ASOCS reached a major breakthrough in May 2022 CYRUS® release – Network Slicing, its private network 5G offering can now offer both eMMB (Mobile Broadband) and URLLC (Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communication), as a standard on a single system, based on application, device, and customer needs.
In the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect have in the hold of a Vorgon ship and Arthur cannot understand the Vorgon announcement. Ford takes a fish out of his bag and puts it in Arthur’s ear – and he instantly understands the alien language.
‘The Babel fish,’ said The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy quietly, ‘is small, yellow, and leech-like, and probably the oddest thing in the Universe. It feeds on brainwave energy received not from its own carrier but from those around it. It absorbs all unconscious mental frequencies from this brainwave energy to nourish itself with. It then excretes into the mind of its carrier a telepathic matrix formed by combining the conscious thought frequencies with nerve signals picked up from the speech centers of the brain which has supplied them. The practical upshot of all this is that if you stick a Babel fish in your ear you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language.
The relevance for Private 5G vendors, especially with new technology that pre–Open RAN (O-RAN) and virtualization of base stations as a vRAN (Virtualized Radio Access Network) software was complex and costly – when it comes to conversing with enterprises, both are speaking different languages.
This dissonance is the main barrier to the adoption of a key disruptive technological advancement in Smart Manufacturing, Smart Retail, Healthcare, Smart Logistics, and many other private enterprise sectors that require connectivity of machines to each other and central AI in a seamless, reliable, and secure manner.
Round holes and square pegs?
From an anecdotal perspective, we often hear manufacturers requesting specific technical requirements such as 10-millisecond round-trip, or that they have government incentives to introduce digitization. We also hear fears of change and adoption, such as one foreman pleading not to touch his big red button. Sometimes the conversation starts from the manufacturer from even more technical requests, such as: “We require URLLC.”
Not only are the enterprises trying to speak the vendor’s language, but the conversation is also centered around a narrow band of technical requirements rather than meaningful conversations on which problems or issues or optimization can be resolved utilizing the specific qualities of Private 5G. Each side should be talking in their own language on areas they are experts in. The enterprises should be talking about what practical improvements to their operations they want to achieve. If anything, the vendors should try to speak in the enterprises’ language.
For example, the enterprise says we need to improve health and safety standards and check that personnel are not endangering themselves in real-time. The vendor suggests using video AI analysis that will take high quality live video feeds that can be analyzed in real-time by AI and necessary commands, alerts or operations sent back from the AI to machines or people in less than a blink of an eye. At the same time the same video can be analyzed for other purposes such as predictive maintenance or supply line fulfillment. Private 5G can handle the network communications and a URLLC private network slice can insure not just speed, but reliability and security.
In order to say each side is trying to match square pegs into round holes would at least allude to speaking about the same game. All too often what we hear is more like trying to match square pegs with a Monopoly board. Added to the conversation is usually an SI (System Integrator) and often the conversation between a Private 5G vendor, SI, and enterprise falls into the aforementioned technical-centric discussions on the capabilities of Private 5G and on the worst level, how to shoehorn into use.
There are many benefits of using Private 5G, but unless the utilization of the technology is deployed to resolve issues it can only be an exercise in frustration and disappointment. It is like trying to open a brand-new Ferrari with a bus pass.
It’s about perspective
When we at ASOCS look at the benefits of Private 5G, we look at it from the enterprises’ perspective. The initial discussion is not centered around private network slicing, eMBB vs. URLLC, 10ms round-trip communications or even bandwidths. The focus is on identifying real issues that need to be resolved and where the benefits of Private 5G are best suited in delivering the solution.
“Everything you see or hear or experience in any way at all is specific to you. You create a universe by perceiving it, so everything in the universe you perceive is specific to you.”
— Douglas Adams
When we start talking to manufacturers, for example, the key agendas often include: health and safety, meeting environmental targets, mobility, flexibility, and scalability. The main concerns are: costs, management, security, and the transformation journey. These are the grounding principles for the conversation – one that is simple and understood by all parties.
Based on this foundation we can see the real use cases and the priorities of each use case in a manner that has meaning to the enterprise and acting as a clear guideline of needs from the SI and P5G vendor.
The Enterprises Guide to the P5G Universe
Understanding the apprehensions of enterprises made offering a scalable and affordable business model based on a SaaS-style subscription key. O-RAN offers not only the base for the business model but also the flexibility and scalability from a technological perspective, plus 3GPP protocols begins to answer security concerns (see our guide on Private 5G security ). Providing the management tools on regular IT equipment, in terms any IT person can understand, plus meaningful deployments means both management and transformation concerns are addressed.