#TMFdigital – Innovations in Digital Services Can Build 5G Society

By Zia Askari, Telecom Drive

January 27

As we move towards embracing 5G era and creating 5G ecosystems, it is increasing getting all about gaining more from data, injecting intelligence into the right corners of data. Whether it is eSports, AR, VR or healthcare applications – consumers will look forward to getting great digital experience in the form of unprecedented connectivity speeds – and telecom operators should make all the right moves towards delivering that in a simplistic manner.

Organized by tm forum – Digital Transformation Middle East, Dubai became an ideal platform where telecom operators, vendors and analysts came together to discuss the need for digital transformation, the future of telecoms and the impact of 5G.

Nik Willetts, Chief Executive Officer, tm forum informed, “According to HIS market study – the total economic value that can tied back to 5G for next 15 years – by 2035 is going to be 13.2 trillion dollars and it will create over 22 million jobs. In addition to all this, 5G will also have a big societal impact on different aspects of society including healthcare, education, finance etc. 5G is much more than just another G. It is about so much more than just a faster phone. A faster phone is not going to be a game changer for this industry, a faster phone is just going to be the tip of an iceberg,” he added.

While building a 5G society, we know that 5G, AI and edge have to work together. And the telecom industry needs to capture the full value of 5G.

“We need to change our mindset and we need to do this in three key ways. First is that we can no longer stop with technology. Now our customers want outcomes and not more of technology. Most of our enterprise customers look for simplicity. Second thing is about intelligence that we can drive from all the data. By the end of 2025 we will have more than 170 zettabytes of data. It will be very important for telecoms to drive intelligence out of it. That’s where edge computing has a great role to play. 50 per cent of what we collect (data), will be processed at the edge. 5G capabilities will enable edge computing to be omnipresent. And then third and the most important change will come in the form of our mindsets,” he explained.

5G | Making it Natural | Strategies for a Connected World

Speaking on the importance of simplicity for telecoms, Maxim Nartov – Customer Solutions Director, Nexign said that we need to hide all the complexities from the consumer. Customers always look for simple ways to be able to access services, applications and hence – as a technology, 5G should be able to deliver the same simplicity that customers are looking for. All the complexity of networks, slicing, computing etc can run behind the scenes but the final outcome should be able to clearly deliver what customers want.

“When it comes to enabling Mobile Edge – infrastructure needs to meet service requirements. If I am planning a virtual game, it needs to smoothly run on the network. It means that the game will be running on the edge, I cannot expect that game to run and managed on the other side of the world. That’s why ‘Edge’ will be very important in 5G era. And hence, there will need to be partnerships between those who write applications and those who provide infrastructure to run the applications. It will be very important for the overall 5G ecosystem. 5G will need new tools for realizing potential for new business and landing it to business support,” he explained.

Saleem AlBlooshi – CTO, du (EITC) said that the real power of 5G lies in how it can enable the digital transformation of customer experience.

“Today we are working on three pillars of digital transformation. Firstly, we are continuously improving our 4G infrastructure, we are also expanding our 5G capabilities and thirdly we are also working towards disruptive technologies in the form of full monetization of capabilities that 5G standard is expected to bring.

Disruptive new services and applications will drive new architectural, technical and operational models, forcing things to be done differently from before – from design to implementation of operations.

Technologies around Cloudification, Predictive Maintenance, Edge Distribution, Network Slicing, Artificial Intelligence and Service Automation will play a key role. We believe that 5G will undertake digital shifts along four dimensions of – Technology, Ecosystem, Experience and Operating Model.

Today, we have 15 per cent of our populated area of operations covered by 5G network and thanks to collaboration and coordination with multiple stakeholders to make 5G a reality. One big enabler for 5G adoption in UAE is the spectrum and thanks to TRA the Telecom Regulatory Authority which has made available the 5G spectrum free of cost for two years (2019 and 2020),” he added.

Dr. Muneer Zuhdi – Partner, MEA Region, Bell-Labs Consulting, explained, “Adopting 5G presents strategic choices and the right path depends on the targeted business use cases. 5G will open up huge opportunities in driving innovative use cases around industrial automation applications, video surveillance for smart cities, augmented / mixed reality applications, online gaming and fixed mobile services.

We will also be having a lot of innovation happening around the edge. Edge Cloud will be placing compute and applications at the optimal location, addressing the capacity demand while driving down latency.

A digital operations congruence framework will guide successful transformations such as the evolution to DSP and readiness for 5G,” he explained.