This blog is by Volker Held, head of Innovation Marketing at Nokia Networks. Twitter: @V_Held
Nokia has been vocal about its vision for 5G and we’re working hard to ensure that its use will expand far beyond consumer mobile broadband by actively exploring the possibilities together with key players in the manufacturing and mobility ecosystem.
Cross industry forum in Munich’s “Isar Valley”
What’s in it for us? That was the big question of non-telecom players at the first 5G Connected Industries Forum held in Munich on November 24th. 5G won’t look anything like the previous G’s as it holds so much promise for a variety of industries. The goal of the forum was to explore some of them and set trigger points for agreed joint innovation projects between the telecom industry – which will provide the 5G platform – and those industries which will define the use cases. The event focused on connected mobility and industrial networks, as both sectors need to transform their businesses and are of critical importance for the economy and society as a whole.
Cross-industry discussion critical for defining use cases
The forum is of particular importance for two reasons: Firstly, there must be broad involvement from manufacturing, logistics, automotive, regulation, academia and research institutes in 5G development to ensure it will fulfill their requirements. Secondly, the telecom sector must understand how next generation networks can contribute to transforming the different industry sectors and be clear on the specific requirements towards the 5G system and the right business models. Some participants admitted that the telecom industry has traditionally not been particularly good at collaborating with other industries. From Nokia’s perspective, cross-industry collaboration with key players is an ideal vehicle for defining the right use cases and requirements for 5G.
Rather than experiencing another death by Powerpoint presentations and keynotes, the forum was based on truly interactive panel sessions. Small workgroups focused on so-called topic islands, where they developed concrete use cases for further investigation and an array of 5G demos showcased what the technology can deliver. Interactivity has been essential in order to drill down to the detail level regarding the true requirements and potential, with the outcome being both creative and extremely productive.
Cross-industry experimentation to continue
Topics discussed at the forum included how several Industry 4.0 scenarios can benefit from 5G and how it can bring major advantages to industrial networking by providing convergence of the radio front end and a unification of different protocols based on IP. For industrial players, it would be appealing to employ off-the-shelf solutions without having to worry about the underlying networking technology. Providing Network as a Service based on network slicing will be important, as long as it can guarantee that the single slices for different applications don’t interfere with each other.
In general, there was a call for enhanced cross-industry collaboration to improve the precision of logistics concepts. For example, everything in the process must be connected to various systems such as traffic management and actual weather forecasts in order to precisely meet the delivery windows of goods.
The big change in network architecture is anticipated to come from industrial use cases since current network availability and adaptability to different requirements is not suitable for industrial applications.
“How can I get my hands on 5G technology?”
In order to enable fully-connected mobility, we will need a new digital infrastructure and it will be important to focus on moving people rather than only moving vehicles. This generated a lively debate, provoking the question as to whether people will buy mobility services rather than buying cars in the future, and whether this would mean the end of the classical privately owned car.
In all discussions, it became clear that 5G is not about just another radio interface but rather about integrating a multitude of systems, enabling interoperability between diverse domains, which is going to be at the heart of the transition from 4G to 5G. And going forward, there’s a clear need for a trusted, shared space for experimentation with many Forum participants asking “How can I get my hands on 5G technology?” Clearly, the sky, or rather, the cloud will be the limit!
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