Don’t blink – yes, you read the headline correctly. But just to clarify, we’re not announcing our intention to compete with industry telecom giants like Ericsson, Samsung and Nokia.
Connected everything revolution
Of course, it is an exciting, brand new foundational architecture for the telecom world, but for Dell Technologies, 5G is far more than just a telecom play. We believe it will deliver massive transformational change across all businesses and societies. As a leader in digital transformation, Dell Technologies will help define the underlying infrastructure technology. In other words, we will provide the rocket fuel to power and drive the 5G network revolution, the “connected everything” revolution.
Science fiction comes true
Why is 5G such a pivotal development? As my colleague, Mehdi Sif recently mentioned on this blog, we are anticipating “a new wave of emerging 5G, edge computing, and IoT applications.” 5G will spawn new business models that will see billions of devices consuming and generating data like never before. What used to be imagined in science fiction movies—flying autonomous drones, driverless cars and planes, machine-to-machine interactions, seamless communication around the globe—is quickly becoming our new reality.
Smart factories and smart cities
Meanwhile, existing industries will be able to work smarter. For critical applications, manufacturers currently use fixed-line networks to ensure high bandwidth, connection density, low latency and high reliability. In contrast, mobile 5G technology will enable smart, interconnected factories, allowing manufacturers to more quickly and cost effectively exchange huge volumes of data as well as deploy artificial intelligence (AI) and automation solutions to help make the industry more competitive.
The same goes for smart cities. As many IoT sensors monitoring conditions like air quality and traffic control are likely to be located in difficult-to-reach, often dangerous places, 5G wireless connectivity will allow for more flexible design and on-the-fly reconfiguration.
Network architecture redesign
In turn, all these intelligent applications will generate a slew of new requirements—latency, bandwidth, capacity, coverage, storage, real-time data—which means that the industry will need to completely redesign the entire end-to-end network architecture. The current equipment model for telecom networks will not scale up to 100 times the number of users plus 100 times the volume of data.
Data is everything
This dynamic will force massive transformation across the mobile platform and, as Tom Burns recently outlined on this blog, will require Digital Transformation, IT Transformation, Workforce Transformation, and Security Transformation. We will see new architectural, technical, operational, deployment and support models emerge, all demanding higher speeds and agility at lower cost. Everything will be driven by data and the need to capture, process and react network data in real-time. The result? A massive increase in computing at the Edge, coupled with AI and machine learning.
Next gen OEM solutions
5G will also be the first end-to-end architecture that is fully software defined, from the radio through the core. As the world’s essential infrastructure company, Dell Technologies has successfully mastered software-defined in the data center. And, as the #1 OEM Solutions provider, we are best positioned to deliver the next generation of solutions and support for our telecom partners to extend this concept all the way to the Edge.
We’ve got all the necessary assets: off-the-shelf commercial infrastructure, high-touch engineering, expertise with telecom solutions, ability to customize, the right partners, plus our world-class global support and supply chain. In fact, the OEM approach—especially the hybrid model—is particularly suited for network transformation. In this scenario, the end customer can purchase the infrastructure directly from Dell EMC OEM, based on a detailed specification—effectively a bill of materials—provided by the OEM partner. From an end customer perspective, this has all the advantages of direct procurement, but with the expert input and validation of the OEM partner.
A journey not a sprint
This transformation will not be an overnight sprint or simple upgrade to 5G; think rather a gradual journey towards complete architectural evolution. Dell EMC OEM is already engaged with leading service providers, network and technology vendors, as well as industry standardization bodies. For example, at Mobile World Congress, we’re announcing a validation lab that will showcase how we can integrate third-party applications to develop end-to-end communication solutions.
Time to re-engineer your architecture & partnership model
In summary, my key message to service providers and equipment manufacturers is that hardware and software re-architecture is now critical; the network has to evolve to address these dramatically changing needs. With all these foundational changes happening, you also need to rethink your partnership and procurement models. We can help!
What’s your take on 5G? We’d love to meet you at Mobile World Congress. Come meet the team and discuss the opportunity at Hall 3 Stand 3M11.
 OEM Global Share based on 2016 Dollar Volume Shipments, VDC Research