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Platforms and Partnerships: Will MWC reveal the new ecosystems needed to exploit 5G?

 
 

Next Gen Insights | Andrew Brown |
23 January 2020

Over the past decade, we have seen large organisations across multiple industries undergo massive digital transformation. They have digitised processes and interactions in ways that brought greater customer satisfaction and reduced costs at the same time.

What we have seen to date, however, has been the low hanging fruit. This is demonstrated by the biggest advancements taking place in service industries where digital provides more compelling customer experiences or enables customer self-service, mainly in industries where IT is the service.

The banking, financial services and payments industries are, at their core, about transactions which have gone from being paper-based to digital over time and therefore, whilst it may not have felt like it at the time, when the handheld computing power and the connectivity to enable it came along, they were ripe for digitisation.

We're now seeing transformation on the verge of going boldly where it hasn’t gone before, enabled this time by 5G and the rise of IoT, enabling IT to transform physical industries such as Transport and Logistics and Automotive.  This presents a greater challenge for the teams responsible for an organisation’s technology roadmap, as the mapping of IT products and capabilities to the services which these companies offer isn't a simple one to one affair.

A transformation like this requires a major shift, where organisations get IT out of the data centre and into the physical world, at a pace and a volume that we haven’t seen before. Instead of the heavy lifting being done in the server room, it is going to be happening at the edge through smart endpoints.

These industries are now at the start of a new digital journey that is much more physical in nature, and digital maps across it in increasingly complex ways. This journey also requires connectivity in challenging environments that may not always have an established infrastructure, for example at sea, in the warehouse, or on the docks. That isn’t just a question of connectivity, it’s also a question of managing and maintaining all those end points in the field.

There has been a lot of hype about 5G since its inception, but up until now, we are yet to see it really start to have the kind of impact that was predicted. As availability and adoption continues to grow, we expect to see a generational shift where it will be taken for granted that everything is ‘smart’ and connected, everywhere. And as tech moves increasingly from the centre to the edge, Telco’s are poised to be at the heart of this revolution.

More than previous generations of mobile connectivity, 5G is an umbrella for a disparate set of specialist services. I believe we're going to see the Telco market further fragment as each business begins to specialise in niche areas, and starts to form partnerships and platforms to deliver services to specific industries and use cases.

In many ways, as we moved from voice to data, the Telco’s lost out to OTT providers, who took the lion’s share of the prize, but now with 5G, they have a chance to reset that and become the platform providers at the centre of the IoT revolution. I'm eager to see how those platforms and alliances are starting to emerge this year at MWC.

Looking at the MWC Barcelona agenda, it is clear that 5G and IoT form a big part of the topics up for discussion. Along with this comes the usual suspects of security and privacy. I am interested to see what alliances will begin to emerge between Telco’s and Automotive companies, City governments, and CPG companies, who by working together can realise the full potential of 5G, and enable a new wave of digital disruption in our daily lives.

I am also looking forward to getting a deeper understanding around how big Telco’s hope to contribute toward sustainability and ensuring that underserved communities are able to reap the benefits of these technologies too.

Andrew Brown

Delivery Partner

Andrew is focused on mobilising teams to support Endava’s clients and ensures we are always adding value. Seventeen of his 20 years in technology delivery have been with Endava, helping us shape our delivery organisation and capability from niche central European outsourcing through to an international IT services organisation. When he is not delivering IT transformation he’s busy transforming his 1974 Volkswagen camper van to be ready to hit the road this summer.

 

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