The Consumer Electronic Show (CES) has become a pivotal show for companies to showcase their latest technological hype. Set in Las Vegas, it draws much publicity because of some of the weird and wonderful technology that may or may not become mainstream. For me there were two stand out pieces from this year’s show. First up was a rollable OLED TV, which at a click of the remote disappeared into a box. Which is pretty cool if you’re moving house, or living in a tight on living space. The second thing that stood out for me was an autonomous vehicle. We’ve all seen these in exhibition halls looking all slick and shiny but the difference with this vehicle was that it actually worked. When I say worked, it actually took to the streets of Las Vegas in real traffic and potential obstacles. The vehicle was covered in sensors and radars making split second decisions on a mapped out journey. From what I gathered, there were no incidents over the few days. The interesting piece was that on the demo I seen of this in action, there was no mention of 5G. The bulk of the work was carried out by the on-board sensors.
5G was a big topic at CES. But did we learn anything new? It seems like service providers and vendors are waiting for MWC19 to wow us. I think the industry is waiting for all the talk to turn into action and start to envisage how 5G could impact all our lives for the better. There was a significant lack of 5G devices on show at CES but I would say MWC19 will see the firsts on this front. Samsung’s S10 which will be launched at MWC19 has to be 5G ready? But what about other devices such as wearables or devices for the home, will we see some demos of these at MWC19?
So if we see 5G devices and services providers in the United States talking about nationwide 5G roll out, are the service providers ready for 5G in terms of their BSS? 5G will be heavily marketed about how it will revolutionise people’s lives in terms of connectivity. However, service providers need to quickly adapt to their customers’ new expectations of what 5G brings. This is prevalent especially when the customer wants to engage with the service provider. Will service providers start to give a level of customer experience that people are used to with the likes of Amazon, Netflix etc? Will 5G be the wakeup call for service providers to start growing to the top of the NPS charts where currently they are all typically near the bottom from an industry point of view?
At MWC, we will see a lot of vendors talking about 5G and what they will bring to the party. But what do service providers want to take away from the event? Sure, they will learn about new and exciting use cases that they could take back to their teams. However, as 5G is now here the main learning will be about how 5G can grow revenue and reduce network operating costs. Service providers will want innovative and faster ways to roll out new products and services to their customers but at the same time not having to invest in hundreds of millions to do so. The other big topic that will be of focus will be that of data security on the network. As we have seen many news stories hitting the headlines about breaches of trust, service providers will be looking at bit closer at their vendors of choice at MWC19.
CES gave some 5G insight but MWC19 this year will be different to previous years. This time 5G is not just a vision, it’s a reality.
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