5G and keeping up with the accelerated pace of change
Communication service providers (CSPs) are painfully aware that they’re not innovating fast enough to respond to changing customer expectations, or to the new opportunities being created by big data and software-defined services. They risk being side-lined in the fight for customers and the promised revenues from services exploiting 5G, such as IoT.
Understandably, they don’t want to miss out on these opportunities by being late adopters and slow innovators – so many are waking up to the fact they must take action now to survive current and future market disruption, says Gabriele Di Piazza, VP Products & Solutions, Telco NFV, VMware.
In today’s software-driven, customer-focused world, this means being open to different sources of innovation within an organisation. It needn’t be limited to an organisation’s R&D team. In fact, effective innovation usually involves multiple drivers. These include business culture and organisation, customer feedback, the need to take costs out of infrastructure and to lower OpEx generally, and delivering agile services and high value customer experiences.
The internet and the connected world are undoubtedly the key driving forces behind this move, with the need for a wholesale digital transformation influencing many business strategies. In many cases, established methodologies struggle to adapt in-line with not only the pace of change, but also the fundamental shift in how businesses perceive and engage with their customers. In such a world, change is constant, and it’s essential that CSPs are able to keep pace.
As CSPs pursue new forms of innovation, it is the adoption of 5G which will provide the most encouragement to deliver agile services. The technology promises to be a game changer for CSPs, bridging physical, virtual and social worlds and heralding revolutionary new technologies, including Virtual Reality applications.
Its ability to monetise the network in radical new ways, represents a huge opportunity for CSPs. For example, 5G’s ability to allocate slices of the network spectrum for specific services will offer innovation for service providers to tailor and attract lucrative customer market segments. Network slices will be used to deliver industry-specific services where each slice delivers a set of unique service characteristics tuned to the vertical market’s needs.
The allocation of network slices will be possible thanks to increased data volume, low latency and faster data transfer speed. 5G networks can be dynamically tailored to meet the needs of the customers or services that will use them at any moment in time. For instance, a rural village does not need the same network efficiency as a football stadium during a game, where people will want to stream in HD and use video.
They also have the capacity to enhance mobile broadband connections and massive machine-type communications – for instance, between intelligent machines that require no human input – thanks to an increased scalability, speed and bandwidth.
As a result, the transmission of data can be fully automated and programmed to meet different case requirements, without the need for human interaction in a faster and reliable way. With this in mind, this revolution will require businesses to build a customer-centric strategy. The single-minded focus on the customer as the guiding light, enables businesses to drive new models of innovation.
Indeed, with 5G comes the challenge of reaching out to an ever-moving target that will take advantage of the technology to choose the service that suits them best. The service will therefore need to deliver consistently to consumers and be tailored to their needs. CSPs will then need to re-evaluate their approach to innovation as 5G will not only revolutionise the quality of the network service, but above all how it is used.
Applying old methods to this new technology simply won’t do, and those that do not adapt will quickly be side-lined. Keeping the customer at the centre of this new innovation will prove essential to succeed and unleash the whole potential of 5G.
For any innovation strategy to succeed today, it needs to be closely aligned to the strategy of the business and to deliver customer value, as well value to the shareholders and board members. Evolving from old methods of innovation will not be an easy task, but it will make the difference between success and failure.
The author of this blog is Gabriele Di Piazza, VP Products & Solutions, Telco NFV, VMware