This year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona has been an especially hype-tastic affair. We covered the disconnect between tech marketing and reality earlier in the week, and a dose of reality from one of the software world’s more notable players is a welcome relief.
Speaking to Telecoms.com, Gabriel Kerner – Amdocs head of product management – told us some use-case scenarios for 5G, such as gimmicky IoT toasters and fridges, are so ill-defined that the industry needs to take a step back and ask itself what it really wants to achieve. Being the first to deliver a technology that nobody really wants or needs is a pointless distraction and will end up being a wasted endeavour for everyone involved.
“With 2G to 3G, and 3G to 4G, the use case was clear and easily imaginable,” Kerner said. “The move to 5G brings with it a unique set of challenges, it is not your typical evolution. As a result, operators need to really think about what they want to achieve – is it a faster network, or about looking at what the customer wants? No one really knows yet.”
After all, how can operators and vendors begin developing an undefined infrastructure and set of services, and how can they prepare for something that can’t yet imagine? Kerner philosophically ponders the preparation for a new era that is going to be a long time coming.
“It is a challenge. You can only relate to what you know. You can only prepare for what you don’t know, and that is what the industry needs to try and achieve. That needs to be a collaboration, and as far as Amdocs is concerned, the more the merrier.”
In reference to one of 2016’s most overused buzzwords, Kerner says digital transformation brings with it a threat of complacency.
“We need to be careful not to over-digitise,” he said. “It’s almost becoming anti-digital. Too much digitalisation and we’ll forget the goals we’re trying to achieve.”
There’s something refreshing about hearing industry experts call for a slightly more level-headed approach to 5G and, specifically, for digital advancement. There’s a line between genuine innovation and forced, unguided and gimmicky innovation, and Amdocs is calling for the industry to get some perspective and stay on the right side of that line.