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The killer 5G app will be the one which changes behaviour – Orange

It is highly unlikely the telcos will be able to find the silver bullet to justify all 5G investments in a single swoop, and what we’re talking about today is unlikely to cut it.

There were a couple of applications which defined the 4G era, though 5G is gearing itself up to be much more complex. Justifying the expense on 5G infrastructure will be much more of a long-burn for the telcos, as one of the pre-requisites will be the alignment of all the moving parts such as the app economy, fibre deployment, changing consumer behaviour and IOT embedding itself into the world.

This is the complicated message which Patrice Slupowski, SVP Digital Innovation & Chief IoT Officer at Orange put across this morning, and the cornerstone of this vision will be data.

“The apps which will make the biggest difference will be the ones which change behaviour,” Slupowski said at Total Telecom Congress this week.

Perhaps a perfect example of how this can be brought together takes a look at health and lifestyle apps which are becoming increasingly popular throughout society.

There is of course a horde of new devices, products, applications and services which track and measure everything from the number of steps you take each day through to the depth of sleep throughout the night. These are simple usecases of connectivity, but when you start to use this data more intelligently, creating services (both private and public) from the insight gathered it becomes a lot more interesting.

This is where investments in IOT, fibre and mobile connectivity (both 5G and LTE-A) become more apparent. In this example, consumers are becoming more informed about their lifestyles and activities, but the knock-on effect could be more predictive and maintenance-based healthcare regimes. Practitioners can keep track of patients without unnecessary visits to clinics, and on the occasion a visit is necessary, data is significantly more accurate allowing for more personalised healthcare programmes.

Healthcare is the example here, though this should be applied to every angle being worked with a 5G swing. Whether it be in an industrial context for smart factories or connected harbours, or on the roads with intelligent signalling or autonomous vehicles. These are usecases which fundamentally change behaviour, either consumer lifestyle or the way a business runs.

This is perhaps why 5G will be a slow-burn to generate ROI. When you combine 5G with IOT, the cloud, AI and the ever-increasing computational power being offered as a commodity, the real value of data starts to be seen. This is when 5G will start to change the way society and enterprise function, and when it could be seen as a winner.

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2 comments

  1. Avatar Roger Grice 31/10/2019 @ 11:09 pm

    Do 5G and IOT even exist in the same universe? 5G is large bandwidth built for rich data, copper/fibre replacement etc… It’s all about getting a lot of data the customer and will sit within the current pricing structures. Prices may change, but not massive discounts.

    IOT has very different requirements. Lots and lots of low bandwidth connections with minimal data requirements and low power consumption. Importantly IoT needs very low-cost connections. In theory, USSD or SMS would support the needs of most current IoT devices currently and these are old and low-cost tech. The farmer in the mid-west with two thousand acres of corn, will have 100 IoT sensors giving him updates on soil moisture and temperature, doesn’t need bandwidth, a few bytes will do. He needs lots of low-cost devices, low power consumption and low cost connections. Same with the food containers traversing continents.

    Interesting that this industry has embarked on a massive upgrade of capacity and isn’t sure what it will be used for. One of the key justifications is IoT. I don’t see that the 5G commercials fit the commercial requirements for IOT – but I’d be happy to be illuminated. Then I can start thinking about building the killer app that 5G needs.

  2. Avatar Stephen Speirs 04/11/2019 @ 11:50 am

    Hi Roger

    Cisco led one of the UK 5G Testbed and Trials projects, 5G RuralFirst. While many apps are in the category you describe, ther eare some which stretch 5G in terms of latency and bandwidth for upload of high definition video and images. The images were used to analyse soil for automated spraying of fertilizer (or weedkiller), and the videa uploaded from the moving tractor for analysis to detect people and hazards in the way of the autonomous tractor. In our Autonomous Tractor use case, it turned out the challenges were in both these areas. The video bandwidth requirement was not on the download, it was *upload*. With the asynchronous nature of most (all?) mobile network radios, we needed an upload bandwidth of > 100 Mbps, which would be a stretch for many 4G radios. More info at http://www.5GRuralFirst.org

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