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The 5G Factor: AT&T and Northrop Grumman, Intel Lockheed, DOD $600M for 5G Testbeds, HPE RAN Automation, Mavenir and Aspire, Qualcomm and O-RAN, Cisco and Verizon
by Shelly Kramer and Ron Westfall | April 26, 2022

In this episode of The 5G Factor, a Futurum Tech Webcast series devoted to all things 5G, I’m joined by my colleague and fellow analyst Ron Westfall for a look at what’s happening across the 5G ecosystem that most caught our attention.

Our conversation today covered:

Collab Between AT&T and Northrop Grumman Aims to Power IoT for the DoD. The collaboration for a joint research and development initiative between AT&T and Northrop Grumman, focused on powering the IoT for the Department of Defense and developing a digital battle network.

Intel and Lockheed partner to bring 5G Solutions to the DoD. The partnership between Intel and Lockheed Martin isn’t a new one, but they’ve now extended what is a decade long partnership with a new agreement that focuses on how their collaboration helps fulfill security requirements as it relates to the Department of Defense and the U.S. Military.

The DoD Awards $600M to AT&T, Ericsson, Nokia and Others for 5G Testbeds. Seeing a theme here? You’re not alone. 5G is a huge area of focus for the DoD and this $600 award to a variety of vendors is earmarked for the development of 5G testbeds as part of the DoD’s somewhat new 5G strategy, first released in May of 2020.

HPE RAN automation solution. Geared toward multi-vendor management and also supporting both open and closed, or proprietary, RAN implementations, HPE’s RAN automation solution solves a big problem for a lot of customers.

Mavenir and Aspire Technology accelerate the testing of Open RAN compliant radios with a lab in Europe. The demand for integrated, high performing Open Radio Access Networks is accelerating rapidly, being driven by CSPs who are focused on transforming their business operations to better meet customer needs — and transitioning to compete in the world of 5G. Network modernization, coverage expansion projects, private networks and indoor projects are all part of what’s driving this. That’s why the partnership between Mavenir and Aspire Technology here is a hot topic.

Qualcomm’s Efforts in Providing Security Requirements and Best Practices for the O-RAN Alliance. Speaking of O-RAN and the O-RAN Alliance, we explored Qualcomm’s contribution as part of the O-RAN Alliance task force as it relates to helping to define best practices and security requirements.

Cisco and Verizon demo exciting autonomous driving solutions in Vegas. Cisco and Verizon recently demonstrated at an event in Vegas that cellular and mobile compute tech can enable autonomous driving solutions without the use of roadside units to extend radio signals, which have long been relied on. We explored what a great step forward this is for autonomous driving solutions and how this kind of technology will provide a significant assist to cities, infrastructure providers, and app devs who work with autonomous vehicles.

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Transcript:

Shelly Kramer: Hello, and welcome to this episode of The 5G Factor. I’m your host, Shelly Kramer. I’m joined by my colleague and fellow analyst here at Futurum Research, Ron Westfall. And again, this is The 5G Factor. This is a production of the Futurum Tech Webcast and this is our show where we talk about all things 5G. With that, hello, Ron, my amigo. It’s always great to see you.

Ron Westfall: Oh, you bet, Shelly, and I’m just looking forward to talking about all these hot 5G topics. It’s just astonishing how they’re just keeping us so busy with so many great things to talk about and analyze.

Shelly Kramer: Absolutely, absolutely. So much going on. With that, we’re going to dive right into, the first thing that we’re going to talk about briefly is a collaboration between AT&T and Northrop Grumman and it’s all centered on helping to power IOT for the Department of Defense. And we’ve got a lot going on as it relates to 5G and the Department of Defense, which I think is really exciting. So this was a couple weeks ago, AT&T and Northrop Grumman announced a joint research and development initiative. It’s about developing a digital battle network to help support the US Department of Defense, and it’ll be powered by AT&T’s 5G capabilities and by Northrop Grumman’s advanced mission systems. With all things that are happening in the world today, including what’s going on in Ukraine, I think there’s a big focus on defense initiatives and making sure that our defense spending makes sense and we’re doing things that are important.

