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5G Challenges and Opportunities – The Journey to 5G

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At times I get to talk to someone who has the ability, right in the midst of discussing THE most exciting technology developments, to push PAUSE and reflect on what it really means. I so value that capability. It’s not easy to do but it is exactly what so many of us need, even crave, when it comes to discussing digital transformation.

To make matters even more edge-of-your-seat, there are some people who I’ve been dying to interview for ages and when the moment finally arrives, it’s every bit as magical as I hoped it would be. 

Now with that kind of lead in, who could I be talking about? None other than Liam Quinn, Sr. Vice President and Sr. Fellow at Dell Technologies (and holder of over 110 patents), who I recently interviewed on my show, Conversations with Dez (see below for a link to the interview). I’ve been following Liam’s work for some time, he is a frequent presenter and author (reference links below) and his team recently released an excellent forecasting report called “Realising 2030 – The Future of Connected Living” which I read and re-read until it was covered in notes. 

5G Challenges and Opportunities

As Liam and I settled in to discuss some of the challenges around 5G and hyper-connectivity, I was hopeful he could demystify the hype and talk straight to the applications and implications for near-term (1, 5, or 10 years from now). 

He didn’t disappoint: “5G is different in that [unlike 3G or 4G] it’s not just another smartphone. The impact of the 5G environment on enterprise and total infrastructure are going to be more impactful than another phone. It’s the tip of the bigger picture, and it’s not well understood. A lot of education needs to happen.” 

Liam’s focus at Dell is about forming the company’s 5G multi-year strategy, the North Star for everyone to follow. He and his team spend a tremendous amount of time inside Dell aligning on what 5G means to their own company, as well as to telecommunication service providers, and industry segments.

“5G is a multi-year journey,” he says. “It’s not going to happen in 2019 alone or even in 2020, though you will see continuous solidification.” Liam feels strongly that a long-term perspective is essential to avoid falling into a “me-too” market position. (And speaking of long term, yes, he confirms, 6G planning is already underway.)

It was particularly interesting to hear how candidly Liam spoke of the difficulties #IoT has experienced. At first we were bolting things left and right onto the Internet and we started to break it. Then, “Industry started building a hyper-connected environment from devices to gateways to software-defined networking and storage, but they still need 5G bandwidth and latency as an enabler,” he says. “The capabilities, applications and analytics are there, have been there for 3, 4, 5 years, but will be fulfilled more with 5G than with previous networks.”

Today we are already in a state of “hyper-connectivity,” but the difference is run-time, as Liam says. We will continue to connect the links, faster and faster, over the next couple years. We’re already entering the next era, where we start to “realise 2030.” 

That “dawn” extends to partnerships between humans and machines. Machines are already better at crunching large data volumes and are starting to emulate decision-making through pre-determined algorithms. Now, plug in Liam’s North Star to drive the trajectory of innovation, and what does 2030 look like? Immersive, collaborative and intelligence trends are all top of Liam’s list. “Why can’t devices become smarter and humans become conductors of the digital domains?” he says. More like partners. 

Follow the “Realising 2030” link below and you’ll find a whole web portal of information and insights about what this collaboration looks like. Liam himself describes several near-term examples of what an always-connected environment should and could be doing for us.

But don’t think for a minute that Liam is busy spinning hyperbole. He’s not. “Like every technology,” he says, “5G is fraught with acronyms and terminologies that have become frustrating and mind numbing for a lot of folks. There’s an opportunity to drive clarity of what 5G means in terms of a journey, a multi-year outlook and perspective, and how it impacts industries, not just technology for technology’s sake.”

Getting that message out, in and of itself, is part of the journey to 5G. It’s the immediate thing we need to be working on. He has some other very specific examples of what Dell and others are doing, right now, to build out enterprise 5G, and where 5G applications are and will be deployed – if you’re listening to the podcast, they’re about ⅔ of the way through.

