In terms of acceptance of 5G, I think the following is even more significant: In the second half of this year, a number of major corporate users, such as Bosch, BASF, VW, Daimler and Siemens, plan to bid for spectrum that will enable them to establish their own 5G campus networks. Such companies have recognized the added value that 5G can provide for their business. 5G offers them a wealth of ways to enhance their efficiency, increase their flexibility and try out new ideas – such as using industrial Internet of Things (IoT) solutions in connection with mobile, yet centralized, production control; machine and systems monitoring (predictive maintenance); and extensive use of augmented-reality applications. Instead of building all-5G networks, some corporations may opt for “dual slice” campus networks, which combine a private network with the public network on one and the same campus infrastructure – thereby killing two birds with one stone, so to speak.
Yes, 5G is a great basic technology, in and of itself, but its real added value will emerge via 5G-based integrated solutions spanning a spectrum from connectivity to data analysis. Without such solutions, the dream will always be just a dream.
My prediction: Campus networks for digital and smart factories will be among the first live applications for 5G. But it will be some time before a virtual whiteboard materializes in my office (or my home office). Now I’m wondering when I’ll be saying, in my own workspace, “Look all you want, and feel free to touch, too.”