This partnership is all about helping, as I said, the DOD develop a digital battle network, and connecting a network of sensors and shooters and data from all different domain areas, terrains and military forces, high speed, low latency, cyber security protection, all of this is afforded by 5G networks, and it also provides flexibility and scalability that are needed in supporting the DOD’s joint all-domain command and control initiatives and the joint forces, as you might expect, include the air force, the army, the marines, Space Force, and they also partner with our allies. And that, I think, is the impetus behind connecting the joint forces as one, and creating an effective technologically advanced joint, all-domain command and control unit. So I think that was exciting news and I think we, as I mentioned at the beginning, this is definitely not the first of these kinds of initiatives that we’re going to see and it’s something that’s much needed.

Ron Westfall: Oh, I agree completely, Shelly. And I think it’s integral for national security to have this holistic approach to a 5G, and how it’s going to play a role in, for example, Department of Defense initiatives, let alone US military and US military and allied initiatives. Certainly, the Russia-Ukraine conflicts definitely crystallizes the importance today, it’s always been important, but it’s definitely become elevated. And I think there are a couple highlights from this partnership that I think merit attention, is that the Nellis Air Force Base in Southern Nevada, AT&T’s setting a fixed wireless access for command and control capabilities. And so I think this is definitely a further validation that fixed wireless access is truly a bonafide application that’s going to be playing a major part in how 5G is rolled out, how it’s adopted and how service providers will market 5G.

And also it will play a key role in bridging the digital divide, because as we know, fixed wireless access can reach the hard to reach customers who are currently using, for example, copper connections, and thus have limited access. So all this is good news. And I think, yes, it’s amazing how the military and the Department of Defense excels at acronyms and long descriptions, but what’s also important here is that as part of the National Spectrum Consortium, or the NSC, and this is enabling the majority of contract selections that are being made with the Defense Department to be broader, that is, it’s diversifying and allowing quite simply more selection. And so this is certainly, I think, integral again, to what 5G is supposed to be about, an open ecosystem, that’s enabling more suppliers, more developers, more innovators and so forth to play a role in how 5G can be optimized and it gets no more higher stake than a military applications.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah.

Ron Westfall: And it’s running parallel to, I think, another recent announcement pretty much along these lines is the Intel, Lockheed Martin partnership. And there it’s, again, supporting the 5G.MIL program that Lockheed Martin has developed. Intel and Lockheed Martin have been working on this for over a decade and they basically refresh their alliance to tackle very specific issues such as the Open Systems Interoperable and Reconfigurable Solutions Program that Lockheed Martin supports, so that’s OSIRIS, and also supporting State-of-the-art Heterogeneous Integrated Packaging Program, or SHIP. So this is definitely a ship that’s sailing in terms of 5G proving its value and supporting military applications. And I think what’s also interesting here is that Intel obviously is an integrated device manufacturer, that is, they operate their own fabs here in the US or in other parts that are allied with the US.

And I think obviously the military values this and this very much also part of why the supply chain is getting so much crystallized focus, is now we understand that this is something that can’t be taken for granted. You want to minimize disruptions because of geopolitical factors let alone natural disasters and so forth. And to that end, Intel has doubled down or more than that, actually with IDM 2.0 where they’re investing over $20 billion in Ohio just to build a new fab to support these types of applications. So this is all really positive momentum indicating why 5G is so important to national security and supply chain priorities.

Shelly Kramer: I was thinking about this earlier when I was getting ready for the show. And I was thinking about, I feel like what we’re seeing right now is, we had this huge shift to embrace digital transformation journeys and accelerate digital transformation journeys with the advent of a global pandemic. And I think that what we’re seeing with the Russia-Ukraine conflict and other things that are going on in the world is that we’re seeing a rapid shift in terms of that same kind of transformational effort on the part of the military across the board, working to really expedite things that might have been nice to have in times of relative peace. But in times of when we don’t know what’s going to happen in terms of this particular conflict and how that might escalate and that sort of thing. So I think that that’s what we’re seeing, we’re seeing this massive shift to really put into practice what 5G can do for the military and I think that’s interesting. That’s good for 5G, right?

