The global 5G services market is projected to be worth $1.87 trillion by 2030, up from $64.54 billion in 2021, growing at a CAGR of 44.63% between 2022 and 2030. The global private 5G market, not to be left behind, is also expected to grow remarkably at a CAGR of 42.4% during the forecast period. That market will be worth a sizeable $31.58 billion in 2030, up from just $1.37 billion in 2021.
While this points to the growing popularity of 5G, the biggest question for enterprises and communication service providers (CSPs) alike is how to accurately quantify the undeniable monetization potential of this new technology. Another inherent goal for them is to strategically align their offerings and investments to maximize the ROI. With 5G reshaping the connectivity paradigm, technology leaders must not only fulfill its promise to address business problems and enhance end-user experiences, but also build a sustainable, future-proof ecosystem.
Steering the change with purpose
Over the last decade, with the rapid evolution of various technologies and emphasis on industry 4.0, enterprises have spent generously on emerging innovations. But there has been a perennial gap between the techno-speak and measurable business outcomes. Fundamentally, this is due to a misalignment between the technology-led use case theorization and enterprises' short- and long-term business objectives.
Therefore, with private 5G connectivity disrupting the landscape, enterprises must first carefully evaluate it across the following three considerations:
- Establishing business problems that need to be solved: Enterprises and CSPs must identify specific pain points of the end-users and determine if and how 5G will address them. The necessary scope of change and ROI should drive the adoption of suitable technology solutions, viz. Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi 6, private 4G or 5G, CBRS, et al
- Leveraging digital transformation opportunities for higher end-user retention: The merits of 5G digital transformation are largely discussed in terms of technological benefits, viz., higher speed and capacity, lower latency, etc. However, enterprises must begin by focusing on enhancing user touchpoints because technology usage will be more prevalent on the edge and end-user devices than at the network core. While consumer behavior continues to evolve in the digital age, enterprises must visualize the customer lifecycle, revisit engagement models, and offer experiences that can truly be monetized. A proactive mindset toward digital transformation is key to enabling deeper user engagement and ultimately maximizing the value for the enterprise
- Early definition and continuous evaluation of KPIs: For 5G adoption to deliver the desired results, enterprises must meticulously plan the business case (KPIs) that they aspire to realize. CSPs must collaborate with enterprises to translate these business KPIs to network KPIs and steer the digital initiatives toward their business goals. Both must also constantly track progress against these KPIs to identify if the technology is living up to the promise or is pointing to development opportunities.
Considering these points will help enterprises and CSPs identify right-fit implementation strategies, commercial models, and early improvements to optimize the total cost of ownership (TCO) and accelerate the value realization from private 5G investments.
Ensuring seamless change management with a strong partnership ecosystem
With the massive proliferation of IoT and smart devices, the business opportunity offered by 5G is massive across industries. In a hyperconnected paradigm, customers expect more immersive and intuitive experiences that were unthinkable with previous generations of wireless connectivity. Consider the following scenario: When you visit a supermarket, your primary focus is on shopping. But the ease with which you can find the items you need, navigate the various aisles, and proceed to a quick and efficient check-out, contributes heavily toward your overall experience. Digitization, if applied intelligently and thoughtfully, can improve nearly every step of the customer journey. And for that, connectivity, especially private 5G, plays a pivotal role.
However, deploying private 5G comes with its share of teething problems. These can emerge from technology and infrastructure incompatibilities to cultural dissonances within the enterprise or even a lack of niche skillsets to implement and manage 5G technology. Therefore, an efficient change management is a critical success factor for enterprises. Enterprises must work closely with CSPs and other ecosystem partners to ensure a smooth and effective private 5G implementation that meets business objectives. Here's how:
- Harmonize business case with technology knowledge: While enterprises understand their core industry-specific business nuances the best to align 5G adoption with business goals, telecom service providers and system integrators are implementation thought leaders. The best minds within enterprises and their partners must synergize around and have a stake in the business goals so that the selected solution drives targeted business value and customer experience
- Create a robust digital transformation strategy: As enterprises implement new-age connectivity, their focus should be on ensuring holistic digital transformation. If there are gaps in the digital strategy, the transformation will be incomplete, and the potential will remain unfulfilled. The digital strategy must also expedite the journey from concept design to implementation to value generation. For instance, HCLTech is driving the 5G transformation as a specialized system integrator, enabling enterprises to accelerate their digital transformation journeys. We, at HCLTech, see this transformation as a change agent for business models, bringing about new opportunities across industries.
- Prototype, test, productionize: The quantum of this transformation is astronomical, meaning that the margin of error is negligible. As a result, telecom service providers must develop a Proof of Concept (POC) plan that addresses enterprise challenges and their specific connectivity requirements. The POC gap analysis against the business case can be done by testing the prototype across smaller user groups and different real-world scenarios. Once the progressive validation (and timely course corrections, if any) is complete, private 5G is ready for large-scale implementation.
Readiness for the future: The scope of emerging technologies is constantly expanding. When it comes to private 5G and the business value it can generate, telecom service providers must always be at the top of their game and primed for quick adaptation. By adopting software-defined architecture and networks, strengthening partnerships, rapidly upskilling teams, and staying technologically nimble, they can ensure that their services are future-ready. To address the current pain points, there is a need for a strong partnership ecosystem comprising technology and connectivity service providers, as well as cloud and user-facing IoT solution providers. This will also help meet future challenges and changing business needs to implement future-proof infrastructure and processes.
- HCLTech’ leadership in 5G Engineering services has been duly recognized by analysts like Everest Group, as well-positioned to help clients with 5G transformations through its significant investments in innovative products and 5G Labs, proven delivery footprint, and a solid partnership ecosystem with telecom equipment manufacturers, service providers, ISVs/startups, and cloud solutions providers.
Empowering users and achieving business excellence with 5G
The road ahead:
As we prepare for the private 5G revolution, enterprises, telecom service providers, and all their partners must work shoulder to shoulder to realize their business goals, reduce costs, and offer a large bouquet of connectivity-enabled service offerings to consumers. While mature system integrators like HCLTech assume even greater responsibility in this new paradigm, the unified focus must undoubtedly remain on empowering users and achieving business excellence.