So can we live with a de-hyped transition, a blended 4G, IoT and nascent 5G world? I certainly hope so. “In 10 years’ time, talking about WiFi or 5G is all going to be hash,” he says. “Capabilities are going to blur.”

There are some very real concerns, however, around licensed vs unlicensed spectrum. “We need to drive those discussions more aggressively. Spectrum is like land. If you have land, you can do a lot of development. But if you don’t have land…..” He predicts that spectrum shortages will drive even more convergence and blurring of technology on edge devices in particular.

There are also some very exciting opportunities for less developed countries to leapfrog their innovative capabilities as they become connected. “I do think it [5G] is going to be an accelerant…it’s productivity out of the box…it can be provisioned over the air, you can deploy containers in order to have different types of workloads based on customers or employees in remote areas, and for consumers, it allows equal connectivity to the Internet like the rest of the world.”  

Michael Dell was, of course, the official global ambassador for the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal #8 which promotes sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. It’s part of the DNA at Dell to not just change the technology stack but to actually solve problems that make life better for humanity. Their newest goal is using technology at scale to advance health, education and economic opportunity initiatives. They hope to deliver enduring results for 1 billion people by 2030.

I do encourage you to listen to the podcast the whole way through, there are so many resonant moments where Liam is grounded and inspiring at the same time. My sincere thanks to Liam and the rest of the team at Dell for making this podcast possible.

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What can we expect from Huawei? Innovation, 5.5G and much more.

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At this week’s Win-Win·Huawei Innovation Week, in a keynote speech entitled “Innovation, Lighting up the 5.5G Era”, David Wang set out the next evolution of 5G technology, which the company terms 5.5G. He also laid out an industry innovation roadmap for the next five to ten years.

“Looking ahead to 2025, the sheer diversity and magnitude of network service requirements will create huge new market potential,” said Wang. “We’re here to discuss these opportunities with operators and industry partners, and explore the innovations we need to help pave the way for 5.5G.”

First proposed by Huawei at the 11th Global Mobile Broadband Forum in 2020, 5.5G has more recently been supplemented by F5.5G (or fixed 5.5G) this April at the Huawei’s Global Analyst Summit (see Elnion’s coverage of the event).

A wealth of new requirements will raise the bar for next-generation ICT infrastructure

According to Wang, new developments in digital technology need to support a truly real-time, engaging, and more immersive experience in the digital world, and gradually make a 10 Gbps network experience available everywhere on the planet.

On the industrial front, digitalisation has already entered the fast lane. AI will be fully integrated into enterprise production processes, and the size of the 5.5G IoT market will grow rapidly. Collaboration between robots and people in complex scenarios will impose greater requirements on next-generation industrial field networks.

Currently, bottlenecks in computing, such as memory walls, unbalanced utilisation of data center resources, and low energy efficiency, are hindering the rise of new computing demand. To address these challenges, Huawei is looking to help the industry needs innovate at the architecture and system levels to boost computing supply.

Six features of 5.5G – New value for digital life and development

The first is a 10 Gbps user experience. 5.5G will deliver a 10 Gbps experience through MIMO technology that boasts larger bandwidth, higher spectrum efficiency, and higher-order modulation. With next-generation technologies like FTTR, Wi-Fi 7, 50G PON, and 800G, F5.5G will bring a 10 Gbps experience everywhere.

At the event, Wang proposed Net5.5G for the first time, defining the evolution of IP networks to meet the rising demand for computing power by intelligent applications. “As digitalisation takes hold, intelligent applications will see large-scale commercialisation and computing resources will be located across multiple clouds,” said Wang. “Enterprises need to make use of computing power from multiple clouds at lower costs, with greater agility and flexibility. To this end, we need to keep innovating based on IPv6 to help the industry thrive. This is why we proposed Net5.5G.”

