We have entered a new year, but a common challenge remains: how can operators differentiate their 5G services, especially as more cloud-based and digital native players enter the market? And, crucially, how can operators monetize 5G – and do so efficiently, with low risk?

While these challenges remain key talking points in the telecom community, great new opportunities have also emerged in the 5G space. This is due to a number of developments in recent years: the liberalization of — and investments in — spectrum, increasing demand for connectivity, growth of IoT and the steady roll-out of private networks and partnerships.

The need for operators to move beyond “dumb pipe” status has long been talked about, with 5G often heralded as the means to do so. The fact that there are still challenges of differentiation and monetization indicates that many telcos need to unlock some of the growth areas in 5G. There’s no better time than the New Year to embark on a new strategy to address these challenges and realize value from 5G to IoT, as there is certainly plenty of value waiting to be unlocked. 2021 was reportedly the year when 4G and 5G IoT connections overtook 2G and 3G as the segment enabling the largest share of IoT applications globally. It comes as no surprise, then, that the 5G IoT market is expected to reach $40 billion by 2026, up from just $1.5 billion in 2020.

So, how can operators get a slice of this market pie? Location technology.

Precise positioning technology can leverage the inherent capabilities of 5G – such as high bandwidth, security and ultra-reliable connectivity – to enable a critical part of the global IoT and enable operators to add massive amounts of new value to their enterprise network deployments .

In the past, location technology (which involved real-time asset positioning and monitoring) was seen as a “nice to have”, just an optional add-on or feature of 5G. This thinking is deeply flawed. It’s not a function; it is a system that is fundamental to the growth and success of IoT and connected propositions of enterprises in many sectors. And by unlocking secure, accurate, global location data for their enterprise customers, operators can gain a competitive advantage by offering something far superior to many of the location technologies in widespread use today.

Locating the Market Opportunity

5G location technology can support the wide range of critical IoT use cases being developed for nearly every sector of the economy, both in private and macro networks. These use cases require supercharged data rates and ultra-low latency to enable reliable, real-time communications. Applications include Industry 4.0/smart factories and factories, telemedicine applications such as robotic surgery and remote diagnostics, drones with video function in disaster areas, safety systems in autonomous cars and automation in utility, mining or agricultural sites.

In addition to improving production and operational efficiency, highly accurate and secure positioning is essential to enable next-generation warehouse technology such as augmented and virtual reality (AR; VR) or robotics. When connected to a private network, embedded with sensors and managed via cloud-based location technology, robot-assisted exoskeletons or autonomous robots can be used in, say, a smart factory or utility company to increase the workforce and add additional capabilities. This includes enabling workers to ‘map’ the factory floor and take virtual action with connected robotics.

The market opportunity for operators is clearly there, allowing them to step out of the “dumb pipe” territory by offering an enhanced, personalized service. However, location technologies are also there and have been used for a number of years.

Finding the ideal positioning technology

The most well-known indoor location technologies are Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. These are typically used in conjunction with wide-area technologies to provide higher accuracy in buildings or urban environments. The short range and low penetration make both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth useless for global positioning. Wi-Fi also requires additional power consumption and security concerns in both private and public networks. In critical IoT environments, where reliable connectivity and positioning can literally mean the difference between life and death, security must not be compromised.

To the outside world, global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) technologies are also widely used to locate assets, including regional approaches such as Galileo, GPS and BeiDou. GNSS provides good outdoor coverage, but is challenged in dense urban and indoor environments where line of sight to satellites is not possible. GNSS technologies also demand battery life – perhaps not an issue for critical use cases such as drones, cars and robots, but increasingly so in other mass IoT IoT scenarios.

Finally, Cell ID. This technology is widely used for asset tracking and falls short as it relies heavily on the device’s communication with and proximity to a base station. Precision varies from 800 meters to several kilometers.

The challenges inherent in technologies like these can be overcome using a single, cost-effective and much better approach. Cloud-based mobile location, powered by Cloud Location over Cellular (C-LoC) technology, is key to unlocking the potential of 5G accurate positioning for operators and their enterprise customers.

Cloud-Based Mobile Location: Enabling Enterprises and Transforming Telcos

Cloud-based mobile location, coupled with 4G/5G and seamless roaming integrated into a WAN, provides highly accurate end-to-end visibility, with X, Y and Z-axis accuracy to the nearest meter provided by 5G private networks and less than three meters accuracy by a public, macro network. Cloud-based mobile location enables accessible, improved in-home accuracy with 5G, and since it resides in the cloud, operators can protect data and eliminate the pain of vendor lock-in for their system integrators and enterprise customers.

What does it look like in action? For example, in a 5G smart factory, C-LoC enables companies to efficiently and cost-effectively enable the use of location-based equipment such as connected robotics or vehicles with an accuracy of less than one meter. In addition, it can facilitate usage scenarios such as high-bandwidth critical applications including AR or VR. In dangerous 5G-critical IoT environments, it is vital that employees can take advantage of improved precision, accuracy and minimal latency.

The business benefits are enormous. But it is what enables C-LoC operators to win that is truly revolutionizing the traditional telecom market. Delivering the most accurate mobile location capability available – plus the capability of data analytics and rich insights – is a true differentiator that will transform operators into next-generation IoT service providers.

This post Why cloud-based mobile location will unlock 5G IoT operator capabilities (Reader Forum)

was original published at “https://www.rcrwireless.com/20220127/opinion/readerforum/location-location-location-why-cloud-based-cellular-location-will-unlock-the-5g-iot-operator-opportunity-reader-forum”