Industry Thought Leadership

5G Innovation on Steroids

June, 2019
Manish Vyas
President, Communications, Media & Entertainment Business, and the CEO, Network Services

Tech Mahindra

The pace of innovation has never been this fast, yet it will never be this slow again. To wit: Telephone took 75 years to reach 50 million users, Internet took 4 years to reach the same number and Pokemon Go reached 50 million users in just 19 days.

Welcome to the Digital world.
Networks are the heart of accelerating this pace of innovation. Explosive growth of web scalers, trillion-dollar FANG’s market cap, uberization of economy, rise of the OTT, growing mobile video consumption can all be attributed to the continual evolution of networks. 5G is poised to accelerate this even further and deliver innovation on steroids.

5G Use Cases
5G will accelerate innovation for a broad set of industry verticals, including Media, Entertainment, Healthcare, Agriculture etc., each with its unique requirements and use-cases. Broadly,5G use-cases are classified into three buckets: eMBB (Enhanced Mobile Broadband), MIoT (Massive IoT) and uRLLC (Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communication).

Each of these use cases will put different demands on the network:

  • eMBB: requires ultra-high bandwidth, low latency to deliver enhanced user experience on mobile devices and to enable new applications like AR/VR.
  • MIoT: requires low-bandwidth and even low data rates to connect sensors, but must support extended battery life for sensors, powering Smart Homes, Smart Stadiums, Smart Cities and more.
  • uRLLC: requires ultra-reliable, ultra-low latency, high bandwidth to enable new applications like Autonomous Vehicles, Telemedicine, Public Safety and more.

5G Network
5G is changing the network’s anatomy. With 5G, network can be arranged into different slices catering to diverse needs of applications and content. One physical infrastructure yet multiple different arrangements. Never before have networks had such flexibility, agility and programmability. To achieve this, three key pillars driving innovation for 5G networks are:

  • 5G-AN (Access Networks): which will be virtualized, splitting the real-time and non-real-time functions of Base Stations.
  • 5GNR (New Radio) will enable operators to tap into mm Wave spectrum bands to create fat OTA (over the air) pipes to meet ultra-high bandwidth and ultra-low latency requirements and simultaneously rely on lower spectrum bands(<6GHz) for ubiquity and reliability.
  • 5GC (Core Network): which will truly be cloud native. 3GPP for the first time has specified‘Service Based Architecture ’for the Core Network, built on the principles of Network
  • Function dis-aggregation, containerization, microservices, APIs and more. Furthermore, control and user plane functions are being separated (CUPS) to enable independent scaling and unprecedented programmability. Finally, Edge Computing (MEC) will enable CSPs to dynamically place Network Functions (NF) closer to the end application to address ultra-low latency requirements. MEC will also enable industry verticals to place their own applications closer to the network end point.
  • Hyper Automation: which will be mainstream to enable auto-pilot mode of operations for 5G networks. Orchestration, closed-loop-control, AI/ML, RPA (Robotic Process Automation) will all play a key role in dynamically creating different network arrangements that best meet the needs of end applications and use-cases.

5G network will be completely cloud-native, software defined, dis-aggregated delivering unprecedented agility. SDN/NFV will be the bedrock foundation for 5G. Best-of-breed solutions will dominate 5G networks and will enable CSPs to aggressively bend their cost curve. Today’s networks connect 5 B people on the planet, ~ 70% of the world’s population. We still have to solve for connecting the unconnected 30%. Technologies developed out of 5G will play a key role in solving this.

Like Cloud, 5G will enable industry verticals with new self-service DIY on-demand service models that will allow them to dynamically request network capabilities and resources that best meet the end application needs. With 5G, network can be sliced and differentially priced. Network Slicing automation and assurance will be the new paradigm. New charging models and business models will emerge to comprehensively enable IoT and Digital Transformation. This in turn will necessitate holistic transformation of BSS/OSS systems.

5G – An Innovative Platform
5G is much more than just the network infrastructure. 5G will be an innovation platform that will present unprecedented opportunities and challenges to every industry vertical. Those who prepare well to understand 5G capabilities will greatly benefit by delivering unprecedented experiences to their end costumers, disrupting the marketplace and create strategic differentiation for their business. Others run the risk of being left behind and being disrupted.

For instance, here are some examples of how 5G can potentially transform the Media and Entertainment industry:

  • eMBB will deliver ultra-high bandwidth with peak data rate of 10 Gbps and average data rates of 1Gpbs. Consumers will be able to download 4GB HD movie in a matter of seconds. This will disrupt existing content distribution and consumption models.
  • New immersive experiences for both content and gaming can be delivered with VR. One minute of VR on average consumes 1 GB data. With 5G data rates real-time, high quality VR experiences can be delivered and monetized.
  • Edge Computing will enable content to be brought closer to the consumer’s devices, delivering ultra-low latency and much improved customer experience. With MEC, the industry can collaborate with CSPs and deliver a truly differentiated experience to their customers in a secure way.
  • New real-time gaming experiences will be unleashed leveraging ultra-high bandwidths, ultra-low latency and with hosting games on the Network Edge (MEC). Customers will indulge in new, immersive gaming experience with very high quality and with imperceptible latency.
  • Smart Stadiums will be able to draw crowds back to the stadium by delivering new experiences to their customers. With 5G and MEC, stadiums can cache content locally in their data center and deliver multiple viewing angle video streams to in-stadium game watchers. While broadcasters will stream only one or two angles, in stadium experience will be further enriched and differentiated.
  • Stadiums and Broadcasters can monetize outside stadium tailgate parties by delivering immersive VR experience of the game to the party goers.
  • Broadcasters will be able to hyper-personalize content and monetize micro-moments with fans who miss the game. While at work, broadcasters can send real-time game highlights (like touchdown, home run etc.) to the fans and can even customize it further based on the fan’s preference. Bringing social media, network and AI together the opportunities seem unbound.
  • MIoT will enable broadcasters to better manage their crew and equipment. It will give them the unprecedented visibility and flexibility to dynamically deploy crews based on real-time events and even drive cost optimization initiatives for their business.

5G presents unprecedented opportunities for innovation and for developing strategic business differentiation. Only our imagination will be the limiting factor. Programmable networks coupled with Edge Computing facilities and IoT will enable industries to massively transform their business and to deliver rich, immersive experiences to their customers.

Tech Mahindra has geared up to deliver on the promise of 5G. These are exciting times for all of us with so much to transform, so much to collaborate and so much to innovate!