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5G report: Mapping the enterprise 5G opportunity

1,000 IT decision-makers reveal their perceptions of 5G services.

6 minute read

5G research report: Businesses reveal their 5G plans and expectations

5G technology was designed to enable business transformation in addition to providing faster connectivity for consumers. Much is said about the potential use cases for 5G in the enterprise sector, but does it match with real-world perception and demand?

To find out when and how organizations are planning to deploy 5G in their operations, Nokia conducted in-depth research with 1,000 IT decision-makers across seven vertical sectors and two key geographies: the US and the UK.

Complementing a parallel report on consumer demand for 5G-enabled services, this major new market research report reveals what businesses expect to achieve with 5G, where they see its value, and which providers they’ll look to for it.

Below you’ll find highlights from the report – with insights and advice for CSPs keen to start offering enterprise-grade 5G services.


5G enterprise use cases: What 1,000 IT decision-makers told us


1. Most are aware of 5G and almost half are planning now

Nearly two-thirds of IT decision-makers are aware of 5G and 47% say their organizations have already started planning for it.

However, 30% told us they’d like to understand the value of 5G better before developing a plan to use it in their organization. This lack of information is the second biggest barrier to adoption after lack of 5G coverage.

Next steps: Increase education about the industry benefits of 5G to spur near-term adoption and provide enterprises with clear deployment roadmap.


2. Video is the #1 use case – and the most immediate opportunity

Video emerged as the “killer app” for 5G across industries and business sizes, with 83% finding it appealing and 48% citing 5G-enhanced video monitoring as a near-term opportunity.

75% of businesses surveyed already use video for monitoring purposes, but the high-value opportunities lie mainly with businesses that want to do more – by using video with analytics as a sensor to detect risks, defects and to enable real-time detection of faces, objects, risks, and incidents.

Next steps: Emphasize the capabilities of 5G for high-quality video streaming, monitoring and detection in remote and wire-free locations.


3. Energy and Manufacturing are leading the way

Energy and manufacturing firms show the highest awareness of 5G, and are exploring its potential for advanced use cases including infrastructure maintenance, remote machine control, and cloud robotics.

A move to remote operations following the Covid-19 pandemic may drive further 5G uptake.

Next steps: Inspire Energy and Manufacturing decision-makers with examples and use cases that meet sector-specific needs.


4. CSPs are well placed to succeed – but will find strong competition

61% of businesses said they would look to a mobile operator for advice and guidance when planning 5G deployments.

But with more than one-third citing a system integrator as their preferred partner, CSPs are likely to run into some strong competition. Cost will be a critical factor, but CSPs should emphasize value rather than competing on price.

Next steps: To win market share, combine industry expertise with traditional CSP strengths in technical support and customer service.

1. Video monitoring and detection


5G-enabled video was the top-rated use case among enterprises, with 83% finding it appealing. That’s partly because 75% of the organizations surveyed are already using some form of video monitoring today – whether it’s monitoring premises, people coming and going, or operations.

Respondents can readily grasp the additional value that 5G can bring, with almost all citing the appeal of benefits such as high-quality and uninterrupted video streams, live mobile video capture, feeds from multiple video streams, and from where wi-fi is not available.


From monitoring to detection

While most organizations currently use video for basic monitoring, large organizations are much more likely to use advanced analytics for product quality or object detection. Companies already using advanced video analytics or using portable cameras are more likely to find 5G video surveillance appealing.

Energy and manufacturing are key targets, as their video surveillance needs go beyond monitoring. Manufacturing professionals understand how 5G can be leveraged to detect product defects, while energy professionals see the value of drone-mounted cameras to inspect plants and power lines.


Security: a new channel to market

While SMBs may invest in just one 5G video camera, larger businesses are likely to purchase 5G-enabled video monitoring and detection technology as part of a wider suite of security services.

This makes the security industry an attractive channel to market for CSPs, who could benefit from establishing partnerships with leading security providers.


Next steps

Emphasize detection and alerting applications for Energy and Manufacturing in particular, highlighting 5G’s ability to extend detection and alerting to remote and wire-free locations.

Educate security providers on the benefits of 5G video surveillance, with a view to forging partnerships.

Learn more about the video monitoring use case

Explore this use case

2. Connected machinery


Organizations that already use robotics and connected machinery are most ready for 5G

Connected equipment and cloud-connected robotics are key enablers of Industry 4.0, in which manufacturing and other operations are highly automated and responsive to changes in demand.

Over three-quarters (77%) of respondents find this use case appealing, with companies that already use connected equipment showing the most interest in 5G.

3. Fixed Wireless Access


An appealing alternative to wired broadband for SMBs

Fixed wireless access emerged from our survey as a strong near-term opportunity with small and midsize businesses.

73% of SMBs surveyed find 5G FWA appealing as an alternative or back-up to wired broadband, as long as it can perform as well or better than wired options.

4. Connected vehicles


Existing connected vehicle users are the key market for 5G-enabled vehicles

Of organizations that use vehicles, 74% find 5G appealing, but the level of appeal varies depending on the way vehicles are used.

We found higher interest in 5G among organizations where the vehicle is being used for safety and security purposes and for transportation of non-employees.

5. Immersive experiences


5G has the potential to catalyze more widespread industry adoption of Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Today, while 55% of organizations surveyed see the appeal of these immersive technologies, only half that number are actually using them.

5G’s ability to remove the data processing from the equipment could spur the production of cheaper and more lightweight headsets that can be used anywhere there’s 5G connectivity. That’s crucial because our survey shows there’s a strong grasp of the value AR and VR can bring, but adoption is currently lagging behind awareness.

The enterprise market for 5G: Conclusions and recommendations

The survey reveals significant near-term and medium-term opportunities for CSPs keen to move into the industry space and offer higher-value services that leverage 5G’s unique features.

Some key conclusions and recommendations from the enterprise 5G report include:

Industries are deploying 5G now. CSPs should develop well-crafted marketing and sales campaigns that outline the opportunity for individual sectors and organizations.

Video surveillance is the most popular use case overall. FWA for SMBs is another encouraging early opportunity, as it builds on CSPs’ existing services and expertise.

Energy and manufacturing are the most promising verticals. Premises security also promises interesting opportunities for sales and partnerships.

The competitive landscape is complex, especially in the large industry segment. Partnerships and vertical expertise will be key to success.

get the report

Get the full report

Get the complete inside track on what 1,000 IT decision-makers told us about their plans and goals for 5G, in our in-depth research report: Mapping Demand: Understanding the Enterprise 5G Opportunity for CSPs.

You’ll find:

  • Detailed quantitative analysis of business demand for five 5G use cases
  • Industry breakdowns for 7 key verticals across the public and private sectors
  • Qualitative insights from 15 in-depth phone interviews
  • Key takeaways and actionable insights you can use in your 5G marketing

Who we spoke to for this 5G industry report

Online survey

The data in this report is drawn from a survey of 1,000 IT decision makers in the US and UK across seven key industry sectors: energy, retail, manufacturing, government and public sector, automotive and transportation, media and advertising, and education.

    Size: small business (1-49 employees), medium business (50-499 employees), large business (500+ employees)

    Telephone interviews

    To deepen our understanding of what 5G means for business, we conducted in-depth interviews with 15 current and potential 5G networking industry users and ecosystem players across target industry sectors.


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