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Most industries are ready to embrace 5G, but there are differences in confidence and strategy

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Research by leading IT services provider NTT DATA UK and research firm teknowlogy Group has found that, while most industries are ready to embrace 5G, there are considerable differences in their preparedness and plans for measuring success.

The study interviewed senior business leaders from across Europe to understand the complex picture of the current 5G market, and discovered that the telecom industry is amongst the most positive about the impact 5G will bring, with 94% of respondents expecting the technology to transform the industry for the better.

However, despite the consensus that 5G will generate new opportunities for businesses in other industries, including healthcare, transport, manufacturing and banking, there is greater concern about the challenges for organisations in these markets.

The findings show 60% of respondents in healthcare believe the implementation of 5G will bring significant challenges for their business, while the transport sector appears to be the most apprehensive, with 75% expecting difficulties as they embrace the technology.

Key challenges for businesses differ greatly among industries, with the findings showing:

  • Legacy technology is the biggest issue for the transport industry, with 45% of business leaders concerned about legacy
  • In contrast, data management is the greatest concern for 40% of healthcare businesses, while regulation and compliance an expected obstacle for 35% of businesses in this industry
  • The biggest challenge for the retail sector is the maturity of solutions on the market, according to 55% of retail businesses

Measuring success is another key issue in the implementation of 5G that was identified by businesses. Whilst 63% of telcos plan to use revenue targets to measure success, other industries have less defined metrics. 35% of respondents in transport have no fixed criteria, whilst a quarter of respondents in healthcare have a similar lack of measurement in place.

Ollie O’Donoghue, Senior Analyst at PAC, a teknowlogy Group company, comments: “While optimism is high, leaders are beginning to recognise that a lot of work is still needed to develop the foundations necessary to deliver real value from 5G. Moreover, there is a pressing need to find solutions to a growing list of challenges. There’s a significant role to play for the evolving ecosystem of vendors and providers in the space as enterprises look for more support as they head further into their 5G journeys.”

The research also found discrepancies regarding maturity and long-term strategy regarding 5G. Whilst the banking and insurance sector is one of the most mature, with 52% believing they have a clear strategy in place, other industries are less prepared. 30% of transport enterprises and a quarter of manufacturing businesses reported that they were unsure on the future direction of their 5G strategy.

Matthew O’Neill, Head of Networks at NTT DATA UK, adds: “It’s clear that the majority of industries recognise the potential of 5G, even if some express greater concern regarding the challenges of implementation than others. Most of these concerns stem from a lack of long-term strategy and uncertainty as to how success will be measured, and greater clarity on these issues will boost confidence regarding implementation.”

O’Neill continues: “It is crucial that organisations look to decentralise the decision-making process and bring more stakeholders from around the business into the planning for 5G implementation. By doing so, this will not only help to improve awareness of 5G strategies, and the factors critical to their success, but it will educate the wider business on the challenges of implementation, which will then enable solutions to be found at greater speed.”

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