5G will have a huge impact on home entertainment by allowing consumers to have more personalised services, writes ZTE FM CTIO Lu Wei

Mobile network technology is continually evolving. We’ve moved from 1G to 2G, 3G to 4G and now to 5G, each faster and more reliable than the previous version, enabling people to do more things with their phone. For example, they can download more box sets, play more online games on-the-go, or stream live streaming in a higher resolution, even in the busiest and crowded places like train stations and stadium.

ZTE- (opinion piece) Lu Wei

ZTE’s Lu Wei: CSPs can become ecosystem orchestrators

As a wireless communication platform, 5G integrates the Internet of things, data center, artificial intelligence and industrial internet to form a complete new-generation information infrastructure. By combining with other new-generation information technologies, 5G is not only enables digital industrialisation and industry digitization, but also helps to modernise social governance and promote the development of a smart society.

In China, the country’s largest communications service provider China Mobile Communications Group recently penned a framework agreement with China Broadcasting Network Corporation, to jointly build a shared fifth-generation wireless communications network. CBNC owns China’s 700MHz frequency band, which has the advantages of low transmission loss, wide coverage, strong penetration and a cheap network. The industry thus deems it the gold standard for construction of the 5G-based networks.

Home has become a new digital hub as important as the mobile device. Connected devices are a great way of streamlining how consumer does things around the home. Wi-Fi 6, known as 802.11ax also provides more speed, lower latency and increased device density in areas, usually indoors and of closer range. While 5G connectivity is suitable for open, mobile and intensive device connections, Wi-Fi 6 is more suitable for home networking and private enterprises, both complement one another greatly.

The home of the future

The future home in the 5G era, enabled by 5G and Wi-Fi 6, cloud, security, AI, edge computing and more, can provide consumers personalised services. The growing number of enabling technologies maturing to a level of quality that will allows them to render the home intelligent, aware, able to understand, anticipate, predict and decide or provide relevant options.

The capabilities of the next generations networks can consolidate access and data traffic from a home into one single wireless transmission channel. Networks play a greater role in the future home, further data control points will evolve directly from the network owned by the communications service providers, which brings the advantage of access and manage the data flows. CSPs can be at the heart of this, if they contribute the essential elements that will make the future home work - relevance, scalability, experience and trust.

Despite the rapid development of the network, the user experience in today’s connected homes are still basic. Technologically, today’s connected homes are held back by too many isolated point-to-point device solutions without overarching orchestration. They can not deliver seamless interconnectivity and interoperability.

Data control

In a future connected home in 5G era, data control points will be on connected devices - set-top-boxes or voice-enabled devices such as smart speakers. They focus not only on connecting devices in the home but on solving a two-sided or even multi-sided problem: for the user, they provide interesting and relevant use-cases wrapped in a customer experience that most people like; at the same time, third-parties can add skills to such assistant devices, so that the range of services can grow steadily. The more data control points there are, the more user transactions a platform owner can enable within their ecosystem, and that means more value.

The appeal to third parties will also be driven by the attractiveness and ease of use provided by the CSP service catalogue to the end user. That includes identity management, service discovery, value-added offerings around service delivery, and the opportunity for continuous learning and feedback from usage. As platform orchestrators CSPs can attract partners by offering a lot of basic services to them. Via their infrastructure control points, they can manage end-user identities when a third-party wants to offer a service on the platform. Due to the rich user data assets they create from studying user behaviour, they can also suggest services to ecosystem partners and add components of service fulfillment, service assurance or service optimisation for a service offered by a third party. Finally, they can provide ecosystem partners with user feedback.

Today, some of the communications service providers have already created their own version of a voice-enabled assistant, in order to handle personal data differently, and to build, orchestrate and coordinate their own connected home around a new value chain of ecosystem partners. Controlling data and its flows show huge opportunities rather than just being an infrastructure provider supplying connectivity. Opening up, controlling and managing data, instead of infrastructure, will allow CSPs to create advanced connected home data management services that hold higher margin value for themselves and trusted partners, and increasingly turn CSPs into very profitable ecosystem orcherstrotors.