The soft skills are often over looked, especially in an industry which is so dominated by engineering smarts, but the success of enterprise 5G could be as simple as talking the right language.
“If we carry on talking about remote surgery 5G is going to fail,” said Gilad Garon, CEO of software vendor ASOCS. “Need to start talking to people in a language which they understand.”
Remote surgery certainly has taken a bit of a bashing at the show this week, though Garon is just using it as a bit of an example. Not only are we talking about usecases which seem ridiculous to most, we’re not talking in a language potential customers will understand.
“If you are going to be successful in enterprise, you have to think about DevOps, IT and simplistic language,” said Garon. “Enterprise don’t understand what a slice is, but they know about value.”
This has been one of the more obvious themes of the conference, but it does seem to be a message which is finally hitting home with the telcos. Enhanced mobile broadband is what 5G delivers now, but this will not deliver the financial promise many are expecting.
“As an industry, it is a new field to build mobile solutions for industry,” said Antje Williams, SVP of 5G Campus Networks at Deutsche Telekom. “What have we done so far, we have put up infrastructure, we have sold SIM cards to the employees of the companies we are working with, but this [5G] is much more.
“There was a notion about 5G was going to be for the verticals for years, but we have no idea what we were talking about.”
Unfortunately, Williams is pointing to a wide-spread problem in the industry but there is no easy solution. Over the last five years, few telcos have been spending time with the potential enterprise customers to understand the nuances of the specific verticals. There are efforts to correct this now, but these initiatives should have been started years ago.
Because the telcos have not been spending enough time with vertical customers or partnering with organizations which can help them create new products, they are largely shooting in the dark. They don’t know the demands of the customers or the nuanced differences in delivering connectivity solutions between the different verticals.
The solution is to talk to potential customers and develop the specific solutions, but this will be a slow and painstaking task. Work is being done, but the timetables will frustrate the bean-counters. If 5G is to be a commercial success for the telcos, enterprise customers are critical; eMBB will not deliver on the potential.