The accelerated implementation of digital transformation plans across all the sectors as a result of the COVID pandemic now includes an increase in demand for the private 5G network rollouts.
This accelerated arrival of 5G networks – both public and private – at a time of economic turmoil and rapid digital adoption will almost certainly drive a fertile period of intense tech and business innovation across the economy.
Verizon Business Group regional vice-president Rob Le Busque equates the current conditions to the period that followed the Global Financial Crisis. That period of significant economic and business turmoil coincided with the arrival of 4G mobile technology and with the availability of at-scale compute power in the rise of cloud computing.
It was during this period, which also coincided with the proliferation of smartphones, that companies like Uber and Airbnb got a start and began to grow.
“We have many of those ingredients today,” Mr Le Busque said. “There is large scale economic upheaval. There is the rise of 5G technology, which is a quantum step-up again in terms of connectivity and capability.”
“And we have a new generation of cloud which is bringing the power of cloud technology right to the edge of the network where it can feed and fuel new 5G applications.”
“Those ingredients are going to build a florid time for innovation and development as organisations, including startups, start to understand the power of this technology and the power of the combination of technologies. Out role is to help organisations to unlock that power.”
Mr Le Busque said that Australian enterprises are early adopters of new technology and had been factoring the arrival of 5G into technology decisions for at least the past 12 to 24 months. But the strength of the accelerated interest in building out private 5G networks was noteworthy.
The “currency” of private 5G networks and what it brings on top of private LTE networks is its sensor density, ultra-low latency, ultra-high bandwidth, the ability to slice and dice bandwidth to better manage the network, and even the ability to more dynamically manage battery capability and battery life on sensors around the environment.
This makes it useful in campus environments or any large physical spaces. That means applications in increasingly automated mine sites, or within the new investments being made in advanced manufacturing in Australia.
But there are also clear use cases across the healthcare, entertainment and media sectors, as well as in government service smart city applications.
Verizon Business last month announced the launch of its international private 5G platform for global enterprises located in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
Delivered in partnership with Nokia, the offering will enable businesses to deploy a private industrial grade dedicated 5G network capability within their premises.
The private 5G being delivered by Verizon will use Nokia’s Digital Automation Cloud, a private wireless network with automation enablers that allows for application deployment through a web-based interface.
“The announcement for us is a part of a very deliberate, planned strategy to bring additional network and digital capabilities to our enterprise customers,” Mr Le Busque said.
“Australia is seen as an early adopter of technology and has been for many years, and so private 5G networks are very definitely an area that many organisations in Australia are looking to understand and leverage,” he said.
“Most of the organisations that we speak to here in Australia have been making technology investment decisions over the past 12 to 24 months with a 5G future in mind.
“To that end, I would say that the Australian enterprise market is very ready and very accepting of the benefit they can extract.”
Rob Le Busque is Regional Vice-President Asia Pacific at Verizon Business Group and a member of the InnovationAus Editorial Leadership Council.