Enterprises now expect 5G ‘to deliver better business outcomes’

Enterprise expectations of what 5G can deliver are moving into a new phase, away from just better connectivity and towards improved business outcomes, according to a senior analyst.

 

Camille Mendler, Chief Analyst with independent research firm Omdia, has been tracking attitudes to 5G, and other significant new technologies, to see how perceptions of them are changing among business leaders.

 

“Every year we survey about four and a half thousand enterprises around the world about their investment priorities,” said Mendler. “We look at what’s keeping them up at night, and what innovations they have planned. In the past 12 months there has been a change in perception of what 5G can do for them. Expectations have changed fundamentally.”

 

A year ago, she explained, enterprises were at the stage of hoping that 5G would make them less dependent on their fixed network, would give them lower latency, would support their applications better: “These were reasonable if pedestrian expectations,” she said. “Now a year on it’s not technology outcomes they are thinking about but business outcomes. Number one on their list is the delivery of better business insights to enable faster decision making. They want to improve the productivity of their remote and field workers. They want to accelerate the automation of processes. 5G for them is now about solutions and outcomes, not feeds and speeds. It’s not 4G with ‘go faster’ stripes. It’s about what kind of business you can run when latency is near zero.”

 

Mendler has also noted a rise in the importance of Private 5G, with many enterprises choosing to build and maintain their own 5G networks so that they can use them in fields such as IoT. A private 5G network is one that does not share traffic with other mobile networks in the vicinity, so is not in contention with consumer users.

 

The adoption of private 5G networks is starting to pick up pace as regulators start to allocate more 5G spectrum for enterprise use. A number of vertical sectors have already taken advantage, such as manufacturing where private 5G capabilities are behind the applications driving smart factories and smart logistics networks.

 

In the consumer sector, 5G has sometimes struggled to fulfil the promises made for it at launch, such as the ability to deliver super-fast connectivity, vast bandwidth, high data rates, ultra-low latency, high security, reliability and scalability to accommodate enormous volumes of IoT-connected sensors and devices.

 

 

 

 

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Book of the Month*

The Serendipity Mindset: The Art and Science of Creating Good Luck

By Dr Christian Busch
Serendipity is an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident. To other people it looks like “good luck”, but it is more the ability to recognise and seize an opportunity, rather than have good fortune thrust upon one. Finding a wallet stuffed with money on the conference room floor is good luck, whereas holding it up and asking if anyone has lost their wallet might be the beginning of a valuable friendship – that would be serendipity.

Chance encounters, or strokes of fortune, feature in countless stories of business success. This book looks beneath the surface, reveals and teaches the mindset that can transform pure chance into opportunity. The author is director of the Global Economy Program at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs, and a lecturer at the London School of Economics.

Serendipity is an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident. To other people it looks like “good luck”, but it is more the ability to recognise and seize an opportunity, rather than have good fortune thrust upon one. Finding a wallet stuffed with money on the conference room floor is good luck, whereas holding it up and asking if anyone has lost their wallet might be the beginning of a valuable friendship – that would be serendipity.

The author says “This is a book about the interactions of coincidence, human ambition and imagination”. In the above example: finding the wallet is the coincidence; ambition is the desire to make something of the discovery; add imagination and you open up a whole menu of possibilities: from spending spree to earning a reputation for honesty – or even making a wealthy friend.

Business is typically forged on human ambition and imagination, but early success often feeds an appetite for control – and “control freaks” can be blind to the opportunities thrown up by the unexpected. They only see chance events as distractions. If plans go awry, they may blame the failure on “bad luck” rather than admit their own inflexible attitude.

The author himself admits to being “a German who is used to planning” and prone to feel anxious when something unexpected happens. That makes him an ideal teacher, because he has worked hard to discover and analyse the mindset that enables one to “connect the dots” and cultivate serendipity. He presents a goldmine of examples from science, business and life where an apparent mishap or failure lead to a breakthrough.

Indeed, studies suggest that around 50% of major scientific breakthroughs emerge as the result of accidents or coincidences. A well-known example is Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin, launching the whole field of antibiotics. Other examples include X-rays, nylon, microwave ovens, rubber, Velcro, Viagra and Post-it Notes – where would we be without these!

The book goes beyond the ability to recognise and respond to opportunities in chaos, but the subtitle – The Art and Science of Creating Good Luck – is actually a bit misleading. True, he does show ways to develop better fortune, but it would be better to call it “inviting” or “encouraging” good luck. For example, he suggests better ways to start a conversation with a stranger – ways that will make it more likely to lead to chance connections or shared interests.

The publishers may have chosen the word “creating” to make the book appeal to the human desire to control – for control freaks are exactly the readership that would benefit the most from this book’s wisdom and practical advice.

For the rest of us, it offers a great way to rediscover the sense of play that is so important in life – and too often lost in business.

 

“Following the success of The Serendipity Mindset hardback, a paperback edition has also now been launched under the title “Connect the Dots”.

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