Second, the business scope will go beyond connectivity. 5.5G will go beyond connectivity to include sensing, which will result in a wealth of new scenarios and applications. Wireless sensing and fiber sensing technologies will be used in vehicle-road collaboration and environment monitoring. Passive IoT will integrate cellular and passive tag technologies to create 100 billion potential connections. 5.5G core networks will redefine architectures and foundational technologies to enable new service scenarios, such as industry private networks, industrial field networks, and new calling.

Third, diversified computing will enable diversified applications. In the 5.5G era, computing architectures will be redefined to increase computing efficiency by 10-fold through chip engineering and full peer-to-peer interconnection architectures.

Fourth, data-centric storage will break through existing limits in storage architecture. Future storage will improve storage performance by 10-fold through data-centric hardware and software architecture and diversified data application acceleration engines.

Fifth, full-stack AI native will make L4 highly autonomous driving networks (ADNs) a reality. ADNs have become a common goal of the industry. Full-stack AI native, from network elements to networks and services, will accelerate breakthroughs in ADN technology. The results of new innovation, such as compression algorithms for hundreds of network indicators and unknown fault identification by AI foundation models, will be widely applied in the 5.5G era.

Lastly, developments in green technology and system-level innovation will increase energy efficiency. The ITU-T has adopted Network Carbon data/energy intensity (NCIe) as the unified energy efficiency metric to guide the industry’s green development roadmap. Huawei has developed innovative solutions for green sites, green networks, and green operations to increase network capacity and cut energy consumption per bit. These solutions will empower operators in the 5.5G era.

“As we move towards the 5.5G era, all industry players need to work together to bring standards to maturity and cultivate a thriving industry,” said Wang. He proposed three recommendations to conclude his speech.

  • The industry needs to work closely together to define the vision and roadmap for 5.5G.
  • The industry should define technology standards within the standards frameworks set by 3GPP, ETSI, and ITU.
  • All industry players should work together to promote a thriving industry ecosystem by incubating more use cases and accelerating digital, intelligent transformation.

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Next-Gen Networks & 5G, Facilitating Enterprise Business Transformation

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Enterprise Business Transformation

The prospective industrial network is taking the same route as that of Operations Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT). Varying from WAN and LAN, holding a third-party network to outsource cloud-based SaaS solutions via public clouds.

Presently, the sole aim of most organisations is to acquire real Business Operations Transformation while acquiring more significant business concessions, ROI from network technologies acquisitions, and services sustaining their business core.

Perhaps I can witness the enterprise IT transformation, as the businesses have been continually developing systems, indulging in crafting designs, plans and following the trial and error to roll out Private Converged enterprise networks, with a motive to leverage 5G in particular, regardless of their size and shape. 

But what’s unfortunate is the challenges the enterprise business transformation has brought along due to a lack of experience and skills. This frequently leads the HR departments of the enterprises to struggle while sourcing in-house expertise and understanding of digital enterprise transformation networks. As a result, the challenges bind them to bring those powers to their organisations from the market for a Partner of Choice. 

The difficulties enterprises face when embracing and operating consolidated digital enterprise transformation networks, and 5G solutions are the expertise, as these aren’t their core business. Instead, they ought the suited technology and telecoms counterpart to function with to yield flourishing results.

I recently hosted and mediated a live-stream discussion featuring two globally leading telecom executives, Aashu Virmani, Vice President & Client Partner, Communications, Cyient, and Ray Achemedei, General Manager, Technology & Digital Transformation. Horizon Power, for Cyient, titled CXO Cyience – Designing Networks of Tomorrow.” 

Our conversation was near and around the emerging transition in converged networks as enterprise IT transformation by assembling their own remote converged networks. Our discussion also covered some of their distinctive insights and stances on conceiving a savvy infrastructure. 

Though there wasn’t much that we could cover in our short conversation, after concluding our live stream, I realised that there were two major takeaway points that I believed needed to be heightened for you people. So here are two essential highlights I brought away from our live-stream event and what Aashu and Ray had to articulate on each matter when I requested them both to confer on them.

