? The mercurial market sentiment around private 5G may be rebounding again in a more positive direction, as a number of new service launches and partnerships are announced in July and August 2023.
? Telcos are taking the lead in new service offerings (generally based on solutions from familiar infrastructure partners), while integrators, platform vendors, and market specialists forge new market alliances.
For suppliers of network gear and services as well as the applications they support, the private wireless/cellular/mobile networks market has been seen variously since 2020 as a bright spot, a conundrum, or a concern. Some of the same market players have been extremely bullish and cautious within a short space of time. Whenever there appears to be a chorus of disappointment, it isn’t long before key players or new entrants (or analysts) are quoted saying the market appears to finally be picking up.
? Without a transparent commitment to data integrity, tech companies – and, increasingly, all businesses – will struggle to retain customer trust.
? ‘Digital trust’ goes beyond customer personal data protection, however, extending to trust in fundamental data integrity in all digital interactions.
As just about every tech company embraces artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and data analytics to take advantage of the long-term trend of digital transformation,?digital trust?has emerged as a key issue for consumers and enterprises – and for the tech companies themselves. The idea is that today’s increasingly data-centric world is only possible with transparency and trust, and that trust and security in digital business models is a fundamental requirement, and not optional.
? There are many potential use cases in the enterprise for generative AI, but many will be enabled by existing cloud solutions.
? Some use cases requiring real-time responses may emerge, generating modest demand for MEC and/or 5G services.
Expectations of demand for 5G and multi-access edge computing (MEC) services from the enterprise segment are established – in part – on enabling artificial intelligence (AI) to be used in real-time applications. AI requires considerable computing power, usually achieved in the cloud where its demanding requirements can be scaled, but where such resources are too distant (due to network latency) to be relied upon for use cases where seconds or milliseconds in application response time can determine success or failure. There are other reasons why MEC makes sense in this scenario, including both the security benefits and cost savings achieved by not sending massive amounts of data to and from the cloud. With the recent hype around generative AI and the potential impact on various professions, industries, and organizations, it is worth considering whether its uptake will mean even more demand for MEC and/or 5G.
? Tech buzzwords work when they successfully communicate innovation in a catchy phrase.
? The emerging ‘AIoT’ construction is awkward, but it may help IoT providers communicate their value to knowledgeable tech audiences.
The concept of combining AI and IoT has been around for a few years. More recently, some tech market players have begun using the phraseology ‘AIoT’ to capture it. A good technology buzzword helps communicate instantly to tech and non-tech audiences what the innovation is all about, or at least provides a sizable hint. Both ‘artificial intelligence’ and ‘Internet of Things’ have been pretty good at this, but the mashup term AIoT (or ‘artificial intelligence of things’) is awkward, not self-explanatory, and ultimately, unhelpful.
? NB-IoT and LTE-M took several years to build market momentum due to the significant work required upfront by service providers and device makers.
? Despite that, low-power wide-area networks (LPWANs) remains a fundamental aspect of leading IoT service provider strategies.
LPWANs for IoT did not achieve the kind of growth that analysts, network operators, device makers, and even potential users (like utilities and local governments) predicted 10 years ago. Even five years ago, the IoT industry confidently expected the advent of narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) and LTE-M standards to kickstart deployments on a vast scale.
? The Global Mobile Suppliers’ Association (GSA) report demonstrates continued growth in private LTE/5G network deployments within key sectors and regions.
? The report is mostly consistent with GlobalData’s own market tracking data, but not always; variances in definitions and available data sources can account for discrepancies between the different databases.
The GSA has?published?its latest quarterly report on private cellular networks, adding data from another 66 new networks in Q3 2022 (and 214 during Q1 2022 to Q3 2022) for a total of 955. Its aggregate tracking statistics provide perhaps the most comprehensive view of trends in private LTE and 5G technology deployment over the last few years, given the participation of GSA members such as Ericsson, Huawei, Mavenir, and Nokia in the data collection. Among its key messages for Q3 2022 is that the three fastest-growing industry sectors had been mining, defense, and manufacturing. It also reports that manufacturing, education, and mining remain the three largest sectors in terms of number of deployments, betagthough the actual size and scale of deployments varies by user type.
? NTT and VMware integrated their respective private network and edge compute offerings – both were originally launched in 2021 – to offer the new Edge-as-a-Service.
? The partners will go to market jointly and coordinate sales, marketing, and customer co-innovations, with NTT delivering the managed service across its global footprint.
NTT Ltd. and VMware launched Edge-as-a-Service, a fully managed edge compute platform that runs on the Intel network and edge infrastructure and is complemented by NTT’s existing private LTE/5G offering based on technology from Celona. NTT is using VMware’s Edge Compute Stack, an integrated virtual machine (VM) and container-based stack to help organizations zeitgemäßize and secure edge-native apps close to end users, while VMware – despite already offering a private cellular connectivity platform built on components from Druid Software and ASOCS – is now adopting NTT’s Private 5G as part of its edge solution.
Vodafone’s data analytics strategy continues to focus on both internal and external opportunities to harvest data (including aggregated, anonymized customer data) for increased efficiency and monetization.
Its update briefing for analysts was notable more about its progress in the latter.
IoT is reducing costs, eliminating waste, and improving quality across the agriculture sector.
The next step is automation, with 5G-enabled robots in Sweden poised to get their hands dirty in the field.
There is now an autonomous ‘field robot’ which can pull weeds faster – and presumably more accurately – than any fbedürftigworker, at least according to Ekobot AB’s ‘precision agriculture’ tagline. ?The smart agriculture approach, which utilizes artificial intelligence, automation, and the public 5G network, should reduce costs and improve performance of the fbedürftig. ?Ekobot’s mission is to be able to offer practical and sustainable solutions to agricultural issues while reducing workloads with autonomous tools for vegetable fbedürftigers. Continue reading “Robot Fbedürftigers Will Require 5G, but Agriculture Is Already Getting Smart with IoT”→