Intelligent CIO Africa Issue 43 | Page 74

FINAL WORD The five business imperatives of 5G Business leaders must operate with business imperatives in mind and one of these should be taking a structured and considered approach to 5G. James Bristow, SVP EMEA, Cradlepoint, discusses the benefits of 5G adoption and how it can serve to minimise disruption caused to operations during such uncertain times. The current crisis has undoubtedly had a huge economic impact on the business world. From the disrupted delivery of microchips from China to a lack of copper component exports from Congo, the global pandemic has led to concerns that the UK will lack the supplies necessary to build the infrastructure required to make 5G a reality in the near future. That news, however, does not run in line with the evident demand from European enterprises. According to a recent GlobalData report, reliable connectivity is now considered ‘a critical commodity’. During this period of unanticipated strain on the global economy, the speed and bandwidth, ultra-low latency, and network management paradigms of 5G would go some way to minimise disruption for enterprises. However, the level of change involved means there are a few considerations that must be accounted for first. Critically, ensuring a graceful pathway from existing LTE networks to 5G requires the following five business imperatives to be kept in mind. 1. Harness the power of the full connectivity spectrum Because the 5G rollout is occurring in stages, 4G LTE, Gigabit-Class LTE, and 5G will all be used simultaneously for some time still. While network operators seek to monetise their 5G investment as quickly as possible, enterprises must therefore ensure they can manage multiple technologies across different sites. From 4G LTE, to Gigabit-Class LTE, to 5G, it is critical that businesses harness the value of the full range of cellular technologies available and transition tens of thousands of sites gracefully between generations as technology becomes available in individual locations. For example, an organisation may have: (1) Thousands of existing sites running 4G LTE because Gigabit-Class LTE and 5G are currently unavailable in their locations; (2) Thousands of other locations that have just upgraded to Gigabit-Class LTE to supplement bandwidth; and (3) A few sites that have already deployed 5G and are entirely wireless. With such a multi-faceted collection of contributing threads, 74 INTELLIGENTCIO