ESG's Bob Laliberte discusses highlights from The Big 5G Event 2019, held in Denver CO.
Read the related ESG Blog: Ready or Not; 5G is Coming
Announcer: The following is an "ESG on Location" video.
Bob: Hello, and welcome to the Big 5G Event being held here in Denver, Colorado. As you can expect, something with the name of 5G is going to attract a lot of people. There's a lot of hype around it right now, and there's a lot of people that came to this show.
As a matter of fact, almost every session that I've been to has been standing room only. All the major players are here. Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile all up on stage talking about where they are with their deployments or with their planned deployments. And it's not just the service providers that are here as well. It's really the whole ecosystem for 5G who are here, and if you walk around the exhibit hall, that's really evident.
You see Cisco, and Ericsson, Affirmed, a lot of these companies that you might expect to see at a telco show. Some of the interesting ones for myself, actually, were seeing Palo Alto Networks, Fortinet, as well. Some of these organizations that are in security and looking at how they're going to play. In addition to them, we also saw Pure and Western Digital talking about storage and how they will be able to enable that 5G ecosystem.
And, of course, there were the network service assurance providers, so NETSCOUT was present today, as well as SevOne, and Sandvine. So a lot of different organizations getting together to talk about 5G and where it's going. Now, my big takeaway from the day is really that, while there's been a lot of hype in the media about 5G being some sort of a race, the reality is it's not.
We all know it's going to be an evolutionary process. We've seen this happen with 3G and 4G. You know, and at the same time, the standards bodies are already starting to work on 6G. So 5G is certainly a lot of hype. It's really early days. We're starting to see the service providers roll it out, which is great, but don't expect everything to happen overnight.
As a matter of fact, from most of the people that were talking up on stage today, really shouldn't expect any kind of meaningful deployments and revenue attribution to 5G until probably around '21 up through 2023. So that gives us a pretty good five-year window for organizations to really get the 5G technologies rolled out, installed, and deployed.
To prepare for 5G, what a lot of these providers talk about is doing that initial fiber buildout, getting it out to the cell towers, and so forth, so they can support the greater bandwidth that will be available via 5G. Clearly, the 5G rollout will need the fiber. It's also going to need spectrum, right. The radio piece is going to be important, so you're going to need spectrum for that.
And, as a matter of fact, if you're trying to think about when 5G will be coming, you can base that on whether or not there's been any spectrum auctions in your area and whether that's been rolled out yet or not. On top of that, a lot of the organizations here cited that SDN will be critical to help enable that backend infrastructure and then, of course, edge computing to help drive that edge component to this.
Everyone wants to know what the killer use case is. Why do we need 5G? Well, if you link back to 4G, the killer use case there was really video. Sixty percent of all the mobile broadband is consumed via video and, in fact, in North America, I think it's something like 35% just for YouTube. A lot of people here this week were talking about augmented reality being that new killer app and having applications from entertainment and gaming, all the way to healthcare, so surgery, etc., enabling organizations to do more than they ever could.
So there's a lot of different applications possible for 5G. The ones that keep coming up are around, obviously, as I mentioned, entertainment, so having what they refer to as mobile XR, kind of a combination of augmented reality and virtual reality. And then when you move into manufacturing, that was another key use case that a lot of people were talking about, and that's really about, if I've got a manufacturing floor, maybe robotics, I don't have to have them tethered to a network.
I could use that ultra low latency 5G to connect to them and provide a good service and a good execution of any commands. Other areas of interest revolved around retail using augmented reality walking down aisles, being able to see what the ingredients of things were, especially if you have allergies. From a healthcare perspective, as I mentioned, there could be remote surgeries, remote diagnostics, and even leveraging augmented reality when performing surgeries to help model out the area that they're performing their surgery on.
And, of course, the ever-popular transportation use case and having those autonomous driving cars as well. So these are all areas that organizations are looking at and thinking about how 5G can help drive future growth and business for them. Now, it is also clear that, initially, 5G won't be a coverage thing, and it won't necessarily be for consumers.
There's a lot of focus on that, as I just mentioned, all those business to business applications. But, eventually, it will get to those consumers, and you will expect by 2023, I think they're saying, somewhere around a billion subscribers onto 5G. It's important to remember that it's still early days for 5G, so what does that mean for you?
Well, in particular, it means you should be using this time to get better educated on 5G and how 5G technology can help enable your business, ultimately solving problems by having that much better throughput in speed, as well as the ultra low latency, and potentially even taking advantage of the network slicing that's to come with the 5G Core. So, for now, enjoy the ride, enjoy all the hype.
But while you're doing that, make sure that you spend time with your vendors to understand how 5G could potentially impact your businesses and help you to deliver differentiated services to your customers as well.