Shaping the Wireless Future: Insights from Our MWC Barcelona 2024 Panel (Part 1)

This article is part one of a two-part series.

The future of connectivity beckons with the innovative strides in private wireless networks, as discussed at our recent panel at Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona 2024. This event, a convergence of thought leaders from Federated Wireless, Intel, AWS, and academia, explored the trajectory of private wireless, neutral host, and AI, as well as their transformative roles across various industries.

Drivers Behind Private Wireless Adoption: The Enterprise Push for Transformation

Our CEO, Iyad Tarazi, pointed out that the adoption of private wireless networks is fueled by the growing data needs of mechanization and automation, particularly in industrial sectors. The availability of data for inventory management and the advancement of higher education and research institutions are also propelling this adoption forward.

The adoption of private wireless, particularly 5G, in enterprises is driven by an essential shift towards digital transformation—a journey motivated by the pursuit of higher productivity, lower costs, better customer experiences, and enhanced employee environments. This transformational shift is fueled by the vast amounts of data generated across various facets of a business, including production, employee engagement, and customer interactions.

Bhupesh Agarwal articulated this, noting that enterprises are not just looking for new technology for its own sake. The inadequacy of current technologies such as Ethernet and Wi-Fi to meet evolving business demands is pushing enterprises towards private 5G solutions. The transition is not spurred by the hype surrounding private 5G but rather by tangible business needs that existing infrastructures fail to address.

Crucially, the movement towards digital transformation transcends industry boundaries, becoming a universal journey for businesses aiming to remain competitive. Enterprises are coming to the realization that if they want to harness their data effectively and make real-time decisions, their technological backbones need to be robust and versatile. It is these business use cases—grounded in operational efficiency and strategic advantage—that are the real drivers behind the adoption of private 5G networks.

Moreover, Bhupesh pointed out the role of financial prudence in this transition. With CFOs scrutinizing the total cost of ownership (TCO), the value proposition of private wireless must be compelling. It must deliver on the promise of productivity without exorbitant costs.

When the conversation around private wireless began circling around 2018/2019, it was largely centered on industry 4.0. However, the use cases have since evolved. Now, they include basic connectivity to improve productivity—consider that a significant number of warehouses suffer from lack of connectivity or insufficient coverage. There’s also Edge AI, where enterprises seek to leverage the data they possess to enhance decision-making processes. And not least, there’s the concept of the neutral host, which addresses in-building connectivity challenges and is vital for enabling digital transformation in areas traditionally difficult to cover.

Private wireless networks are proving to be the reliable backbone necessary for these enterprises to implement transformative solutions and thrive in a rapidly evolving digital landscape.

Transforming Industries with Private Wireless

Chris McKenna from AWS discussed how private wireless is just one component of a broader solution set required by enterprises to address their challenges. Once implemented, this future-proof technology paves the way for a myriad of applications, with AI and real-time edge AI becoming key transformation drivers.

Craig Cowden from WWT highlighted the crucial verticals ripe for private wireless adoption, such as higher education, healthcare, manufacturing, and defense. He emphasized neutral host, a “killer” application that solves in-building connectivity issues often seen in healthcare facilities, and that opens the door to further digital transformation opportunities.


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