Dr Rishi Bhatnagar, President, Aeris Communications

Businesses across industries have been siphoning monies in the 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure. Telecom operators are expected to invest approximately $275 billion in 5G infrastructure in the coming years (Accenture), which will be a radical step in the type of connectivity solutions available to enterprises. The essential highlight of this investment towards the betterment of 5G technology is the efficiency achieved in the business model. A significant question for enterprise owners and decision-makers is how they can utilise 5G to improve operational efficiency?

The amalgamation of IoT and 5G technologies have just started to change the world and have powered billions of additional devices to connect to the web. These technologies are taking over all the industry verticals like education, healthcare, automobile, smart cities, BFSI, etc. From manufacturing, agribusiness, retail, citizen services, and more, IoT will leave no industry immaculate. IoT as a technology has evolved well beyond the industry hype-cycle and leads to maturity as it promises significant value propositions for the government, businesses, and citizens, alike. Embracing the IoT movement and presenting multi-billion-dollar business opportunities is no longer a luxury but a necessity for progressive organisations facing unprecedented business challenges. With the COVID-19 pandemic, technology adoption has accelerated, especially IoT-based solutions that enable remote asset monitoring and control across industries. With 5G, the world will see a further surge in connected devices, generating 1000x higher mobile data volumes, with 5x lower latency than now and newer applications, especially in connected healthcare and remote management solutions with batteries lasting up to 10 years for low-power devices! IoT and 5G applications are being used in everything, from sensors to artificial intelligence to big-data analysis, which makes everything connected and smart.

While all industrial sectors like manufacturing, automobiles, utilities, smart cities, BFSI, and even agriculture are adopting advanced technology; in the Indian context, IoT and 5G together, have a critical role to play in healthcare. The technologies help in increased use of telemedicine as diagnosing patients remotely is not that common yet and, geographical boundaries have become redundant due to telemedicine. Setting up telecom infrastructure in rural areas to increase the reach of Registered Medical Professionals using teleHealth and mHealth technology  is easier than making specialists live in remote areas on long duration assignments. Telemedicine has great potential in the healthcare sector with the emergence of 5G and IoT services and doctors virtual visits enabled through telemedicine are a game-changer in the light of the fact that physical consultations and OPDs are cancelled due to the COVID scare. In most hospitals across India, tele-calling, video consultations, and doctor on-demand services are now readily available. It can be anticipated that online pharmacy, medicine technology, medical devices, and healthcare data & analytics can flourish even if this virus subdues. A study from Reportlinker predicts that investments for the implementation of IoT solutions in the healthcare sector will drive a 19.9% annual market growth between now and 2025, eventually reaching an estimated $534.3 billion.

Another sector which will be transformed with the advent of 5G is automobiles. 5G is going to play a massive role in developing autonomous vehicles with new car models and heavy vehicles launched with rich features, like, advanced driver assistance system, automatic braking, collision avoidance, lane departure warning, etc. With 5G, automobile players will be able to equip their service fleet with Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) and Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) communication capabilities. In real-time, an automobile will be able to connect to traffic management systems and other cars on the road to determine the safest and most efficient way to navigate a given route, right down to the distance between the vehicle and any obstacles that lie ahead. As part of an integrated traffic system, a fleet vehicle can help the driver anticipate the road in front of them and even decelerate to avoid collisions due to construction or previous accidents using onboard M2M communication. The massive amount of data thus generated needs to be responded to with quick turn-around-time. According to Barclays, an autonomous car could generate 100 gigabytes of data per second. With a response time of less than a millisecond and output of 1 Gigabyte, 5G will be the new definition for speed and connectivity for autonomous vehicles. To bring the rich experience of connected mobility through IoT for vehicle owners, Aeris and Volkswagen entered into a joint venture earlier this year for the development and operations of connected vehicle platform technologies. The IoT based platform expands beyond remote services, vehicle safety, and security. This platform has inherent flexibility, enabling new business models through third-party integration and is foundational for V2X communications.

Enormous operational efficiencies can be achieved in the manufacturing supply chain with IoT and 5G. For business, smart mobility means connected supply chains and connected fleets, which can be tracked and monitored anytime and anywhere in real-time. As supply chains get disrupted, and demand patterns change amidst the COVID-19 lockdown, real-time supply chain visibility is proving to be extremely important. Thus, technologies enabling remote asset access, digital twins, live tracking & tracing tools, workforce collaboration platforms, and smart city data platforms are now mission-critical. Aeris launched the Smart Fleet Platform this year with the industry’s first affordable end-to-end connected platform and telematics solution for the fleet owners. It offers a single platform and comes with unique features to help maximise fleet efficiency and operational excellence. The unique value proposition of this innovative platform lies in its ability to address three of the biggest challenges that fleet owners face – reducing accidents, instances of theft, and improving efficiency.

Enterprise-wide high-speed connectivity is no longer an option for organisations competing on the grounds of innovation and talent. IoT and 5G technology together can enable enterprises to manage everything from marketing intelligence to improved operations, enhanced customer experience, and business excellence. The industry can expect breakneck speed, connectivity, low latency, ubiquitous coverage, and some other notable benefits which would make IoT far more superior and effective than it is now. How each sector and enterprise leverage the competitive advantage brought by IoT and 5G is limited only by their imagination.

The future of enterprise technologies revolves around people, processes, and data. Connecting physical objects, machines, humans, and the broader corporate network allows organisations to maximise resource utilisation and workforce potential as part of the connected enterprise movement. Enterprise connectivity is no longer an option for organisations competing on the grounds of innovation and talent instead of capital investments and existing brand reputation. The Internet of Things levels the playing field for employees and business organisations to deliver the best results as individual and collective entities. How each company leverages the IoT is limited only by their imagination.