Partner Perspectives (Sponsored Content)

Delivering True Value Through 5G Operation Map

5G has been gathering momentum throughout the world since the first commercial networks went live towards the end of last year. Over two dozen 5G networks are in active operation, many more are in trial mode, and the subscriber number growth is already outpacing that when 4G was launched. Probably the biggest boost so far is the decision by China, the world's largest mobile market, to award 5G licences to four operators in June this year, well ahead of what the industry had expected.

So far, the 5G service offerings have been centred around high speed internet access, and the main targets are consumers. But this is just the beginning. To materialise its full potential 5G need to go through three stages. The first stage will see 5G connecting everyone and everything covered by the networks, thanks to both the vastly enhanced bandwidth and the massive access capabilities. At the second stage, 5G will enable operators to monetise the dynamic networks, in particular through network slicing, for different vertical industries. The industry customers can benefit from the low latency and high bandwidth provided by 5G, as well as the cost-efficient solutions compared with private networks.

The third stage of 5G will be able to power a "platform economy". By this stage, operators will leverage the networks capabilities, including dynamic networks, edge and cloud computing, AI and machine learning, to provide a digital society ecosystem. Only at such a level of maturity can 5G claim to become a true "general purpose technology" (GPT). To get there, a "guidebook" would be immensely helpful to the telecom operators and other stakeholders on the 5G ecosystem.

The "5G Operation Map" is specifically designed for such a purpose. It charts the major milestones, including both capability developments and business model innovations, which 5G operators need to achieve, so as to reap the reward of the new technologies. This all starts from knowing what is happening in the networks. The "Center of Intelligence (CoI)" delivers full visibility into the network, including network data as well as data related to services and customer. More importantly, CoI also powers the generation of actionable analytics and intelligence to monetise the data, through the integrated Big Data Analytics and AI platform.

The next step on the Operation Map is the "Center of Operation (CoO)", which focuses on 5G network management, including network planning, resource orchestration from edge to network to centralised cloud, network operating, as well as managing key 5G technologies like network slicing. With 5G's key value proposition being cross-industry collaboration, CoO will also manage API platform to open IT & Network capabilities to connect with ecosystem partners.

The much more advanced services offered by 5G also means that not one single vendor can supply all the network components. Meanwhile, the strong virtualisation characteristics of 5G also mean a sophisticated mix of different physical and virtual networks need to be managed seamlessly. Such multi-vendor, multi-network environment will also be managed by CoO, integrating Virtualized Infrastructure Manager (VIM), Virtual Network Functions Manager (VNFM), Network Function Virtualisation Orchestrator (NFVO), and Software Defined Networks Controller (SDN-C).

One step further on the Operation Map is "Center of Ecology (CoE)", enabling digital ecosystem development for different industrial customers. This includes three components. The Vertical Business Enablement Platform provides the tools for adjacent industries to onboard 5G, the Vertical Industry Marketplaces enables the adjacent industries' business operation, and the 5G Business Monetisation is the platform for 5G operators to monetise their network properties. "Center of Value (CoV)" is the next step on the 5G Operation Map. Focusing on business model innovation, CoV will facilitates innovative collaborations between 5G operators and business partners as well as between partners themselves, for example mix and match of service offerings between multiple businesses. Channel innovation will blur the boundaries between online and offline channels, giving customers a seamless user experience. CoV platform also enables 5G operators to not only dynamically cater to the customer needs, but also proactively push and promote services using real-time data analytics, therefore creating values for the operators and delivering benefits to the customers.

The four steps for 5G to reach "general purpose technology" status is illustrated in this diagram:

Whale Cloud's 5G Operation Map has gone far beyond a concept on paper. It has been tried and tested in the real world with multiple operators and is ready to to serve 5G operators here and now.

Click here to download the full 5G Operation Map Whitepaper.

This content is sponsored by Whale Cloud.

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