Ron Westfall: No doubt, yeah. It’s definitely momentum for the entire ecosystem and this will encourage more service providers to, I think, ramp up 5G standalone deployments and so forth, to be able to take advantage of the programmability and other capabilities that come with that and the military is definitely, I think, setting a good precedent for the entire ecosystem. We’ve seen this before with the very invention of the internet. So, this is, I think, laying the confidence, the groundwork for accelerated adoption and deployments.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah, I like it. So on the topic, we got one last Department of Defense related bit of 5G news, and that is in a $600 million award to AT and T, Ericsson, Nokia and others for 5G test beds. And so the Department of Defense awarded contracts totaling about $600 million, earmarked specifically for 5G test beds. I mentioned Ericsson, Nokia, AT and T, Federated Wireless, Samsung is another one, there’s a handful of other vendors involved in there. It’s all about developing test beds as part of the DOD’s, somewhat new 5G strategy, which was first released in May of 2020, so a couple years ago. The DOD announced during the middle part of last year that they were going to double down on 5G-related prototyping proposals. And these are aimed at developing 5G test beds at seven new military sites. And this brings the total number of military sites today, testing and experimenting with 5G to about 12.

Obviously, the DOD believes that 5G is a critical, strategic technological element and also it’s believed. And I don’t think this, I mean, I think this is a given, not just a belief, but that nations who master advanced comms technologies and ubiquitous connectivity will have a long-term economic and military advantage, we know that to be true. So the overall strategy here is designed to ensure that the DOD leads in key areas of power competition and lethality, that’s great, I want to lead in lethality, right? But it’s important and to ensure 5G’s impact on the battle network of the future. And this has been challenging for the government though because they’ve not typically engaged with the governance bodies who have set mobile wireless industry standards.

It’s still a relatively new space with security protocols and spectrum policies and standards that are still being debated, international standards and best policies. So it’s kind of a wild west out there as it relates to all things 5G, which is interesting challenges and in this, the strategic objectives of the DOD are pretty simple though, advancing US and partner 5G capabilities, promoting awareness of the 5G risks to national security and developing approaches to protect 5G infrastructure. All of which is pretty important. So this group that I mentioned is the first group that was just selected as part of this request for prototyping proposal issued by the DOD, a second group will be decided in the future.

As I said, these test beds are located on different military bases, they’re focused on different aspects of 5G. Some of them are focused on things like AR and VR for mission planning and control, 5G-enabled smart warehouses, distributed command and control using 5G to assist in airspace and cyberspace lethality, enabling military systems to share spectrum with commercial 5G users and that’s kind of a big deal and other things. AT and T is providing connectivity at some of those facilities. Samsung’s testbed is focused on mid-band spectrum. Federated Wireless is going to use open standards and equipment for a testbed with indoor and outdoor coverage. AT&T is setting up fixed 5G services, you just mentioned the importance of that, and ultimately shifting to mobile. Another test bed of AT and T’s involves a focus on logistical ops and how quickly 4G and 5G networks can be stood up, important on a battlefield. Nokia’s testbed is using a combination of open standards architecture and traditional, Ericsson is testing 5G infrastructure for sensing capabilities combined with machine learning and 5G spectrum aggregation. Nokia and Ericsson are also working together on spectrum sharing between airborne military radar systems and commercial 5G cellular users in a certain band.

All said, there’s a lot going on as it relates to the Department of Defense 5G, the many vendors who are immersed in this space and people that we talk about here all the time, but I think there’s a really lot of exciting things happening.

Ron Westfall: Oh yeah, this definitely sharpens again, why the 5G ecosystem is well-suited for this type of program. And in fact, yes, the fixed wireless access capabilities, again, the Department of Defense is emphasizing that because of its deployment flexibility. And that’s something that’s going to be very important when you’re talking about the need to improvise, for example, headquarters and mass units and whatever else might be required. And I think it’s also demonstrating that there’s an emphasis on OpenRAN capabilities. That is something that the DOD is obviously in sync with in terms of the major operators. And I think this is just definitely putting together what we touched on already, that the Department of Defense is definitely going to leverage all these different suppliers and broaden the scope of companies that can a bid on all of these types of projects and definitely have the cream rise to the top type scenarios. And so what’s not to like? It’s I think, again, that proof positive that 5G is going to be a key factor, not just in terms of national security supply chain, but also in our daily lives. All the takeaways from this type of partnership, again, highlighting why the ecosystem is ready to play and ready to go when it comes to these priorities.

