According to new data from Amdocs, many consumers understand the benefits that 5G networks will have in their personal life, and increasingly believe it will benefit their remote and mobile work experience as well. With this, 35 percent of respondents believe that the technology will lead to better video conference options.
In addition, now that close to 30 percent of employees in the U.S. work at home between one and four days a week, 5G will play a critical role in supporting next-generation workforces by breaking down barriers between the physical and virtual workplaces. To add to this, 5G also increases the potential that artificial intelligence can deliver for business processes.
To gain an insight into these trends, Digital Journal spoke with Angela Logothetis, CTO of Amdocs Open Network.
Digital Journal: How important will 5G technology be?
Angela Logothetis: 5G has the potential to completely change our society with unique experiences that we can’t even imagine today. First experiences with 5G will definitely be a faster, more responsive and consistent experience for the types of things we do today – internet access, streaming video and accessing content seamlessly in the cloud. But as the 5G landscape changes and new disruptive players enter the market in areas like smart cities, IoT and private networks, we’ll see many innovative offerings. It will also offer the ability to do things on-the-go that were once tied only to an in-home experience.
DJ: Does the public have a good understanding of the technology?
Logothetis: The main conversation surrounding 5G over the past year has been about its impact on connectivity, speed and downloads for consumer devices. But according to new research from Amdocs, consumers recognize that 5G is about more than faster downloads: 26 percent want to use the technology to improve cloud and online gaming quality. Another 64 percent are interested in using 5G for better AR/VR experiences around specific events, like the Super Bowl and the Oscars. Many consumers also realize that it will have a significant impact on their work, both in the office and remotely.
DJ: How soon before 5G technology is the norm, and what are the barriers to getting there?
Logothetis: Although 5G will continue to roll out for several years to come, 2020 will be the year where it’s expected to prove its worth. With a solid foundation being built by significant providers, and with many 5G-equipped smartphones entering the market, 2020 could very well be the tipping point for adoption.
That said, there are still barriers to adoption for both consumers and organizations before we see 5G reach its true potential and impact. For example, consumers having 5G compatible devices at an adoption-friendly price during their device replacement cycle (about four years for an iPhone user). Complex 5G antennas also mean 5G will likely not be available in wearables for some time. There is also the education aspect and being able to demonstrate what experiences can be brought to life using the technology.
DJ: How important will 5G technology be for remote working? What benefits will it deliver?
Logothetis: The day-to-day impact of 5G on remote workers will be significant -- it will create a seamless working environment that delivers a guaranteed quality of service, potentially provided by a dedicated network slice. According to the findings, 35 percent of consumers believe the technology will lead to more advanced video communications (think telepresence vs. video conferencing). Further, 32 percent anticipate better video training and development opportunities, which would require real-time, immediate interactions, and 61 percent think it will create more opportunities to work remotely with ubiquitous access. This highlights that not just consumer devices and leisure will benefit from 5G. Enterprises will be a driving force in the monetization of the new technology.
5G will also play a critical role in supporting next-generation workforces by breaking down barriers between the physical and virtual workplaces. It’s estimated that roughly 30 percent of employees work at home between one and four days a week, with 13 percent working from home full time. By 2028, 73 percent of all teams are expected to have remote workers.
DJ: How important will AI be for businesses?
Logothetis: The most immediate impact of AI on businesses will be to reduce costs, increase agility and automatically run quality checks, which is why we’ll see many deploy more AI in 2020. Automation is not only a technological change for businesses but an organizational and educational one as well. As a result, we’ll see workers further move from simple and repetitive tasks to more creative and complex activities.
For 5G specifically, new monetization models and experiences will require connectivity providers to embed AI solutions as part of their offering. For example, video quality monitoring of a production line not only requires 5G connectivity, but edge computing and an AI engine at the edge that can monitor and assure the production line. This opens opportunities to not only monetize 5G but to monetize the video stream processed by the AI. This will be one of the first 5G opportunities we see for enterprises.
DJ: What will be the main applications of AI?
Logothetis: Some of the first applications of AI are the interpretation of video – production line monitoring, inspection and signoff of build quality, medical diagnostics, climate monitoring, to name a few.
AI won’t just be used as an application on the network; it will also be used within it, to manage the size and complexity of the network. AI will be able to identify and predict traffic patterns, security breaches, future network failures and enable proactive and automated operations. It will be focused continuous on learning, improvement and governance across every aspect, touchpoint, and technology.