Other Insights

The evolving state of 5G strategy

We live in a hyperconnected era, where technology is pervasive and data is generated and consumed at an ever-increasing rate. A digital business needs to invest strategically in order to reap maximum benefits from emerging technologies. 5G can be a key tool in that quest.

While there is significant hype around this technology, there is also a healthy curiosity about the ground-level reality of 5G. In which stage are enterprises in their 5G adoption strategy? What are some of the important challenges and barriers in the pursuit of 5G? How is the ecosystem of technology providers, regulators, governments and enterprises shaping up globally? What industries are ahead of the rest in figuring out their approach toward 5G?

The 5G reality

To answer those questions and generate additional insights, Infosys commissioned a research survey about the current state of 5G adoption. The survey included 850 industry practitioners and leaders across the U.S., Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Each of these firms had annual revenue of at least $1 billion.

While you can read the complete study, “State of 5G — The Road Ahead,” for a deeper understanding, I would like to share a few interesting and noteworthy takeaways from that report.

It is extremely encouraging to note that 90% of survey respondents are actively investigating business cases, defining service portfolios or defining use cases with their ecosystem partners. Our survey also shows which industries are surging ahead in their 5G strategies.

The retail sector excelled in 5G adoption through its focus on in-store experiences, while utilities used the technology to accelerate the move to smart grids. Organizations are also gaining traction with smart spaces, remote health care and interactive experiences around media delivery. About 60% of respondents mentioned either cost or effectiveness as the primary criteria for use case adoption, while 57% are looking toward 5G for new revenue streams. We believe these numbers will eventually reverse as organizations focus more on the top line.

This transition also creates opportunities for network service providers and system integrators to play larger roles in 5G’s evolution. The study found that nearly 50% of survey respondents expect that their 5G deployment will require greater assistance from system integrators such as Infosys.

Collaborative initiatives will bring together 5G equipment suppliers, standards bodies, infrastructure providers, cloud service providers and end users to maximize the technology’s potential. Innovation will be further accelerated through open source communities, which are already playing an active role in this transition.

The promise of 5G

Even as enterprises invest time and resources into 5G technology, there are still significant concerns. Our study found that 59% of respondents consider security to be the biggest barrier to 5G adoption, while 57% see device readiness as a key concern. Nearly 60% of respondents said that finding the right talent is a major challenge. We believe this skills gap is going to be a significant issue going forward as system integrators play an increasingly important role in the 5G ecosystem.

There is tremendous potential for enterprise 5G adoption, but success will require overcoming significant hurdles, not all of them financial. To succeed, organizations need well-defined regulations, standards, infrastructure, devices and a 5G-ready workforce.