Shelly Kramer: Well, and it’s exciting because it’s jobs, it’s innovation, it’s exciting applications of technology. It’s many, many steps forward in so many instances. So it really is a super exciting time and we see this because we’re immersed in this space on a daily basis, but you know, to the ordinary average listener, maybe that’s not something that you see. But again, to me to see these exciting initiatives and the partnerships that are happening between global organizations and people, really pushing up their sleeves and the best in the brightest minds in the world working on some of these initiatives, I think that’s exciting and we know how transformational 5G is and will be. And so it’s cool to see some of these things starting to play out in terms of testing and opportunities and funding and all of that sort of thing.

So with that, we’re going to shift to the do ran ran ran. I think you said that earlier, Ron, the thing about it is, it just ages us. It just ages us that we refer to a song that is so old, that is actually probably older than we are, I don’t know, you know what I’m saying? We kind of know it because maybe our parents… But anyway, yeah, it’s kind of scary because I’m sure there’s a whole lot of people having no idea what the heck we’re talking about, but anyway, I’ll be happy to include a link to the song in the show notes, but anyway, we’re going to shift and we’re going to talk about some exciting news as it relates to RAN solutions and implementations. I think you’re the first thing we’re going to talk about is HPE’s RAN on automation solution, which is exciting because it’s all about multi-vendor management, I think, which is tremendously important, solving a big problem for a lot of customers. Let’s hear more about it.

Ron Westfall: Right on, that definitely tees it up. HPE just made an announcement for their HPE RAN automation solution. And it’s definitely aligning with the O-RAN initiatives to provide extra levels of confidence, extra levels of assurance for carrier to be able to deploy OpenRAN that goes beyond the 3GPP specs, and this is needed, obviously. This is something you just can’t rely on just the 3GPP to provide all this capability. And what HPE is capitalizing on is the fact when it comes to OpenRAN implementations and the fact that they have to be aligned with traditional RAN implementations, this is something that’s going to take many years. It will be probably a couple more years before OpenRAN implementations represented a double-digit percentage of the overall RAN market, for example. And so that’s definitely requires I think a purpose-built solution that can take advantage of cloud data capabilities and these other emerging capabilities, such as orchestration and so forth to enable a multi-vendor optimization.

And that’s something that’s really limited with the traditional RAN networks and OpenRAN definitely creates this opportunity for more flexibility in these areas. But the reality is it has to also account for the traditional RAN implementations and how to best blend the two in terms of advancing and overall say open 5G architecture. So that, I think, is a differentiator for this solution. It also is offering table state capabilities that any solution of this nature has to offer that has zero touch management capabilities, cloud native design, obviously, and so forth.

And so what I think is going to help drive this, is that it’s a key part of HPE’s OpenRAN Solution Stack and though that solution is a purpose design for telco server application. So this is really definitely taking a strategic view as to how a telco can optimize their OpenRAN implementations while also doing investment protection for the existing technology. And this includes full cycle support of virtual DU and virtual CU capabilities. There’s just no way around that, you definitely need full cycle management of these virtualized disaggregated assets in order to make sure that you’re getting optimal performance, but also optimal return on your OpenRAN investments. And also being able to dynamically configure radio frequency parameters and so forth. And again, this is supporting what can be called SMO, Service Management Orchestration capabilities.

Shelly Kramer: Because we need another acronym.

Ron Westfall: Yes, exactly.

Shelly Kramer: We need the more, the world we live in.

Ron Westfall: Has complied in that regard. And so hopefully SMO rollout won’t be slow. It’ll be definitely something that will receive, I think, broad acceptance amongst the major operators and the overall 5G ecosystem, including midsize operators and so forth. And the final thing that I think is important is that the announcement’s also emphasizing like in the Department of Defense initiatives, the role of AI in ML, that is obviously going to be essential in order to automate things like full cycle management, orchestration, et cetera, all of these capabilities that are required for a successful OpenRAN alone, open 5G network implementation requires that technology to provide both the automation and also the intelligence to do things like preventative maintenance, proactive monitoring and so forth. That will be key for these emerging 5G networks.

