The 5G Effect

Lessons Learned from Real-World 5G Applications and the Roadmap Ahead

As the world advances into a more digitised and connected future, what can be learned from organisations that are successfully deploying 5G technology to enable business processes and efficiency. Where is 5G making the biggest difference in the real world?

The big picture: Protiviti conducted a six-month long 5G research project that included dozens of interviews with executives from the largest global wireless network operators and other telecommunications companies in the 5G ecosystem. We heard from leaders within retail, manufacturing, energy and utility, transportation, healthcare and aviation industries as the number of 5G use cases continues to expand across sectors. Their insights reveal what’s working today, what’s not, and provide a roadmap to, and a better understanding of, the state of 5G adoption.

What they’re saying:

  • Organisations are deploying 5G technology to enable business processes and efficiency and many are succeeding in spectacular ways.
  • 5G private networks, enabling in-house, nonpublic networks within defined areas, continue to revolutionise the business landscape, with significant investments also directed toward 5G home broadband using fixed wireless access (FWA).
  • Internet of Things device makers are intensely leveraging 5G and its advanced cellular infrastructure and technologies to empower devices with reliable, high-speed data connections.

The bottom line: While cellular carriers are continually expanding 5G coverage and features, business leaders should develop a 5G strategy with results in mind. An objective metric for success, and the time frame for achieving goals is critical.

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Key findings 

Why 5G? 

Mobility, Speed, Capacity and Security 

5G means many things to many people. Its low latency (faster internet connections) and mobile broadband capabilities are its biggest appeal. In the commercial realm, 5G private networks, which allow businesses to deploy and operate their own in-house (nonpublic) network in a defined area, is a game changer. Network virtualisation, slicing and cloudification are additional features of 5G that are revolutionising enterprise data transmission and wireless connectivity. 

Wired connections have dominated for decades, but now 5G, for the first time, introduces a comparable capability in terms of performance, reliability and security to a wired connection, a senior wireless technology company executive explained.

Key improvements over 4G
  • Speed — The technology enables users to upload and download data more quickly.
  • Latency — The 5G network is more responsive when making connections.
  • Density — The network supports more simultaneous connections.
  • Distributed intelligence — The network involves more nodes for processing data at the edge.
  • Mutualisation — The core network is mutualised across multiple access technologies, supporting 5G radio, 4G, narrowband IoT, and Wi-Fi.
  • Software enablement — 5G is natively software-driven, enabling the network to adapt to real-time demand and specific application requirements.
  • Network slicing — The same physical network can be partitioned into multiple virtual networks, each optimised for different applications, enabling guaranteed quality of service.
The success of 5G adoption will depend on whether organisations have built a risk culture that encourages management to look out far enough, monitor what matters both internally and externally, and devote sufficient time to assess the implications of change on the business.
Gordon Tucker