Imagine walking into a city to be greeted by a bright and colorful automated visitor kiosk.
The kiosk tells you about the history of the city and tells you about all the most exciting sight-seeing spots.
You step away, and a smart taxi pulls over. There’s no human driver inside.
You get on, and the taxi takes you around the city, stopping at smart traffic lights that constantly sync lights to peak traffic times.
Your taxi adjusts the air conditioning based on the temperature of the air around you.
Everything from the temperature controls in the taxi, to the streets themselves, and the cars around you are run with the help of AI.
This is what the future could be like if 5G services come to total fruition.
Paving The Way Forward With 5G In Asia And Beyond
The rise of 5G technology implementation is estimated to increase the number of devices connected to the internet to 3.2 billion by 2026
These devices come in the form of voice assistants, dishwashers, watches, automobiles, cooking devices like pressure cookers, and an endless list of even more devices.
The problem with Internet of Things (IoT) devices is that they are all limited by the speed, connectivity, and security features of outdated 4G internet protocols.
You wouldn’t want to buy a smart lock for your home if you had a wonky internet connection that any hacker could just break through.
Imagine the chaos if the smart traffic lights in your neighborhood had poor security. The more our cities digitize, the more vulnerable they are to bad actors. As a result, much of the advancement made in IoT devices was unviable.
Thanks to the advances in 5G applications, the reliability of these devices is set to improve. Better internet speeds, lower latencies, and higher security protocols would all give businesses and consumers the comfort of knowing that their new smart devices are more tolerant against failure states that 4G was vulnerable to in the past.
The more reliable these devices become, the more important new business support systems (BSS) will become as well.
So, what’s changed?
5G infrastructure makes use of 3GPP and mmWave technology to provide faster, more stable, and more secure network connectivity that is better suited for technology such as self-driving cars and critical energy grids.
The future of IoT ecosystems is reported to have changed since networks can finally serve billions of devices with minimal latency thanks to 3GPP.
Businesses have been working over the past few decades to make end-point devices smarter and smarter. But these smarter devices are highly dependent on high bandwidth, high computing power, and higher energy requirements to serve users.
Devices that need higher bandwidths simply need better internet infrastructure, which is satisfied with better 5G speed. Devices with higher energy requirements simply need smart grids to optimize energy consumption (which is also satisfied with 5G).
And devices with higher computing requirements can now offload their processing to the cloud, which completely changes the game. It’s no surprise that 5G deployment is touted as the next industrial revolution of our time.
5G monetization has been a long time coming. And because of that, operators have been designing their infrastructures with 5G coverage in mind so that they can accelerate the uptake of all IoT applications in the future. And since IoT allows businesses even more insights into the habits and behaviors of their customers than before, there is a strong profit incentive to maximize the use of these devices to serve users in the future.
After all, IoT devices are all equipped with sensors and processing abilities to communicate and exchange data with each other. This means that the devices in your home (like your kitchen appliances) can communicate with devices like your phone, which can in turn communicate with devices outside the city, like shopping centers and traffic lights.
The Future of IoT Depends On Performance
The commercial success of any IoT device is linked to its long-term performance. Take Amazon’s Alexa, for instance. While the device was popular with users, the failure of Alexa to increase sales through voice-related commands was ultimately one of the biggest reasons it failed.
Other IoT devices in the future will need to provide superior performance on the data aggregation front because the convergence of machine learning, sensors, and computing allows for devices to work in unison like never before.
Consider one use case for 5G in India and its agricultural sector. IoT applications can monitor temperature, rainfall, wind speed, soil content, and pest infestation with the help of multiple devices. All of the collected data can be used to automate farming methods and come up with plans to improve the amount and quality of crops grown. Higher-quality crops can result in higher profits for farmers and less waste.
The overall goal of IoT applications goes beyond satisfying immediate problems. IoT aims to understand, analyze, and optimize real-time data gathered from the devices. To this end, they will make better use of 5G technology, which provides faster internet speeds and improved security protocols. Devices can communicate more data than they have in the past.
And better network stability and lower latencies mean that computing power that is off-loaded to cloud networks can perform real-time analytics in many industries to provide seamless service. Smart security cameras and smart locks for enterprises need to be reliable before they can be trusted in practical applications on the market.
The BSS Evolution
With 5G and IoT holding such incredible potential, the matter of successful monetization falls to BSS.
Businesses that were held back because of poor network infrastructure, especially in regards to rural connectivity, will now be able to serve consumers across new industry verticals. Digitization of systems will be critical, as many will need to start their journey to a cloud-based BSS to enable full technical operations in order to monetize their business.
There are innovative new use cases that 5G is ready to unleash on the market. But businesses will need to change their BSS to adapt to the times. Service providers now have a valuable opportunity to increase their value propositions with the help of 5G and the IoT.
Care must be taken that new services developed by enterprises make full use of the potential of 5G and the IoT. Standardization and quality assurance testing will be essential, or the new wave of IoT devices will fail to squeeze the maximum utility from what 5G has to offer.
So tailored connectivity solutions, along with a convergent, integrated, and synchronized BSS, will be necessary to make use of these new technologies and implement them successfully.
BSS must enable device management at IoT scale while supporting the existing service modules in place and allowing for new revenue models. There is a need for mass IoT device management, life cycle management of these same devices, and the ability to charge multiple parties for non-telecom services as well.
If done correctly, 5G networks will give you much more currency to play around with in terms of customization opportunities. The global telecom digital BSS market is projected to reach USD 7416 million as early as 2025 if deployments proceed as expected.