Shelly Kramer: Absolutely, so speaking of the importance of high-performing open radio access networks, we know the need for, the demand for integrated OpenRAN networks is quickly accelerating, being driven by communication services providers and they’re focusing on things like network modernization and coverage expansion projects and private networks. A lot of CSPs aren’t sitting around right now, they are essentially rebuilding their businesses in order to succeed and thrive in the age of 5G. So, all of these things, network modernization, coverage expansion, private networks, indoor project are all driving this and so what we’re going to talk about next is a partnership between Mavenir and Aspire technology to accelerate the testing of OpenRAN compliant radios with a lab in Europe. So I know you have a little bit more background on that, let’s hear it.

Ron Westfall: Yeah, this is an exciting partnership. And one that we definitely addressed in terms of providing a perspective. What I think is an important takeaway here is that it’s supporting the 7.2 interface specification. And what’s important about that particular specification is that it’s enabling multi-vendor front hall interfaces between the remote radio unit and the distributed unit. And why that’s important is the fact that obviously it’s supporting the virtualization of RAN technology, it pretty much goes hand-in-hand with that. But again, that multi-vendor aspect, the ability of a CSP to take advantage of that rich 5G ecosystem being able to have a lot more flexibility than a traditional RAN implementation to pick and choose who they want to partake in their 5G deployments. And what is, I think key also, is that this ensures the control, data, the management and synchronization planes are clearly defined and accepted. And that’s something I think that the O-RAN alliance is obviously keen on having is the fact that this is not just something that’s in a test lab, it’s something that out in the field is going to be able to enter work on a very rapid basis. It’s something that’s not going to be stalled out in 12 months of testing and validation so forth.

And to that end as Aspire’s Open Network Labs is definitely set up for this, to enable all these different players, including obviously Mavenir, but any other vendor out there that’s going to support a remote radio unit that wants to gain rapid acceptance or at least rapid consideration, here is your ticket to do that. And the reason why I think this has impetus is I think it’s interesting that Aspire Technologies is based in Dublin, Europe, and that the O-RAN Alliance, at least certainly the heavyweight operators that are a part of it that are based in Europe, that is Orange, Deutsche Telecom, Telecom Italia, Vodafone, and Telefónica are all lobbying for the EU to embrace OpenRAN technology strategically, not just in principle. And that means, for example, they’re recommending that the European Commission set up a European Alliance for next generation infrastructure that pretty much aligns with that it’s already been set up for cloud and semiconductor technologies, for example. And the reason why this is important is that they are wanting to take advantage of the fact that governments throughout the EU are viewing OpenRAN as fulfilling some very important objectives that are pretty much parallel what we talked about, the Department of Defense initiatives, that is the national security, being able to have more supply chain stability, and also being able to quite simply, have more opportunity to develop domestic sources for 5G technology.

So it’s also about job creation, but again, having more confidence that what 5G technology is deployed, it’s definitely going to be safer. It’s going to be more reliable than say working with a party that is based in China, for example, a company, the traditional RAN deployments. So I think this is definitely drawing stark contrast as to where the priorities are going and as a result, follow the investments and this is going to be important. And so I think Mavenir and Aspire technologies are definitely setting themselves up to be able to support this and also capitalize on this opportunity.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah, absolutely. We’re going to touch one more time briefly on all things O-RAN, this time, as it relates to the O-RAN Alliance, which you mentioned earlier, and we’re going to talk a little bit about Qualcomm’s contribution as part of the O-RAN Alliance task force, as it relates to helping define best practices and security requirements and so just a tiny bit of background the O-RAN security focus group was formed to conduct a deep threat analysis on each bit of O-RAN software and hardware component at interface and evaluate the impacts of identified threats to ensure the right security measures are being put into place to keep O-RAN secure and it is no surprise that Qualcomm has a leadership role as it relates to this. So I don’t remember if this is something that you covered for the Futurum blog or not Ron, but maybe let’s chat a little bit about the security challenges that OpenRAN faces and other same security challenges that today’s RAN and other virtualized architectures face. So all things, disaggregation of functions, an increased threat service, lots of things, but let’s talk a little bit, what are your thought? And again, I don’t remember if you covered this in a research note or not.

