Where will the next billion – users – come from?
We’re undoubtedly in a time of change for communications service providers (CSPs). Many have started to make big strides to invest in new technology. Mobile World Congress 2018 will provide the opportunity for discussions about the investments they must make and how to prepare their future workforce to reap the benefits of their chosen model, enabled by seamless connectivity, writes Francesco Venturini, the global industry managing director for Communications & Media at Accenture.
One of the big trends for discussion will be how dynamic and elastic edge networks can come together with Webscale cloud platforms to connect the next billions of users.
In a world where everything from clothing and appliances, to cars, homes and more are connected, connectivity is more than just a commodity – it’s everywhere. And as demand and expectations for ubiquitous connectivity grows, so does the pressure on the networks. Conversations at MWC will focus on how those networks need to move from hardware to software-based pervasive networks, and how they can build these next-generation platforms by harnessing 5G, edge computing and blockchain to meet the demands all the way from customer engagement (B2B and B2C) through to the network infrastructure.
The first clients to benefit from the distinctive capabilities of the pervasive network will be in the B2B space. On average, 24% of CSP revenue is business-to-business (B2B), yet there is a huge market potential created by the establishment of pervasive networks that today isn’t being addressed by the CSPs. As such, they must act quickly or risk losing out on a huge opportunity that is ripe for the picking.
The CSP will have the chance to take an active role in the growing market of digitisation of enterprise business processes, by gradually building a pervasive and context aware network, with new tradable assets that will shift the monetisation paradigm away from data plans and voice minutes.
This new business model is built on an open application programme interface (API) infrastructure enabled by microservices and a dynamic programmable network enabling digital transformation projects for enterprise clients. And to be successful, the CSP will need to expose a new or augmented set of network features in real-time to enterprises, such as dynamic connectivity in a network slices, on-demand mobile edge compute or traceable secure transactions.
The typical use-cases are industries that need valuable insights in real-time, enabled by real-time edge analytics, remote control (haptic) or critical transactions. An example is connected manufacturing. Already in the industrial plant, the low-latency 5G network slice enables the engineer to utilise haptic or augmented reality for critical interventions or process improvements, even drawing conclusions from data in the field. As the equipment, such as an engine, leaves the plant and is embedded in a car, it collects a tremendous amount of data that thanks to the pervasive network can be analysed in real time and business critical information can be safely transferred.
The CSP will offer the best ubiquitous connectivity for the connected object and process to the enterprise – such as a connected supply chain service, with a monetisation schema led by the business transaction; as part of the service experience and delivery, the CSP also gains context of the specific transaction by trading a more effective platform to base the process on. This information is then offered to the larger ecosystem, for exampe to insurance, blockchain or product lifecycle management partners.
By offering the most effective pervasive network in a country combined with best global reach the CSP is positioned to take a leading role in the road to [what Accenture is calling] Industry X.0, the emerging modern enterprise combining communications, IT data and physical elements that enables the Industrial internet of things.