutsche Telekom and Telefonica, who urged the industry to build a comprehensive portfolio of 5G use cases.

Huawei's white paper makes the case for 5G by looking at 10 distinct use cases and outlining the business model for each. Here is a closer look at our three favourites:

Smart cars and connected transportation
Huawei kicked off day two of its Global MBB Forum with a live demonstration of the world's first remote controlled taxi drone. The single seater vehicle is capable of transporting a commuter up to 40km in a single journey, flying at an altitude of up to 300m.

This was just a snapshot of how 5G could revolutionise the transport sector, paving the way for driverless cars, 'platoons' of remotely controlled HGVs and a host of other autonomous vehicles.

Huawei cited ABI Research figures predicting that there will be 60.3 million 5G connected vehicles on the roads by 2025. Automated vehicles will demand the low latency and high band width connectivity that only 5G can provide. 

Smart Manufacturing
Smart manufacturing could dramatically redefine the manufacturing sector, eliminating waste and delivering unprecedented levels of productivity.

Speaking at Huawei's Global MBB event, Joni Ratavuori, group VP at ABB Robotics, said "we have looked at the future of the factory. Robotics and digitalisation will be the two topics that are absolutely essential for that."

The business rationale for moving towards fully automated factories includes increased productivity, reduced down-time and reduced OpEx.

Huawei said that according to ABI Research, by 2025 there will be 88 million condition-based monitoring connections throughout the world, with 5G connections in this arena growing at a CAGR of 464% from 2022 to 2026.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Gaming
The exhibition floor was alive with interactive demonstrations of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) games, as the industry opens up to a new generation of gaming. The virtual penalty kick competition and the fully immersive dungeons and dragons style questing games that were on display will barely scratch the surface of what VR and AR are capable of.

"The bandwidth requirements for AR and VR to work effectively are substantial, as most AR/VR applications are extremely data intensive. Advanced VR and AR content will depend on cloud servers to meet growing demand for realistic experiences," said the Huawei white paper.

The vendor noted that ABI Research expects AR and VR will present huge business opportunities for telcos in the years to come, with the combined markets anticipated to reach $292 billion by 2025 (AR = $151 Billion, VR = $141 billion). The market for carriers is also significant, with Huawei estimating that it will be worth $93 billion by 2025.   

5G promises to be quicker, sleeker and smoother than its predecessors, creating potentially lucrative opportunities in the Internet of Things (IoT). As industries move towards process automation and robotics, the low latency and high bandwidth of 5G could prove indispensable.

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