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Telenor says edge providers should be happy adoption isn’t happening any faster

the edge event panel

Terje Jensen, SVP of Network Architecture at Norwegian operator Telenor said of the speed of edge infrastructure adoption: “I think we kind of have to be happy that it’s probably not moving as fast as originally planned.”

The comments came in a discussion panel at The Edge Event in London, titled ‘how rapidly can we scale up the deployment of edge infrastructure?’.

When asked about how one might going about doing just that, Jensen said: “I think you should be happy that it’s not moving faster than we are able to [handle]… the question needs to be do we have the competence and capacity, the ecosystems ready to respond to this. I’m not really sure. I think we kind of have to be happy that it’s probably not moving as fast as originally planned.”

However on the subject of firms mulling when, or if, to get involved in the edge, he said: ‘No you cannot wait if you want to be part of this you have to start.’

Jensen went on to ask if each edge installation is bespoke and needs to be tailored specifically depending on each business, let alone each sector, how do you go about scaling a service? He also pointed out that customers, whether they run ‘bakeries, fish farms, or hospitals’ don’t necessarily want to go too far into the tech itself, they just want their businesses to run better.

Ashok Khuntia, EVP, GM, Packet Computing Business Unit at Mavenir said of the speed of edge adoption: “Sometimes when new technologies are introduced, it takes more time than what we originally think. But once it kind of get some traction, it takes less time than what we think [once it gets] momentum. I think we are very, very close to that.”

On the subject of timing and monetisation of moving into edge services, Peter Jarich, head of GSMA Intelligence said: “If you have flexible architectures or are working with the cloud, you don’t have to say ‘do I wait?’ You can roll it out as you build those customer use cases. It doesn’t mean we’re far enough in terms of monetization, I think we still need to see more operators move more quickly on that. We’re probably not seeing all the operators move as fast, but I don’t think we need to look at this as a ‘build it and then wait to see if they come’, the technology is at a place that we can do both those things.”

New tech adoption is sometimes described in terms of a ‘chicken and egg’ scenario – as in, does the rollout of new tech have to precede any conceived business case, or can an effective business case be conceived first which would then require the new tech to fulfil it? Fared Singh, founder at Take 3 Innovate said: “The bottom line is, we suffer from this whole problem of creating our own ‘chicken and egg’ [scenario]. We’re all looking for business cases. I’m also yet to see a business case for 6G and 7G currently, we don’t need to justify spending billions on that. But for edge private networks, we need to have a business case and monetization. And this is a problem.

“Now, the answer is of course, I agree with all of you but at the same time, I want to let you know that it has to be done with a full conviction. And every time that the conviction doesn’t exist, we have this problem of chicken and egg. The monetization is bound to happen. Because the first 80% of use cases are not going to be use cases that effect the top line, they are going to be use cases that effect the bottom line. They’re going to be cost. They’re going to be virtualization, they’re going to be rollout of 5G, they’re going to be things like that. And you have to be aware of that.”

All in all, there were acknowledgments that it’s difficult to sell tech hardware on the basis of connectivity for its own sake – and there was reference to the fact this was sometimes how IoT was sold ten years ago to a less than rapturous response. But also the message seemed to be that deploying edge into a business can’t be expected to immediately yield an uptick in profits. Which neatly sums up the difficulty in explaining to a firm why they should get the wallet out for it, and the difficulty providers might have in justifying getting into the business of selling the stuff.

 

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