5G monetization requires a significant shift in how businesses work with their clients. As we anticipate how 5G will change our world, we see similarities in how the smart phone brought value to consumers - via apps. 5G will provide similar opportunities as we unlock new use cases and enable data in different ways from Augmented Reality (AR) / Virtual Reality (VR) to Home Internet of Things (IoT), smart manufacturing and real time insights of consumers. However, the ability to create these new use case models requires a significant shift in the way organizations operate. The building blocks for this relate back to use cases that will help shape the future ways of working. It’s been well documented via the rise of innovation centers, agile and design thinking skills and digital agencies that companies recognize the need to “think outside the box”, bringing in new ideas from different sectors. This has resulted in the need for divergent thinkers, ‘creatives’ and a move to bring in diverse Board members - from different sectors and backgrounds to explore new ways of working. This diversity helps enable new ideas for 5G use cases and the monetization and efficiency problems that 5G technology could solve.

Telecommunications companies like Vodafone, which operate Europe’s largest 5G network, have experimented with 5G use cases through trials before making the technology commercially available.

“The potential of 5G goes beyond ultra-fast connectivity,” says Jaime Diez, Global Head of MPN-Edge and Cloud Engineering, Vodafone. “5G will transform consumer experiences, power the future of business and Industry 4.0, connecting billions of IoT devices in sectors like healthcare, agriculture and automotive. Network slicing on 5G will enable it to be reliably deployed to specific critical applications such as cars, emergency vehicles, factories and hospitals – and we are only starting to unlock its capabilities”, Diez continues.

Retailers need to think beyond the obvious - playing in a 5G world

5G can transform the world we are living in. For those looking to successfully play in that world, they need to break away from established patterns and start to think beyond the traditional ways of working. Consumer first thinking and front office transformation is vital; understanding how technology can enhance this interaction is critical. Enabling new experiences that lead to more real time and integrated experiences will bring added value. For example, 5G could allow travelers to make their duty free purchases on the way to the airport via virtual stores providing stores with more opportunities to engage, regardless of where they operate in the airport. Integrated with a seamless post immigration collection travelers could save time and have a better shopping experience with promotions from airlines and reward programs on offer. Similarly, with clothing, customers will be able to visualize their purchases using their digital avatar that can also be extended to the home. This technology is already here, and for retailers, this technology also allows the 5G virtual mirror to provide analytics and insights into buyer behaviors.[1]

Availability of data based on personalization, location, preferences can be significantly fine-tuned to provide the customer with a tailored experience – knowing your preferences such as a certain fragrance or alcohol, or your travel patterns means companies can provide customers with instant promotions relevant to them. This tailored experience could be further enhanced by adding a retail virtual assistant, so you can shop on your way to the airport and collect on arrival too. Curated and concierge style interactions and experiences may soon be available for everyone.

“Retailers can also benefit from sharing product and sales data with Consumer Packaged Goods companies, harnessing the Snowflake Data Cloud capabilities to create more accurate insight on consumer behaviour, drive product sales, and improve replenishment” says Will Cage, Global Head of Telco & Tech, Snowflake.

5G to become the key enabler for digital transformation - resonating with Governments

To enable use case proliferation, Governments need to adapt their regulation within key sectors. We are already seeing governments around the world look into real time digital twin technology and the introduction of digital banks - with Tech and Telecom players now winning banking licenses to embed transactions into virtual environments. We are also seeing Telecom Regulators look at ways to review how nations consider regulation to enable innovation – particularly around areas that relate to autonomous vehicles and the regulation surrounding insurance models and data governance.

“From observing the 4G app revolution, regulators have internalized that they can’t predict the 5G future” says Patricia Paoletta, a partner at Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP and member of PTC’s Advisory Council. “Governments don’t know what use cases will be transformative, but they know there will be tremendous impacts, and they want to position their country to lead in 5G development.”

In Korea, automotive companies as part of private sector, have made efforts to realize autonomous vehicles, commercially based on 5G network. On the other hand, Advanced Institute of Convergence Technology (“AICT”) together with municipal authorities is experimenting with 5G network based autonomous trams in Pangyo, Korea. While digital technologies and telecommunication networks play an important role, AICT also focused on how to foster a marketplace based on accumulated data such as, LiDAR, RADAR, vision, V2X sensors, and 5G networked signal flows. 5G techs and networks in Korea are beyond mere engineering data. 5G is viewed as an enabler to create new socio-economic transactions architecture, based on behavioral science, leading to building a marketplace with targeted incentive programs.

Data is being accumulated in many ways. AICT contributes to Korea’s economic growth by leveraging not only the 5G network and data collected and shared through it, but also by engaging in earliest timing socio-economic transaction architecture, including marketplace, that facilitates data exchange. Besides private sector, public sector data (i.e., accumulated within AICT) of inside and outside the urban buildings, urban roads, and highways created by the ecosystem and collected through 5G are also indispensable to foster the economic growth in digital era.

Seeking out innovation

Most of the work so far has been focused on getting the foundations right to be 5G ready. The traditional model of building the network architecture and capturing subscribers has shifted to a broader monetization need. The need for teams to be able to see outside their existing ROI models of capex and revenue to possible adjacent revenue models will be of importance.

The purpose of developing use case factories is to drive new applications at scale, to capture and co-create opportunities. This ranges from awareness to testing and delivering tangible 5G products and services - driving opportunities at scale by:

1. Seeking out innovative authors in new sectors to discover insights for new 5G plays.

2. Moving from a "build it and they will come" approach of past G's to the design bold scenarios, driven by changing dynamics across industries. A fast prototype and fail fast approach is expected to be critical.

3. Being the voice to deliver insights into opportunities, impacts and implications for key industries.

4. Collaborating and understanding how to develop and innovate within a family group, collectively around strategic opportunity areas.

Our experience shows that to move forward and step into a 5G-enabled future, we must start seeking out and connecting all the players in the ecosystem together - collaboration across mobile operators, local authorities, the public and private sectors - ultimately relating 5G to the needs of people. Keep an eye out for our last blog on the multi-billion dollar Telco to Techco journey.

5G articles series by Technology, Media and Telecommunications Leaders, KPMG Asia Pacific