Ron Westfall: Well, I did cover definitely Qualcomm’s contributions to advancing 3GPP standard processes. And that is specifically related to the recent completion of Release 17. And that definitely entails the ability to expand network typology, to support a broader range of 5G capabilities that are definitely going to be important in elevating use cases. And this is pretty much in parallel to this. This is out the O-RAN security groups advancement of 5G security specifically. And you definitely tee it up, Shelly, what is going on here is that in order for these diverse deployment scenarios to become more secure, it requires streamline orchestration and placing the intelligence and processing where it’s needed most. Again, it’s that optimization capability. And I think one thing that definitely needs more clarity is, oh, well, openness, OpenRAN, or open 5G, doesn’t that create more security risk, that is it’s increasing the attack surface? And isn’t that something that is a trade off from say, than a traditional black box implementations? And I think what Qualcomm is emphasizing here is no, it does not.

In fact, what it’s offering is the fact that because that there is this openness, that there’s a vast ecosystem of developers, it’s just quite simply a broader range of people that can be brought in to take care of or preempt any security concerns that come with open 5G implementations. And so this is, I think, something that seems slightly counterintuitive, but it’s not. It’s the fact that if you have a closed system, that means there’s just less flexibility, that there’s less ability for those suppliers to be able to ward off hackers when you have a much broader range of developers and contributors and suppliers that can tackle the very same issue.

So in other words, quantity matters. It helps the quality, quantity can be its own quality when it comes to O-RAN’s security. And so this is definitely lining with the fact that the O-RAN security focus group is conducting deep threat analysis on every single O-RAN software and hardware component and interface.

Shelly Kramer: That’s awesome.

Ron Westfall: And so the more the barrier in this case, and this is something that they are taking very seriously, obviously, you can’t have OpenRAN and open 5G implementations where there’s a security question mark. And so I think Qualcomm is definitely making a big contribution here just like they did with the recent completion of Release 17 and it sets them up to, again, be a major player with say Release 18 and 5G advanced capabilities, which relies a lot more on AI ML engines, for example, that’s more baked into the standards, and this is something again that AI and ML can be enlisted to strengthen 5G security in, again, in standalone implementations and OpenRAN or any open component within the entire 5G network. So this is definitely something that is going to be a difference maker and that’s why it’s just left out and in parallel the note that I wrote about, again, Qualcomm support for Release 17 capabilities.

Shelly Kramer: Was, incredibly timely. We are going to drive away on the last segment of this show with… This is what happens to me when I hang out with Ron, because Ron is always bringing the clever sayings and headlines and everything else. So I do feel like he throws the gauntlet down and I’m required to try to pick it up on a regular basis. So we’re going to drive away on the last segment of this show with news out of Cisco and Verizon, as it relates to autonomous driving solution.

So we’re going to talk here, this is all about the connectivity for IOT applications powered by cellular and innovation as it relates to connected transportation and streamlined architecture and Cisco and Verizon recently demonstrated at an event in Vegas that cellular and mobile compute tech can enable autonomous driving solutions without, this is so exciting, without the use of roadside units to extend radio signals, which has long been the case.

So according to Cisco and Verizon, their demo tests have proven that Verizon’s LTE network and public 5G edge with AWS Wavelength, paired with Cisco catalyst R-101 routers and connected infrastructure can meet the latency thresholds that are needed for autonomous driving apps. Factoring out those roadside radios on this front is good in a number of ways, it makes them simpler, faster, less expensive. This solution is simpler, faster, less expensive than the roadside units, more efficient, they’re more reliable.

And this is important because it brings, and sometimes I feel like for ordinary average people, it feels like, are we living in the age of The Jetsons? And the answer, again, dating us because we grew up watching The Jetsons, but the answer is yes. And so we’re going to see, and we already do see unmanned delivery bots and we’re go… But this kind of technology brings the opportunity to do more things like robo taxis, unmanned delivery bots, more of them. It will also provide a significant assist to cities and infrastructure providers and app developers who work with autonomous vehicles. So this is a really exciting step forward as it relates to autonomous driving solutions and what Cisco and Verizon here are doing together, I think, is exciting as well and I don’t know if that news passed your radar screen in the last couple of weeks, Ron, but I know we’ve talked a little bit about how exciting it is to be able to do away with those roadside radio units.