Takeaway #1

Early adopters witness prospects for instantaneous triumphs, and early adopter yields from Next-Generation Networks mainly fused personal networks across firms, which are usually prepared to leverage 5G, are flaring up prospects on multiple fronts, resulting in the advancement of creative business prototypes as new use cases for Customer and Business conditions arise.

I’m witnessing an inflated number of prospects for corps to attain influential Enterprise Business Transformation via Next Generation Networks by embracing new functioning models and use cases that access the technology that enables consolidated and Next Generation Networks.

Undoubtedly, this was conferred in profundity during our live-stream affair. Still, I felt there was more that my ace visitors could convey, so I contacted Ray and Aashu Virmani and requested them to elaborate the topic with instances of where they are witnessing possibilities for both prompt victories and early adopter returns. So here is what they had to state:

“Cyient is internally organised across ten industry verticals, from Communications to Utilities, Mining, Rail, Aerospace, and Medical – just to name a few. Within the past six months, we’ve seen over a dozen of our clients, with whom we were previously engaged for their vertical-specific use cases, start initiatives around communications and developing their own private networks — all in the context of their own enterprise transformation. More and more, we are recognizing internally how our Communications business is fast becoming ‘horizontal’ across all of our other verticals when it comes to private networks. We are simultaneously engaging with our CSP customers to help them develop and expand their implementation practices around offering private networks to their enterprise accounts.”, Aashu Virmani, Vice President & Client Partner, Communications, Cyient.

“Quick wins are a great and important way to prove out and demonstrate the value of next-generation network investments, and certainly in the space we occupy there is no shortage of examples. For example, five years ago, we installed advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) to underpin our Smart Grid goals and objectives. Initially, we used it to collect, send, and analyse consumer energy consumption data. Since then, we’ve leveraged the same data sets to automatically detect neutral integrity issues. Looking to tomorrow, we want to leverage the abilities of our AMI infrastructure to self-heal, support demand-side DER management, and enhance energy efficiency.”, Ray Achemedei, General Manager, Technology & Digital Transformation, Horizon Power.

Takeaway #2

The content of architecture industries can currently think when enforcing personal networks persists in flaring up assertive new prospects for enterprise business transformation. Multiple believed the things of telcos & carriers are now obtainable to enterprise consumers across the range.

The emphasis now is not solely to construct it correctly the foremost time, but likewise, construct it ‘intelligently’ so that process & administration evolves actually and efficiently.

Corps have become ever more critical to find the best probable Partner of Choice to defend them to accomplish such transformative developments. But, unfortunately, it is not usually the core business for most institutions to enforce, function, or drive Next Generation Networks.

Similarly, I conferred this extensively with my visitors during our live-stream event. Still, I desired to proffer my ace visitors the chance to convey more on this. So I requested them to elaborate the topic with instances where they witness prospects. So here is what they had to convey:

“When it comes to intelligent network architectures, an important learning for us was that it’s not simply a case of one size fits all. If you focus on your use cases, then the right architecture/s become apparent. Once we resolved that, it was exciting to see other opportunities emerge. For example, in our case we started by looking at a use case that supported our Operational requirements, however, we subsequently realised that the architecture that emerged from this, offered support for a wide range of use cases we hadn’t considered that sat outside of our Operations group and that these particular use cases offered us the potential to develop a significant new revenue stream. In an environment where there is considerable pressure on costs and revenues, opportunities such as this are game-changing.”, Ray Achemedei, General Manager, Technology & Digital Transformation, Horizon Power.

“Developing the right architecture for a private network depends on the eventual use case (or cases) the customer is attempting to solve, and which of the following six criteria are most important drivers: coverage, latency, density, QoS, security, and cost. The right architecture, and which OEMs we use for the customer depends on which variables we are attempting to optimise, and can range between being an extension and densification of the CSP network at the enterprise premises, to being a completely air-gapped stand-alone network owned and managed by the enterprise, to a hybrid between these two extremes. The important thing to realise is that no two networks are equal because the business problem for a mining customer may be drastically different from that of a manufacturing plant owner. Having an understanding of various industry verticals gives us an advantage when it comes to tailoring a solution that is optimal for a customer.”, Aashu Virmani, Vice President & Client Partner, Communications, Cyient.

