I have worked with many cool technologies throughout the years, helping our partners find new opportunities, create their differentiation, and establish long and profitable customer relationships. I have also been at the center of the Internet of Everything wave and digital transformation – and the buzz words that accompany these new technologies, such as IoT, Software Defined-everything, CyberSecurity, Analytics, Edge Computing, Cloud Computing, and Artificial Intelligence. With that in mind, I want to dissect the new industry buzz of 5G and why I think it is an incredible opportunity for Cisco Partners.

Recently I read in a Harvard Business Review article a quote from Barbara Martin Coppola, CDO of IKEA: “The digital transformation is not a goal in and of itself, and it is so much more than technology.” She is right to portray the current status of most enterprises as being in flux.  The change is called Digital Transformation, and it is a result of new tools that enable connection of what I believe is the most critical asset of any company – the data it generates.

5G promises a new, innovative way to connect more and more devices, with incredible download speed and extremely low latency. Customers are looking to connect and extract valued information to create better customer experiences, increase productivity and minimize risk, as they have always been. Today they count on better technologies to get insights that we never thought possible before. The challenge now is how to get the data transported, analyzed, and act almost in real-time to create the changes they are pursuing.

5G and, in particular, the private 5G network will extend the ability to extract and operate critical assets that were very hard to reach or to manage in the past. In constantly changing environments like open-pit mines, where using other wireless technologies was not an option, 4G (and soon 5G) has been a powerful tool to use. In environments with a large amount of RF pollution, or in places where automated robots will fill the floor like distribution warehouses, 5G will be an incredible tool. In my opinion, these are the most likely 5G verticals as the technology they possess is putting pressure on latency and mobility: manufacturing, mining, oil and gas, logistics, large venues, and healthcare. For these verticals, it seems like 5G is the ultimate key to unlock digital transformation.

So here are some questions one might ask: Is 5G a Service Provider tool? Where is the opportunity for our Cisco partners with 5G? The answer is that the 5G Network is not the only tool that will change the technology horizon. Additionally, Service Providers won’t be the sole providers of 5G. I believe Service Providers will need to rely on integrators to reach out to enterprises. Why? 5G alone won’t solve the primary business goal of retrieving the data. Solution providers, like Cisco partners, will be able to use wireless technologies, 5G and WiFi6 to enhance the way enterprises connect to their assets and work to manipulate the data on the operational field. Now they can find the perfect balance between performance and cost that will enable faster digitization for their customers.

However, the buck does not stop there. As Enterprises connect their precious assets, customers, and suppliers, they create an always-on network that extends beyond locations. Security will be a prevalent domain, and network segmentation will be as critical. Who better than Cisco partners to address the enterprise networks of a digital world, where all the elements will play a key role? 5G is not the key to resolve all problems, but it can open up new frontiers for our customers where all the network elements will have their role and Cisco is here to provide the best tools to create the network of the future. Cisco Partners are prepared to connect customer assets with Cisco IoT solutions, using 5G and WiFi6 seamlessly to transport the data with innovative WAN solutions to a central location or the cloud, with state-of-the-art Intent Base Networking allowing the creation of network segmentation, adding security features like no one else in the market.

Let me finish by paraphrasing Bill Anderson from Ampthink: “Technology is the path traveled, not the destination.” The wireless war is not about technology, but about providing a spectrum of solutions that addresses customers’ needs. I’ll delve more into this in the next blog in my 5G series later this month.


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