How emerging vertical innovations will shape 5G


Originally posted for Blu Wireless

There’s a lot more to 5G than mobile connections. From health tech startups to automotive firms to warehouses and factories, countless business are set to benefit from the enhanced connectivity 5G brings. This next generation is a step change that will cause many companies to reimagine how they operate.

When we’re talking about 5G, what we really mean is opening up networks so that developers can innovate. 5G will do for connectivity what open source did for coding, bringing about a new wave of vertical innovation where industries have far more influence over how they connect.

Traditionally, the technologies involved in the telecoms sector and the IT industry have been very separate, but now the two are joining up to bring about more opportunities for exciting connectivity applications. These new vertical use cases include smart cities, connected healthcare, industry 4.0 and high-speed transport – any sector that could gain from fast, seamless internet access, effectively.

Vertical applications must drive 5G innovation

Meeting these emerging verticals, the industry will demand change in 5G and the telecoms sector will have to transform how it operates. This will not be a straightforward task, with all the complexities and heterogeneities of the technologies involved in 5G. What makes most sense, then, is not to start from how we as technology providers produce 5G systems, but how the industries who need these systems need them to function.

Vertical application developers must be the ones driving the evolution of 5G technologies. By provisioning wireless technologies such as mmWave with open source cloud native software, using open platforms, organisations – from a tech start-up to a local authority to a transport or manufacturing industry leader – can be empowered to innovate with their own 5G network.

Giving industry stakeholders a say in network applications performance

Start with the use case rather than with the tech itself. If the connectivity experience is seamless enough, industry stakeholders no longer need to think about how they’re connecting and can concentrate on providing the applications instead.

If we can give developers more influence over how their applications use 5G, they can better control the end-user experience – which would be a great result for all parties.

In this 5G mmWave-enabled future, commuters won’t have to worry about taking a conference call on a train. For factory operators, connectivity downtime for machinery won’t even be seen as a risk anymore. We’re building an infrastructure that allows vertical services like these not just to exist but to flourish.

Bringing flexibility to 5G networking

At Blu Wireless, we’re building software tools designed to integrate wireless networking technology to be compatible with open source software tools our clients are using.

As we develop both the hardware and the software for 5G networking, we can work more flexibly with our partners to deliver the performance levels and features they want for their application. Using industry standard SDN based APIs and protocols, applications can be embedded into our network, providing all the benefits of 5G connectivity without configuration challenges.

For a high-speed transport client, we’ve developed both the transport-application-specific software layers, the wireless mmWave technology and the radios required. Using additional techniques, such as network slicing, we can set the bandwidth and latency of a customer’s 5G network to exactly the level they need for their use case.

The mmWave technology we deploy for our 5G systems is particularly unique, providing reliable connectivity with data transfer rates up to 100 times faster than 4G. By implementing our 5G mmWave networks for clients without recourse to licensed bands or fibre, we’re lowering the cost of 5G deployment and closely integrating 5G cloud native network applications innovation directly into our wireless technology platform.

Crucially, this new degree of technological freedom will mean that industry stakeholders can truly shape the evolution of 5G for their respective verticals. In terms of what this means for innovation, that’s an exciting prospect.