5G has moved beyond being a mere ’overhyped’ concept to a reality, which is poised to bring in revolutionary changes across a multitude of sectors. As the technology gains increased prominence, CIOs have a strategic role to play.
FREMONT, CA: Countries across the globe are investing more in 5G networks. The prominent aspects of 5G are its supreme reliability and high-speed networks.
5G technology is equipped with an enormous efficiency to unlock the hidden potential of automation. Moreover, the technology brings forward a unique feature, which is its ability to support emerging technologies, including augmented reality and virtual reality.
Business owners across the globe are looking forward to 5G. One example would be the 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), and it promises a transformational change in the way enterprises that are connectivity-based work. FWA enables greater abilities and enhanced productivity.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is being utilized to a great extent, but with the incorporation of 5G, what will be facilitated is an infrastructure to bring in enhanced connectivity among billions of devices across the internet. Improved connectivity will benefit both the home networks and industrial IoT. Further, 5G-powered IoT can bring in transformative changes in a multitude of sectors. It is certain that 5G will undoubtedly result in an innovative phase concerning analytics, data centers, IoT implementation, mobile technology, and cloud.
Business owners will also benefit from real-time online interactions with consumers. Also, customers can get involved in flawless video conferences with the staff. Further ahead, the 5G-powered networks are more efficient and connected as far as real-time interactions are concerned. It is also possible to run highly complex applications seamlessly. The 5G-powered networks are equipped with the ability to deal with many crucial business problems.
The enterprises and factories that are part of the manufacturing sector would find 5G highly popular. Many industry observers confirm that 5G would be a crucial part of future factories.
In view of all these advantages, where 5G would really assume significance in the future is those mission-critical times wherein networks respond at a much faster speed and incorporate massive amounts of data.
The Role of CIOs in the Imminent 5G Revolution
The imminent years will see tremendous changes concerning the 5G technology. However, businesses have a tremendous role to play in the scenario. There should be an ideal approach towards incorporating 5G into different aspects of businesses.
Despite its fitness for the future, 5G implementation or complete adaptation to the technology wouldn’t be easy. The initial years can be ambiguous as most of the 5G technologies are not proven from the viewpoint of an enterprise.
The enhanced speed and bandwidth will surely facilitate a huge surge with respect to high-bandwidth, besides real-time communications across enterprises. Moreover, the technology is also going to impact an organization’s IT strategic plans. In other words, with 5G, there is an equal mix of opportunities and challenges. Consequently, CIOs across enterprises belonging to various categories need to deploy a highly robust digital strategy into the way an enterprise functions.
CIOs have more to do besides arriving at a highly precise digital strategy. CIOs should be in a position to effectively utilize the potential impact of 5G on an enterprise’s overall communications configuration. Until the present, mostly CIOs have retained a perception of wireless infrastructure as a way of handling their infrastructure with respect to their Wi-Fi networks.
A similar approach towards 5G won’t be feasible as the technology is different. It appears that CIOs are aware of the need to move away from the conventional perception and know that the base stations have to be densely deployed for the 5G technology to function seamlessly. CIOs should also take into consideration the various service layers that are required to support the innovative sensors required for 5G applications and bring in organizational changes accordingly.
Also, in order to unleash the potential of 5G, wireless connectivity should be a top priority in the business plans of CIOs. This means that any devices that are part of organizational structure, whether it is BYOD or corporate devices, decisions regarding the upgrade to 5G should happen in a strategic manner. While carrying out an upgrade, the main use cases should be identified.
As per a report by Gartner, the most critical target use case as far as 5G is concerned, is the IoT communications. Around 59 percent of enterprises surveyed are found to be more interested in deploying 5G-enabled networks for this purpose. The other use case will be video, which was chosen by about 53 percent of the participants of the survey.
Additionally, it is critical for CIOs to audit and review their current network infrastructure to know what replacements or upgrade to the software, services, and network hardware are needed to effectively upgrade to 5G in a way that its full potential is leveraged. The time is apt for CIOs to conduct an audit on their current network infrastructure to see what kind of replacement or technological upgrade would be necessary. Aspects to be subjected to strict monitoring, include software, services, and network hardware. Finance can be a roadblock here, as mostly network upgrade tends to be expensive. An ideal strategy for CIOs should be to arrive at a systematic budget plan which permits you to carry out the necessary system upgrade within a specified time frame, maybe a few years.
Deciding upon and materializing a budget plan by taking into consideration the pre-requisites for 5G and considering the network upgrade, which is going to be expensive.
CIOs are also aware that it’s not just going to be an emergence of 5G, but a huge data avalanche through 5G. Within a few years of 5G implementation, the total number of IoT units will be five times more than what is available presently. Also, industry experts are confident that internet-connected devices will see a surge in growth fuelled by the emergence of 5G. It is inevitable for CIOs to make sure that innovative enterprise systems are being implemented for creating a favorable environment to welcome 5G.
In addition, the process of transitioning to the 5G network comes with a wide range of security risks. Similar to many other emerging and innovative technologies, 5G and several other new applications will pave the way for the increase in cybercrimes. This possibility of being highly vulnerable to cyber crimes has created resistance among some businesses to study deeply about 5G technology.
A poor implementation of 5G can lead to several security implications unless CISO/CIOs arrive at strict security implementations while incorporating the 5G technology.
CIOs looking to implement 5G need to be concerned about the importance of Wi-Fi 6 as well. Wi-Fi 6, which is also referred to as 802.11 ax, is faster as compared to the present generation networks and even the proposed 5G.
From a career point of view, it is important for CIOs to constantly upgrade their skill sets to keep pace with the technological changes including virtual reality, Big Data, IoT, and augmented reality.
For example, the 5G deployment comes with innovative network management approaches. Network slicing is one among them. This technology empowers IT to partition single physical networks to multiple networks, which are dedicated to pre-defined purposes. Running an enterprise’s IoT is a perfect example of network slicing. Network slicing assumes importance in the 5G scenario is due to its ability to perfectly manage the way specific applications and networks function. There are enhanced levels of security as well due to restricted access to certain applications and users.