Thursday, 04 July 2019 18:58

Is your business ready to make the most of 5G services?

By Sean Kopelke

SPONSORED Guest Opinion by *Sean Kopelke, Riverbed.  With the long-running concerns around cybersecurity, and the continuous stream of competitive noises focused on which telco will win the race, it feels like the launch of 5G services in Australia has been a long time coming.

Although it’s only one step up from 4G in theory, it’s widely accepted that this will be unlike any previous mobile network transition. A host of benefits worth getting excited about – like unprecedented device speeds, higher bandwidth, reduced power requirements and lower latency – are just around the corner.

As more data moves to the edge of the network, we’ll see enhancements in the way devices communicate with each other and the data centre. It’s going to change the game for application performance, laying an important foundation for our increasingly digital future.

Accelerating the cloud

Gartner researchers estimate Australian public cloud spend will reach $5.6 billion this year. That would be an increase of more the 20 per cent on 2018 as businesses look to deliver increasingly flexible data access.

This is just the tip of the cloud computing iceberg. In a 5G world, businesses will be able to increase their demands on cloud services with greater levels of automation, better connectivity to sensor-based devices and easier access to analytics that inform smarter decisions.

5G will underpin and accelerate the digital transformation of every industry, creating new opportunities by powering innovation. More than 70 per cent of companies aim to have use cases in production by 2021, according to Ericsson research. Let’s look at how it will transform some of Australia’s largest industries:

  • Transport – Communication between connected cars will make roads safer and reduce congestion. High demand for the latest transport technology is causing the industry to innovate at pace and 5G will only accelerate this.
  • Manufacturing – Sensor-based devices will spread more rapidly through production systems and supply chains, increasing efficiency through automation and reducing losses with preventative maintenance.
  • Retail – One of the most disrupted industries, 5G will enable completely different in-store experiences, providing recommendations and adapting prices for specific situations. This might just be the competitive edge that helps physical stores combat the threat of online retailing.
  • Healthcare - Telemedicine and teleconsultation will provide easier access to care for all Australians. 5G will also propel the use of robotic technologies used for remote surgery and other vital health services.

Preparing your business

The 5G Country Leadership Index, a recent study by global management consultancy Arthur D. Little, positioned Australia as a leader in its progress toward the implementation of these networks within the corporate and enterprise setting.

This brings great economic potential, with Deloitte and Telstra research estimating 5G will add about $50 billion to Australia’s annual productivity. So, what should business leaders do to get the most from it?

Firstly, businesses need to consider the underlying infrastructure of their networks. Ageing networks are struggling to keep up with the technology demands of today, let alone tomorrow. Installing 5G on current networks would be like putting the latest Formula One tyres on a 15-year-old family car.

Many businesses are already moving to a cloud-centric platform, but this will become crucial in the 5G era. Holding on to legacy on-premise solutions is no longer a viable option. As the number of applications and devices on the network continues to grow exponentially, cloud administrators manage complexity and ensure business continuity.

Lastly, visibility will be key. Monitoring performance of applications is vital, no matter the network capability. 5G will be an immense opportunity for businesses but history shows that as soon as we get access to additional bandwidth and speed, we quickly change our user habits to suit. These changes are always followed by a spike in the use of applications like streaming high- quality content that chews through data allowances.

This suggests we’ll soon be using 5G to its full potential, which will see our apps and devices beginning to slow. Visibility tools will help you instantly detect application errors, something that will become invaluable as more and more applications occupy the network. Taking full advantage of the data being collected will support rapid investigation and resolution of issues. This reduces risk, cost and finger-pointing while improving productivity.

The introduction of 5G may well be the most significant technological advancement of this decade – but making the most of applications, devices and data also requires a change in network infrastructure. Are you prepared for it?

This story has been sponsored by Riverbed Asia Pacific and Japan. *Sean Kopelke, Vice President, Solutions Engineering



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