Cloud, internet and 5G: Advances in technology enabling the enterprise and IoT market evolution

July 15, 2020 - Niall Norton

Niall Norton, CEO at Openet, discusses the evolution of enterprise and IoT and why the time is right for service providers to be market-makers in this area.

Service providers are preparing to generate very significant new revenue streams from providing services and enabling marketplaces in the enterprise and IOT space. Many are predicting that enterprise will be the main revenue and value generator underpinning the 5G business case.  A recent study by Omdia which showed that almost 73% of service providers believe that the majority of 5G revenues will be derived from B2B, B2B2C and public sector opportunities. At Openet we believe in this thesis; Service providers can and will be the new market-makers for a wide range of enterprise generated services and IOT devices.

A lot of people we deal with are getting very excited about the enterprise opportunity. Some see selling to enterprises is something that is totally new to service providers. But in truth, it’s not. Service providers have a long tradition of selling mobile voice and data connectivity in the form of tailored offers to enterprise customers. These offers have involved selling customised price plans or dedicated APN driven “mini-networks”. These allowed for specific pricing or tailored customer experience. In some cases, service providers engaged MVNE platform providers to address this market for a small number of larger enterprise customers. Enterprise customers themselves have historically also been able to participate directly by means of setting up a dedicated MVNO-type arrangement. Here they were able to directly provision, control and manage their services from one or multiple networks for service delivery. This allowed them to leverage the network connectivity to serve their customers directly under their own business brands. This multi-party activity in providing service, underpinned by cloud based, open systems is the building block for partner ecosystems. This multi-party approach to providing service is already happening today, for 4G services, for Openet customers.

The advances in cloud, 5G and internet technologies are taking this to the next level. This is driving a lot of interest in service providers as they see the potential to play a pivotal role in the 5G value chain. This is enabled by cloud based, partner ecosystems and the emergence of enterprise market places. Here enterprise customers can log onto and buy potentially any service that can be delivered over a 5G network, with the associated connectivity ‘on demand’. This is opening up new and potentially, significant revenue streams for service providers.

5G and cloud brings real structural change to the table. 5G is far more than being just the latest and greatest mobile network. With the right technical and business leverage, 5G becomes the “platform” from which service providers can sell an enormous ranges of partner supported services – from advertising to analytics to health care to education and entertainment. Developed in this way, 5G delivers a set of opportunities that drive new revenues from a wide range of enterprise services way beyond standard connectivity.

For the service provider these can include the following:

  • Dedicated network slices and sub-slices for enterprise customers that allows tailored pricing, service levels agreements and end-customer and end-device relationship management and security. So service providers can sell urLLC services with a specific QoS and SLA at a premium. Think of this as “network as a service” with digital service provider enhancements.
  • Digital home office bundles of services to be provided as a storefront from the service provider to end-customers (where the service provider is like a digital marketplace reselling third party services)
  • Market-place and storefront capabilities to enable varying degrees of self-provisioning and self-service by enterprises and IOT manufacturers to stage their offerings to their end-customers leveraging the service provider’s marketplace.

For the Enterprise:

  • Private cellular network capabilities that will allow the enterprise or MVNE operation to package wholesale network connectivity, and partner services and shape the end-device or end-customer experience.

It’s worth highlighting that the new enterprise market opportunity is enabled by advances in technology, and not a technology capability in itself. It is a fundamental expansion and evolution of revenue and value creation by a service provider. It’s a strategy that evolves the market opportunity for service providers and enables them to participate in significantly expanded value chains that are enabled by advances in 5G, cloud, the internet marketplace and the explosion of new devices and sensors.

Openet has been serving this market for many years and has anticipated this evolution in the business model – as we are truly Built for Enterprise.


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