Realizing 5G’s potential with AI and collaborative innovation ecosystems | HCLTech

Realizing 5G’s potential with AI and collaborative innovation ecosystems

To fully realize the potential of 5G, telecom service providers need to embrace AI and innovation ecosystems made up of mobile operators, OEMs, systems integrators, hyperscalers and startups
7 minutes read
Nicholas Ismail
Nicholas Ismail
Global Head of Brand Journalism, HCLTech
7 minutes read
Realizing 5G’s potential with AI and collaborative innovation ecosystems

Despite the significant investments made by telecom service providers to develop and deploy 5G technology, there are still challenges in monetizing the services. While there is demand from consumers, the B2B market has been slow due to the lack of scalable use cases. While initial successes are emerging, it will take time to recoup the billions of dollars in investment required for 5G deployment.

To overcome these challenges and drive change, “service providers need to look for alternate 5G use cases, and the enterprise world presents such an opportunity,” said Vijay Guntur, President of Engineering and R&D Services at HCLTech, during Mobile World Congress (MWC).

Collaboration across the connectivity ecosystem is also essential in realizing 5G’s potential.

HCLTech and Verizon

HCLTech and Verizon recently formed a managed services partnership. The partnership is poised to yield significant results, particularly in the B2B segment of the business. The two companies are combining their strengths to capitalize on the promise of 5G technology.

According to Guntur, one of the key areas of focus for Verizon is the monetization of 5G use cases in sports arenas and stadiums, where there is a high density of mobile devices and potential for increased connectivity. This presents a relatable and lucrative opportunity for both companies.

“We have had some early success in terms of use cases and what to bring in other parts of our business to drive innovation, as well as leverage our ecosystem of hyperscalers and tech OEMs to deliver on the promise of 5G,” he added.

In particular, HCLTech and Verizon Business announced the launch of a 5G solution that will redefine the digital workplace at MWC.

FlexSpace 5G is an advanced digital workplace experience-as-a-service that improves efficiency and security for global businesses.

The 5G-enabled solution is powered by Verizon’s secure and reliable network with HCLTech’s best-in-class solutions.

This offering will create a new freedom for the end user, enabling them to be productive in whatever environment they find themselves in, whether at the desk, remote, on-the-go or on the frontline.

AI’s impact on telecom service providers and OEMs

Both service providers and OEMs are leveraging AI in various ways to improve their network operations and customer experience.

In the case of service providers one area where AI is making a difference is in the optimization and automation of network management. Through HCLTech’s AI-based software products, service providers can reduce manual intervention and achieve more efficient network configurations. AI-enabled automatic network configurations are also being used to save energy by learning patterns and discerning how to configure the network for maximum efficiency. This combination of 5G and AI is bringing about early use cases that offer enhanced efficiency and cost savings.

Guntur also points to customer experience as another focus area for service providers where AI is playing a crucial role. Conversational agents powered by AI are being used to improve customer interactions, although there is still room for enhancement. AI acts as a complement to people by making the experience more efficient and resolving issues more quickly. Service providers recognize that AI is not a replacement for human involvement, but rather a tool to make people more effective.

“AI is going to enable humans in the loop rather than act as a replacement,” he said.

For OEMs, AI can provide “a time-to-market advantage.” The use of AI platforms like HCLTech's AI Force enables OEMs to deliver products more quickly, improve product support, and provide better customer experiences.

Additionally, AI will becoming increasingly important in software development and support. AI plays a role in triage, supporting LTE systems and bringing efficiencies to the overall software build-out process.

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Embracing startup innovation

Looking beyond enterprise innovation, Guntur emphasized the importance of startup 5G use cases as part of the wider innovation ecosystem.

He referred to two use cases developed by startups:

1. Search and rescue

One startup is leveraging 5G to precisely locate individuals in emergency situations. By using a phone connected to 5G, the startup can pinpoint the exact location of someone to within a few square meters. This information can then be relayed back to a rescue crew, enabling quick and efficient rescue operations. Previously, locating individuals in remote locations required more time and effort due to limited triangulation and coverage. With 5G, search and rescue missions have become more precise and effective, saving valuable time and increasing the chances of successful outcomes.

2. Farming

Another example of 5G use case innovation is in the farming industry. An early-stage partner is developing drone-based surveillance systems to monitor large agricultural land areas. By utilizing 5G's spectrum slicing capabilities, farmers can efficiently control when and where surveillance is needed. This results in higher-quality video footage for targeted areas while conserving bandwidth when surveillance is unnecessary. This use case demonstrates the scalability and global applicability of 5G technology in the agricultural sector, where large farming operations are prevalent worldwide.

“5G use cases move beyond boundaries of size. Through collaborative networks with startups, we can open new avenues to revolutionize various sectors, scale 5G deployments and monetize 5G networks beyond the traditional boundaries of network infrastructure,” said Guntur.

“Overall, there are several use cases in many areas that include manufacturing, sports events and mining that give me optimism for a 5G and AI-enabled future,” he added.

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