In a new post on the Ericsson blog, Peter Linder, head of 5G marketing for Ericsson in North America, has outlined how the company believes that use places, and not 5G use cases, could be the primary driver for 5G adoption.
The question of where to deploy 5G first is central to both communication service providers (CSPs) and enterprises, the blog outlines. It illustrates how enterprises need 5G connectivity at selected locations, whilst CSPs want to build network availability in the right places. And Ericsson believes that these two strategies coalesce in 5G ‘use places’.
“Communication service providers are building out 5G networks quickly and leveraging all spectrum assets when launching 5G services,” Linder explains. “At the same time, you want to increase clarity around the deployment business case — requiring crisp motivations of where to roll out networks with predictable business outcomes.”
Identifying where to build 5G networks
Where network coverage for 4G is omnipresent, 5G is still hard to find. And with a huge capital expenditure commitment required for mobile network operators to deliver 5G SA services, putting 5G networks where they’re needed most is vital.
“Across the first ten industries we analyzed, we found 200 use cases where 5G could make a difference,” says Linder. “Communication service providers need to decide where to start building 5G, especially when it comes to places where highband makes a big difference, and there’s real inspiration for future investments.”
The biggest opportunities, Ericsson says, are where 5G offers speed and latency improvements over pre-existing wired solutions, enabling businesses to benefit from quicker, cheaper, and more flexible configurations. But the company says first-mover advantage is key.
“Communication service providers are building out 5G networks quickly and leveraging all spectrum assets when launching 5G services. At the same time, you want to increase clarity around the deployment business case — requiring crisp motivations of where to roll out networks with predictable business outcomes,” explains Linder. “Being second to offer 5G millimeter wave in a location for fixed wireless and dedicated networks is hard.”
5G use places for enterprise
According to Ericsson, whether you are working within an enterprise, or a small or medium sized business, there are a host of attractive ‘use places’ that 5G could support.
- Sports and entertainment venues - to enhance live experiences with digital complements
- Fortune 500 headquarters - as a platform for digital transformation innovations before scaling them across the whole corporation
- University campuses - as a platform for the transformation of education and innovations led by small and medium businesses
- Manufacturing plants - accelerating the transition to smart manufacturing and high levels of agility and automation
- Warehouses - providing connectivity for automated guide vehicles and connecting individuals
- Airports - extending the wireless connectivity to planes transforming airport services
- Hospitals - requiring reliable wireless services to connect patients, staff and emerging productivity-improving robots
Small and medium business 5G use places
The availability and cost of fiber is a limiting factor for many small and medium sized businesses. But the use place concept allows you to frame opportunities more clearly, Ericsson says, creating even bigger potential for scaling. And use places are also well suited as a strategic sales tool for small and medium businesses.
- Restaurants - increasing their ability to leverage digital tools for menus, order handling, virtual chef visits, and contactless payment solutions
- Smaller stores - with shorter lifetimes – the ability to connect and disconnect stores in weeks rather than months is the new norm
- Branch offices - with a large portion of the offices beyond the fiber grid with limited onsite tech support
- Renting out private homes - where guests expect to live and work with the same level of connectivity they have at home or in the office
- Farms - extending wireless network connectivity from farms to farmlands, as a fundamental enabler for precision agriculture
In conclusion, the posts recommends that businesses integrate a use-place-centric strategy into their 5G plans.
"Engage with the best stakeholders you can find in each use place category," Linder says. "Aim to successfully execute a use case pilot in 2020 that you can scale in 2021 and beyond to become a 5G growth driver outside of consumer segments," he concludes.