In the last three months, Microsoft has been on a tear building out its portfolio of 5G core and virtualized network service management technologies having acquired Affirmed Networks, and most recently, Metaswitch. The acquisition of these telecom tech companies by the leading enterprise IT technology company and cloud service provider may seem curious at first, but these transactions highlight the acceleration of a transformative trend that we at neXt Curve dubbed Under-the-Bottom (UTB) in our 2019 technology horizon study for Ofcom, the United Kingdom’s communications and media sector regulator.
Necessity is the mother of invention. There has been no moment of need in modern times as urgent as what we face today as humanity grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic. In three months, the virus has spread to over 180 countries around the globe, infecting millions, and has arrested the largest and smallest of economies. At the same time, it has created an unprecedented need for connectivity and communications. Now, more than ever, unconventional thinking and leadership as well as innovative applications of technologies such as 5G are dire necessities for addressing the many COVID-19-related challenges that are disrupting millions of lives and jeopardizing trillions in economic value.
We have come a long way in a short time since COVID-19 emerged from Wuhan, China late last year. The virus has stealthily yet rapidly evolved from a provincial epidemic to a pandemic that is suffocating the largest and the smallest of economies around the globe.
While the White House has touted a major victory in the trade war with China with the signing of a so-called “Phase One” deal, it was difficult not to notice the very visible absence of Chinese President Xi Jinping himself. Instead, the Trump Administration received a congratulatory letter from President Trump’s Chinese counterpart read by Vice Premier Liu He, a level-three member of the Chinese Politburo.
With the advent of 5G there has been growing interest in what the next-generation mobile network technology means for industry. Operators and industrial OT (Operational Technology) players have been investigating the use cases and potential value that the 5G promises and technology can bring to manufacturing, supply chain and the factory of the future. It is commonly known and expected that 5G will bring about massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC), Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communications (URLLC) and enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), but what do these use cases mean for manufacturers? Are these really the 5G promises that matter for the smart factory and the ongoing evolution of Industry 4.0?
neXt Curve attended Sprint Business' Analyst & Consultant Day 2019 held in Sprint's office in Midtown Manhattan on the 25th of June with the goal of understanding how Sprint is progressing their enterprise strategy, executing on the evolution of their network toward 5G and building out their IoT platform and service offerings in becoming a "digital service provider".
The 5G promise is broad and ambitious, but business leaders need to recognize that we are at the very beginning of this journey, and emerging technologies under the 5G umbrella are creating new opportunities for new entrants to fill the gaps as the world moves toward the promise of 5G such as 5G-enabled IoT, new shared spectrum resources, hybrid multi-cloud services brokering, network slicing on demand within mobile computing nano-data centers at the carrier edge.
Since the term "Cloud Computing" was coined, CSPs (Communications Service Providers) have had a tremendous challenge developing viable cloud capabilities and offerings for their enterprise clients that compete with emerging digital infrastructure players such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. With 5G on the horizon it is ever more critical that traditional telco operators find their cloud mojo lest current cloud leaders and new intermediary entrants make a move to the middle to take the great 5G promise away from them.
neXt Curve attended the largest consumer electronics trade show on the planet with over 180,000 in attendance to identify the deeper technology and market trends that are driving the rapid evolution of our digital lives and are expressed in the new digitally-enabled consumer applications from smart home, 3D sound to emotionally-aware robots.
neXt Curve attended the World Internet Conference 2018 in Wuzhen, China's premier conference on the digital economy and policy, which took place from the 6th to the 9th of November. This year's conference was sparsely attended by U.S. tech giants such as Apple and Google, but their absence didn't put a damper on the global scope of the event and its continued promotion of the Digital Silk Road.