What I can conclude from what I was able to absorb and comprehend based on my prior knowledge about the related topic and the insights I received from our hearty discussion is that it is time to act as those waits are surely going to miss the opportunities that early adopters and next-gen network embracers are going to avail cause of begin, not just early but skilful birds.

Besides, please do listen via the link below if you haven’t already tuned into the exclusive panel conversation I had with Ray and Aashu. I look ahead to resuming this discussion with Ray, Aashu, and the crew at Cyient in the future.

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Stacey Marx, AT&T on Retail and Small Business

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I caught up with Stacey Marx, President, National Business & Channels, AT&T Business on camera, to discuss the recent success stories around how AT&T Business have worked with and supported their customers through the last 12 to 18 months now leading up to, and during the global #COVID19 pandemic.

In her role as president of National Business & Channels, Stacey leads a team of over six thousand professionals, dedicated to partnering with over three million small and medium business customers, to help them achieve growth and maximise their potential with technology innovation by leveraging the broad range of products & services AT&T Business can offer.

In this fireside chat we cover some of the latest trends, business & technology challenges and opportunities small business operators should be considering as they look at the road forward coming out of a pandemic.

We kicked off with my usual “get to know you”, Stacey shares insights into her role, the remit and challenges of “a day in the life of Stacey Marx”, as well as a look into what her business unit is responsible for, and some details around the team and ecosystem around them, and their customer base, giving us a great view of her world and the amazing depth and breadth of what she and her team bring to the market.

A Q&A with Stacey Marx on Retail and Small Businesses

Our conversation then delves into the challenges that businesses leaders, especially within small businesses, face in a post-pandemic world, and how technology is key to meeting these challenges, and specifically three key focus areas which I’ve been keen to discuss with Stacey for a while – including:

#1 – The challenges SMB retail leaders face in a post-pandemic world

In this segment I share that in my view, if there was one industry other than healthcare which has carried more than its fair share of the burden to see society through the last year and a half, surely it is the Retail sector.

I also ask Stacy what challenges she and her team are seeing retailers in particular face as they plan now for a post-pandemic world, especially those small and medium-sized businesses who may have fewer resources.

#2 – What can the Retail industry do to address these various challenges

Around this key point, I ask Stacey where SMB players should be looking for ways and means to map their route out of their current state, to putting people, technology and telecommunications at the forefront of their strategic direction to address these key challenges.

#3 – How is AT&T Business helping the Retail industry leverage its many offerings

Here I share that I see one of the key challenges for Retailers, particularly for Small business retailers, are being challenged with, is finding the right Partner of Choice to help them gain access to and implement new technologies such as 5G, or ensure they have the right solutions in place for the likes of Cybersecurity, as these capabilities are not their core business.

And I ask Stacey if she could share details around how is AT&T Business helping SMBs leverage your many business, technology & telecommunications offerings, and we look at a number of great customer stories, use cases and real world examples.

We also go on to discuss at high level, a range of other potential use cases Stacey thinks organisations should be looking to.

In particular we look at areas where small business operators perhaps may not currently be taking advantage of, and if there are any outliers that she and her team are seeing which might not be immediately obvious but are high value opportunities for small to medium sized businesses.

We wrap up this great conversation with a view of what do Stacey thinks is coming over the horizon in the next 12 to 18 months, my classic “crystal ball gazing” question, and in particular what small business owners and or decision makers should be considering as they look to the short to medium term future.

Tune in now for all of these amazing topics and more.

This video was made in partnership with AT&T Business.

For more information visit:

AT&T Business website: http://bit.ly/attbusiness​

AT&T Business SMB web portal: http://bit.ly/attsmallbusiness

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