Verizon’s view of 5G as the growth engine of the future to revolutionize primary vertical industries by enabling ‘real time’ business processes is unique among operators.
As only few 5G services have been launched and not many are expected to be launched until next year or the following year, the associated use cases have been vague. 5G is certainly viewed with excitement by the industry, but concrete descriptions of plans, products, services and enterprise use cases have been in short supply.
However, at its recent Analyst Forum in New Jersey on 17 and 18 September 2018, Verizon described 2020 as the beginning of the period in which 5G and multi-access edge computing will enable the next exponential growth opportunities for enterprise services.
Verizon not only emphasized its first-mover status for 5G with its recently launched home broadband service ‘Ultra-wideband’ but also detailed the business impact, key technology trends, products and even the primary vertical industries—retail, manufacturing, supply chain logistics and healthcare—in which it will focus its enterprise 5G efforts.
Verizon’s view of the role of 5G in its enterprise services portfolio goes several steps further. Its view is that with the advent of 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), along with SDN, video, security telematics, and edge computing, will expand to become a foundational enabler of the real-time enterprise (RTE), in which businesses can exploit information, actions and events the moment they occur.
This view of the future takes advantage of emerging technologies such as massive sensor density, video analytics, robotics and automation, artificial intelligence/machine learning and augmented reality/virtual reality.
What this revolution means to Verizon is the ability to monetize services such as IoT and enterprise mobility at a much higher level than before by helping customers with end-to-end solutions that allow businesses to automate processes with real-time intelligence; leverage sensor-based inventory management; provide remote control of heavy machinery; and achieve end-to-end visibility and control of products from production to consumption.
Industry skepticism about the potential of 5G is rampant. Verizon may be proving that with a solid road map this negativity isn’t deserved. The danger is that while operators become 5G cheerleaders, others reap the rewards as the rest of the ecosystem marginalizes access and starts to offer a range of 5G-enabled services. Verizon and the other 5G trailblazers are hoping that by opening the narrative, they’ll also be able to capitalize on their own 5G investments beyond just selling airtime.
Kathryn Weldon is Technology Research Director at GlobalData.