Since the early days of the 3G rollout, companies have taken steps to connect their enterprise. While technology advancements have improved dramatically, many companies are still in a partial state of mobile connectivity. There are additional improvements in processes that need to be made to complete the connected enterprise journey and realize the full return on investments.
Recently, Wipro moderated a panel discussion with four senior leaders representing network equipment providers, telecom service providers and other service technology companies in the broader telecom spectrum. These leaders, and their companies, have been instrumental in advancing connectivity goals for many global enterprises. The executive panelists shared insights that are the cornerstones to further a company’s connected-enterprise journey. Leveraging these insights can ensure the “best of the best” solutions are deployed across the 5G landscape.
The Best Approach to Achieve a Connected Enterprise
The experts suggested the best approach to achieve a connected enterprise is to focus on solving problems first rather than adding a specific new technology. To start, identify the most pressing challenges, then determine which technology can deliver the expected outcome. Technology is just an enabler and does not solve a problem by itself. The goal is to connect the dots and achieve a complete return on investment.
Enterprises could be unfamiliar with available connectivity solutions, specifically those that leverage 5G. The industry leaders recommended that companies work with domain expert partners that understand business problems and know how to use technology to help solve evolving business challenges. While integrated solutions can be difficult to understand, there is real value in utilizing the capability of wireless technology, including 5G, to connect the enterprise. To that end, the panelists focused on how enterprises can leverage proven 5G solutions to help complete their connectivity journey.
Address Pain Points from the Very Beginning
In speaking with the global leaders, four pain points emerged when talking to companies about building a connected enterprise.
- Companies were universally concerned with how to get the most return on their capital with connectivity investments.
- A related concern was how to drive down operational costs to maximize investments.
- Companies were also interested in automating routine manual work and using AI to improve processes like network operations or the customer experience.
- On top of monetizing their 5G investments, companies wanted to learn how to achieve connectivity sustainably and securely.
The global panelists recommended leveraging the proven technologies below to drive value with 5G connectivity and address these four pain points.
Private Networks Enable More Use Cases
Adding private 5G networks to existing infrastructure presents an opportunity to address many use cases that drive down operational costs and maximize the investment. There are multiple versions of private networks to consider, depending on the specific use case. For instance, is the need for a network that keeps the data 100% isolated within the corporate campus; is the need to allow smartphones or tablets with voice and data traffic to use a private network and/or the ability to control and manage 100% of the network. The answers help determine whether to use a dedicated, hybrid, or operator network. Also, Spectrum access and availability, in addition to network performance, will play a role in the solution. The consultative approach in working with an industry expert can help an enterprise choose the right solution and even leverage WIFI infrastructure to augment the solution.
Open RAN Architecture Enables Interoperability
An Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) solution enables the possibility of a larger ecosystem of different vendor solutions. Open RAN is a critical component to transform the industry because it provides more value to an enterprise by supporting the best solutions for efficiency, productivity and sustainability. An industry expert can help decide how or if Open RAN should be part of the architecture framework. It may not be the enterprise’s decision depending on which network (private or public) is available to implement a particular solution. But they may have an opportunity to influence the RAN architecture of the selected vendor solution.
Intelligence at the Silicon Layer Elevates the Connected Enterprise
Embedded intelligence in a chipset can help companies address security concerns, meet sustainability goals and increase return on investment. Built-in security on chipsets provides extra capabilities that don’t require a separate implementation, thereby maximizing the investment. Chipsets can also allow enterprises to achieve efficiencies when managing applications. The ability to put an application to sleep when not needed saves energy, lowers processing costs and helps companies reach their sustainability goals. Another benefit is chipsets with integrated functions that can reduce the total cost of ownership with built-in accelerators that provide performance efficiencies, including AI automation. Engagement with equipment/hardware vendors and application developers will help drive the selection of the right chipset to meet sustainability goals.
Other proven technologies in a connected enterprise include edge computing, extended reality (XR), VR/AR, robotics, and IoT automation. Untethered cloud-based VR/AR solutions can collaborate virtually, and robotics and automation technologies provide meaningful cost reductions. And stacking (or combining) these technologies drives more value. For example, robots can reduce manual labor by moving around and performing highly repetitive tasks traditionally done by humans. IoT and automation enable the robots to send data from devices and sensors that help the enterprise make intelligent decisions for the business. Edge computing enables this seamless connected experience.
Connected Enterprise of the Future
While companies may have yet to achieve full connectivity with 3G and 4G, 5G is different. 5G makes it possible to connect the enterprise and drive value through data, insights, orchestration and automation. From the panelist’s viewpoint, one of the main stumbling blocks is imagining what is possible. Enterprises should collaborate with industry experts to identify pain points and determine the technology needed for the challenges early in the process. These solutions will provide the best return on investment. The insights detailed above can help enterprises understand the nuances that can help them complete the connectivity journey and start realizing the promise and benefits of 5G.