Ron Westfall: Well, I think you got basically all the thunder. Yes, I did definitely issue a research note on it because of the very reasons you highlighted, Shelly. And what I think is very important is, yes, it’s definitely boosting the autonomous driving use case, being able to streamline the gear that has to be out there to support it. And so this is definitely a win for the entire autonomous driving ecosystem.

Shelly Kramer: Absolutely.

Ron Westfall: Now, obviously there’s the operator, Verizon, Cisco, a key supplier partner, but obviously to any manufacturer out there that’s targeting this. So this is aligning with all the initiatives that are going on with EVs and definitely making cars more intelligent and smart, i.e. as Elon Musk eloquently put it, a computer on wheels, is basically what we’re trending toward and I think, yeah, the apps are really cool. We’re already seeing them, but this is going to, I think, enable these applications, these use cases to become more confidently deployed again, that word confidence. And obviously it’s the Robo taxis. We see them in places like Las Vegas and San Francisco being trialed and being more prepared for market readiness.

But where I think is even, equal opportunity is with fleets again, absolutely that last mile bot, I think it’ll be where you have predictable routes, where you can really battle test that okay, if we can support a ton of vehicles where there’s pretty much a more or less controlled environment, I guess you can say, that I think will definitely boost the ecosystem support and so forth. And it’s also important for on-ramp, off-ramp safety. So this is tying into what I pointed out, smart cities, critical infrastructure, public safety and public safety definitely is ranking up there for why 5G? It definitely lines with, again, the national security initiatives and so forth. So yeah, this is, I think, something that what’s the imagination? You’re like, okay, why am I interested in 5G? If you’re not a gamer, maybe it’s not so interesting, but hey, everybody out there almost has vehicles and definitely has needs for deliveries or whatever else, certainly public safety across the board. And so, there’s your answer, this is something that’s society wide.

Shelly Kramer: And yeah, 5G is going to touch every aspect of our lives, whether… And your example was a good one. I’m not a gamer, who cares? 5G already is impacting our lives in many ways, whether we realize it, we go to a stadium that’s 5G-enabled and have a different experience than we might have otherwise had, concerts, cities, all just so many things and the internet of things, we’re surrounded by sensors everywhere we go. That’s only going to multiply times millions in a very short period of time. So absolutely, but it’s seeing exciting things like this and the use cases that are really things that ordinary average people will experience not that far in the future.

So I think it’s interesting and exciting and I loved what Cisco and Verizon were doing here in terms of factoring out those roadside radios is a great big step forward, so power to them for that, and with that, we’re going to wrap our show, we’re going to wrap The 5G Factor for today. Thank you for joining us. As always, if you haven’t yet hit the Subscribe button, whether you’re watching on YouTube or listening on your favorite streaming platform, be sure and hit the Subscribe button. We cover a lot of these topics in our research notes on the Futurum website. So I’ll include links to our coverage in the show notes there. If you haven’t yet subscribed to the Futurum blog, I suggest that you do because you will be receiving all the news, all the important tech news right in your inbox on a daily basis. So with that, my friend and co-host and colleague, thank you for hanging out with me and until next week.

Ron Westfall: You bet.

About the Authors

Shelly Kramer is a Principal Analyst and Founding Partner at Futurum Research. A serial entrepreneur with a technology centric focus, she has worked alongside some of the world’s largest brands to embrace disruption and spur innovation, understand and address the realities of the connected customer, and help navigate the process of digital transformation. She brings 20 years' experience as a brand strategist to her work at Futurum, and has deep experience helping global companies with marketing challenges, GTM strategies, messaging development, and driving strategy and digital transformation for B2B brands across multiple verticals. Shelly's coverage areas include Collaboration/CX/SaaS, platforms, ESG, and Cybersecurity, as well as topics and trends related to the Future of Work, the transformation of the workplace and how people and technology are driving that transformation. A transplanted New Yorker, she has learned to love life in the Midwest, and has firsthand experience that some of the most innovative minds and most successful companies in the world also happen to live in “flyover country.”

Ron is an experienced research expert and analyst, with over 20 years of experience in the digital and IT transformation markets. He is a recognized authority at tracking the evolution of and identifying the key disruptive trends within the service enablement ecosystem, including software and services, infrastructure, 5G/IoT, AI/analytics, security, cloud computing, revenue management, and regulatory issues. Read Full Bio.