Market musings

How Telcom and Device Makers Are Bringing 5G to Life

by Sasha Viasasha
March 20, 2018

The race is on to establish a new world of 5G communications. A wide range of global telecom providers and hardware manufacturers have joined forces in the 3GPP consortium to create a functional planet-wide standard for 5G New Radio (NR), which is projected to be the final evolution of mobile broadband infrastructure, setting out a digital framework for the wireless business environment. After full deployment, 5G will support the world’s most critical infrastructure networks, but it will also unlock the true potential of a more connected world—for human workers, AI-based systems, and the internet of things (IoT).

There are already detailed plans for 5G rollouts in every region of the world, with Australia taking a leading role. Optus will showcase its 5G advances at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in April.

By the beginning of 2019, Australians will see fixed wireless 5G networks in major metro regions. In addition, Telstra has invested AU $5 billion dollars to make sure Australians are at the top of the list for next gen, promising mobile download speeds that are up to 20 times faster than the National Broadband Network.

Vodafone, who was one of the partner organizations at the 3GPP TSG RAN Plenary Meeting, has promised that their own network will be up and running by 2020. In partnership with Chinese multinational Huawei they claim the distinction of the world’s first fully 3GPP compliant 5G phone call.

Huawei has been building coalitions across Europe and Asia and is in a strong position to lead the 5G race, having signed at least 25 agreements with telecommunications operators in those regions. It is widely predicted that they will own the largest share of the global 5G market and thus play a large role in shaping the digital ecosystem that emerges.

From new business models to empowering flexible work and gaining incredible agility, 5G is sure to transform the business world in ways that we can’t yet even imagine.

Here are some of the ways that 5G will certainly change the business world:

  • High quality mobile voice – In the past, business tended to accept poor quality on mobile calls – latency, echoes, and background roar – due to the value mobile delivered in being able to connect from anywhere. 5G promises to eliminate many of the problems that cause poor voice quality and make mobile calls as clear as fiber optic communications.
  • Mobile only business – More than half of all web users in Australia and New Zealand already access the web by mobile devices, instead of by traditional computers. As more mobile-friendly millennials take on leadership roles in business, mobile-only is likely to become the default business communication structure.
  • The virtual office – When workers can access all their critical business software on a mobile device, there will be fewer reasons to go to the office at all. Field service is where the forefront of business models are happening now in healthcare, sales, consulting, personal delivery services and more. In the past, workers were limited by wireless coverage gaps. 5G’s multi-hop mesh technology turns every 5G device into a mini-wireless tower, extending wireless reach to more remote areas.
  • Effortless communication – Some businesses have delayed implementing mobile networks for employees due to the cost of the phones themselves. Top of the line phones that have professional grade memory and graphics are expensive now, but 5G is knocking down that wall too. The advances in greater bandwidth and better data transfer eliminate the need for heavy processors and batteries on phones. Lighter, longer-lasting and less expensive phones will speed 5G adoption and make mobile more affordable for smaller businesses. Along with smaller batteries, phone makers expect screens to grow larger and more flexible, like the upcoming Samsung Galaxy’s transparent, foldable phone.
  • Personalized networks – One of the advances that engineers are most excited about is network slicing. Not every client that accesses your network has to have the same configuration. Individuals or teams could use different slices on the same network configured to fit their needs. For example, a group could have a network slice for mobile broadband video and calling, tuned to maximum uptime and minimum latency. Another department could run an automation control network, tuned to maximize monitoring for the maximum number of devices. A third network could be set up just for data gathering and analytics.

The standardization of communication frameworks will foster the development of many emerging technologies, like self-driving cars, smart homes and high-quality voice IP into many more markets and setting the stage for a new global renaissance, as information, ideas and innovations flow and synthesize even faster. The potential for smart cities to learn from each other, for businesses to build stronger digital ecosystems, and for companies to find new markets to fund growth could drive a new era of innovation and creativity.

The truly international scope of the 5G project creates a dilemma that will not be easily or satisfactorily solved for all and will test the resolve of the global business order. While the threat of hyperwar and cyber attacks lurk in the background, the globalized world pushes forward, and digital transformation continues to integrate supply chains and link up more economies in an interdependent global system.

The establishment of an international standard is an important moment for the international business community and is an essential foundation for companies who operate across borders.

The next wave of disruptive and transformative technologies will be built at the intersection of the global and digital world over the top of this shared framework. Both collaboration and competition will drive the race to build out the 5G ecosystem, which will transform industries on a scale not seen since the first phase of the industrial revolution.

Businesses everywhere are feeling the pressure to adapt, even if they are functionally not ready for it. A survey by Oracle revealed that 90% of firms claimed they had a digital strategy, yet only 14% had the IT tools and talent to bring it to life. Digital transformation early adopters didn’t always follow best practices, either. Just 25% of digital initiative leaders had a working map of the customer journey and almost 60% did not include additional investments in digital channels included in their next year budgets.

A mobile global platform for the future of work

5G will bring a new way to work based on a mobile global communications platform. Spoke Phone allows companies to easily add temporary and contract workers, allowing them to use their personal devices to make and receive business calls. All the data and contact info stays with the company while the employee's private number is masked behind the company line. 

Spoke Phone is now being successfully deployed by companies in pop up retail, field services and recruitment to unify teams, staff events and deliver great service and support across mobile. 

Our mobile platform allows agile companies the flexibility to run their businesses the way they need to. You can add as many mobile phones as you need, for as long as you need them. No training or special equipment is required, all you need to use Spoke is a smartphone. In addition to all the standard features you would expect from a virtual PBX, we’re building smart mobile-first add-ons to service a variety of verticals.

We’re also building special productivity features to help teams in the field. Our sharing features allows team members to clip, save and share snippets of conversations, and to work from a shared call log to answer and return phone calls.

Want to learn more about whether Spoke Phone can deliver a smart solution that answers the call of modern business? Sign up for a free demo and let us show you our roadmap for the future.