Enterprises are actively embracing 5G
At the 2020 analyst conference held not long ago, Huawei demonstrated a wealth of 5GtoB success stories, such as the application of 5G medical care in the fight against the new crown epidemic. These cases confirm the point made by Strategy Analytics in previous blog posts that 5G standalone networking is uniquely positioned to provide today’s enterprise connectivity market. End-to-end SLA guarantee capabilities and flexible deployment solutions can fully meet the urgent needs of enterprises’ digital transformation. In fact, global enterprise customers are increasingly interested in 5G solutions.
The latest European 5G Outlook report points out that 5G pilots related to vertical industries in Europe are showing a growing trend. As of March 2020, more than 30 European countries (including 25 EU member states and the United Kingdom, Russia, San Marino, Norway, Turkey and Switzerland) have carried out a total of 233 5G pilot projects, of which about one-third of the projects involve vertical industry. “Among them, the focus industries are media and entertainment (36 items), followed by the transportation industry (31 items) and the automotive industry (22 items).” In addition, nearly 20 5G pilots are related to Industry 4.0 scenarios.
In China, “5G+Industrial Internet” has become an important part of “new infrastructure”, and the government and industry leaders are committed to accelerating 5G deployment and realizing industrial digital transformation. Take Shanghai as an example. As one of the most populous cities in China, Shanghai plans to support companies to build more than 100 unmanned factories, unmanned production lines and unmanned workshops in the next three years.
Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom have allocated specific spectrum resources for local or regional 5G applications to promote the deployment of 5G private networks in vertical industries. Since Germany officially launched partial 5G spectrum distribution in October 2019, more than 30 large German companies have obtained 5G private spectrum licenses, including BMW, Bosch, Volkswagen, BASF and Lufthansa. In Japan, Fujitsu obtained Japan’s first 5G private network license in February this year, providing an important guarantee for its 5G network construction in the Shin-Kawasaki Technology Plaza office building in Kawasaki City.
Enterprises and communication service providers achieve win-win cooperation
Even if companies choose dedicated spectrum to deploy dedicated 5G networks, there are still new opportunities for communications service providers (CSPs). In February this year, Deutsche Telekom successfully built a campus network for the BMW Group’s Leipzig plant. The campus network includes a mobile private network and a public network. The private network provides services for BMW’s factories, while the public network ensures network connections for terminal devices that are not transmitted over the private network. With the dual-slice networking, Deutsche Telekom has successfully extended the network to BMW’s campus to facilitate future network upgrades.
In April this year, Shanxi Huozhou Coal Industry Group and China Unicom reached a 5G network leasing cooperation agreement to deploy a private network on China Unicom’s 5G network to enable smart coal mine application management services. The cooperation lasted for 6 years, with a total contract value of 12.3 million yuan. The business case has boosted the confidence of communication service providers to enter the Internet market in the 5G industry. For enterprise customers who need 5G connection but lack spectrum resources, communication service providers can provide spectrum resources to help enterprises achieve 5G connection, so as to achieve win-win cooperation. 5G will be an important springboard for communication service providers to expand their market share in enterprise digital transformation.
5G indoor digital system is an important foundation for 5G enterprise applications
In enterprise 5G networks, most applications are deployed in indoor environments. Their network connection requirements vary widely.
In the smart factory scenario, unmanned transportation systems (also commonly referred to as “TecLine”) are critical to enabling flexible manufacturing. The Mercedes-Benz “Factory 56” is a typical application case in this field. Achieving precise control of the TecLine system requires the network to support Ultra Reliable and Low Latency Communication (URLLC) connections.
To realize automatic defect detection on the production line, it is necessary to transmit a large number of images from the scanning cameras installed on the conveyor belt to the cloud server with artificial intelligence. The cloud server completes the image analysis and instructs the robotic arm at the end of the conveyor belt to automatically remove the bad parts . The smart factory of SK Telecom in South Korea is a typical case of this type of enterprise application. Such applications not only require the network to support low-latency connections, but also provide high data bandwidth.
For the smart coal mines being implemented in China, the network requirements are more diverse. The remote control of mining machines relies on large bandwidth and low latency network connections. In order to realize the real-time upload of surveillance video, the network uplink bandwidth needs to reach more than 1Gbps. The large number of sensors and meters installed in mines for environmental monitoring is a typical application case of large-scale machine type communication (mMTC). To meet these diverse needs, network slicing capabilities are essential.
Traditional distributed antenna systems (DAS) cannot meet such diverse and challenging demands. Enterprises urgently need 5G indoor digital systems to achieve digital transformation.
Cross-industry collaboration and standardization are essential for enterprise 5G development
In the enterprise 5G market, communication service providers and 5G equipment vendors also face regulatory requirements from vertical industries. Taking smart coal mine applications as an example, in order to ensure 5G connections in mines, China Unicom needs to work with equipment suppliers and corporate customers to improve the implementation of 5G base stations to meet specific security needs. Only after obtaining the underground explosion-proof certification for 5G base stations from China’s mining safety supervision department, China Unicom was able to start 5G network deployment.
The enterprise connectivity market is huge, and deployment scenarios and requirements often vary widely. Uniform industry standards are essential to consolidate demand and expand economies of scale. Take China’s 5G hospital network standard as an example. The standard was jointly formulated by China’s three major communication service providers, China’s largest 5G equipment supplier, Huawei, and China’s well-known hospitals. The standard clarifies the technical requirements and unified standards for 8 typical applications of hospital remote diagnosis and treatment, video consultation, and intensive care, thereby promoting the implementation of 5G smart hospitals in China. As of mid-May, more than 300 hospitals had completed 5G deployment and went online. It is estimated that by 2025, there will be more than 13,000 5G hospitals in China.
Taking the above cases into consideration, Strategy Analytics believes that understanding vertical industry regulations and achieving industry standardization is crucial for communication service providers to develop enterprise 5G services. Extensive cross-industry collaboration is a key part of this process. Through cross-industry collaboration and standardization, 5G indoor digital systems will help enterprises achieve digital transformation.