5G accelerates opportunities in enterprise space

June 18, 2021 | 18:46
As 5G adoption is accelerating around the world, more opportunities are coming up for service providers in the enterprise space.
5G accelerates opportunities in enterprise space
Börje Ekholm, president and CEO of Ericsson

At the Ericsson Unboxed Office event held in early June, Börje Ekholm, president and CEO of Ericsson, said 5G is possibly the biggest platform for innovation. “With 5G, we will not only serve the consumer market like we did with 4G, we're actually entering the enterprise space. The performance of 5G allows enterprises to choose cellular as their primary choice of connectivity.”

Mobile service providers are well-positioned to capture enterprise opportunities, he added, with potential for significant expansion in revenues compared to current business.

More opportunities in enterprise space

Asa Tamsons, head of Business Area Technologies and New Businesses at Ericsson, added by 2030, up to $700 billion of 5G-enabled business-to-business value can be addressed by communication service providers (CSPs).

5G accelerates opportunities in enterprise space
Asa Tamsons, head of Business Area Technologies and New Businesses at Ericsson

According to findings from a recent Analysis Mason study conducted across 200 enterprises in different industries, CSPs are seen as key influencers in enterprise strategies and planning for private 5G networks.

Jan Karlsson, senior vice president and head of Business Area Digital Services, Ericsson, said that enterprises put more trust in CSPs to master 5G opportunities compared to hyperscale cloud providers or their system integrators.

“We believe that it's smart for CSPs to build on their strengths and existing relationships, use 5G connectivity, and SD WAN evolution as a trigger to bundle with more advanced enterprise communication and collaboration offerings. For instance, CSPs can connect small- and medium-sized business offices with fixed wireless access or wireless/wired solutions or make standalone private networks the entry point for edge and evolve towards virtual private 5G networks with a combination of edge and network slicing,” he added.

To support 5G monetisation, Ericsson is building on its strengths in network automation and its leading 5G technology. With an openness to collaboration in different consumer and enterprise application ecosystems, it has highlighted many different business and revenue models that could emerge.

Ericsson is also focusing its growth investments to help CSPs capture new opportunities with enterprises. Asa Tamsons said, “We add value in three ways. We offer pre-packaged business-ready connectivity solutions for enterprises. We work with device application providers and industrial partners to make sure their solutions are the first service providers integrate, deploy, and bundle with third-party offerings. We also develop value-added offerings to help drive adoption and demand for 5G-powered solutions that help service providers capture value on top of connectivity.”

“Currently, we see a massive demand for private cellular networks. The market is forecast to reach $5.7 billion by 2024, according to a new International Data Corporation (IDC) report. I see enterprises and public sector organisations increasingly turning to cellular wireless technology to get better network performance, improved security, and predictable bandwidth costs,” Asa Tamsons added.

One example is critical national infrastructure such as nuclear energy sites that require high-level performance and reliability. Ericsson's partnership with the energy company ODF and tech giant Telus is one of the latest examples of how Ericsson's private network solutions are of huge benefit and dare to make this industry go wireless.

Another example is Cradlepoint that today powers wireless WAN solutions to help 25,000 enterprise customers connect their businesses with cellular wireless and security solutions. According to Cradlepoint, the market for private networks is exploding, with one retail customer in the US with over 1,400 stores in more than 47 states turning its entire WAN into a wireless network using cellular.

“Ericsson is committed to investing in this area and is looking forward to partnering with customers to tap into this growth opportunity,” noted Asa Tamsons.

Long-term journey

According to Fredrik Jejdling, executive vice president and head of Business Area Networks at Ericsson, the fifth generation of mobility has been growing faster than the previous one, and it applies for 5G as well. 5G is driven by compatible devices available earlier in the market, which is typically a driver for the uptake of technology. However, Ericsson added that 5G is being adopted across countries at around the same time, including the US, China, and various other markets.

Taking a long-term approach, Ericsson has sharply increased its investment in research and development (R&D). A few years ago, it increased its R&D investment by almost 30 per cent and hired more than 5,000 engineers. Today, about a quarter of its workforce is in R&D. It is one long-term view that also drives Ericsson to develop enterprise applications that can be used by customers as well.

Technology trend

The Ericsson Unboxed Office event has discussed the main technology trends that would define the shape of future business, highlighting Ericsson’s engagement and 5G opportunities in each trend.

5G accelerates opportunities in enterprise space
Erik Ekudden, SVP & CTO, Ericsson

According to Erik Ekudden, SVP & CTO, Ericsson, the mobile industry has some 700 companies taking part in open standardisation, driving new specifications, new interfaces. And this is really the core of the collaborative culture. “Ericsson has been the leader and driver of open standards since long.”

Ekudden elaborated the second area is augmented and virtual reality and the third is climate change and sustainability. Ericsson’s own research indicates that by 2030, 15 per cent of global emissions can be reduced through the use of advanced digital technologies, with 5G being the change agent.

According to Erik Ekudden, CTO of Ericsson, if looking to 2025 and perhaps even 2030, networks need to continue to evolve, providing higher performance, lower cost of ownership, and serving new use cases through 5G and the evolution into 6G.

Ekudden noted four areas that will be important in the long term. The first is limitless connectivity with pervasive access both indoors and outdoors in rural and populated areas through technology that really scales.

The second area is cognitive networks where more intelligence is built in the network through data-driven operations and where value is unleashed for users of the platform.

The third area is providing higher performance on demand than current infrastructure, and this will come with monetisation but it would become an inbuilt part of critical infrastructure.

Ekudden added, “The fourth area is what we are doing when it comes to a fully distributed, pervasive network that is fusing the compute and networking functionality. And this is what allows every consumer application running on the edge, or an enterprise application that previously ran on a public cloud to be distributed all the way to the network infrastructure or beyond. And this is where we are unleashing capabilities from the network to the application ecosystem meeting the future application needs.”

“These are four key pillars going forward. But it starts already now, it's really about orchestrating the change in the industry. And here, Ericsson is taking the role together with our lead customers and partners to really foster the change in the broader ecosystem,” he noted.

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By Bich Thuy

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