By Sean Kinney
Thursday, June 10 Verizon Business announced its new private 5G network offering, On Site 5G, which is being marketed to large enterprises and public sector customers. When combined with related technologies like the internet of things, mobile edge computing, and machine learning/artificial intelligence, private 5G networks are being billed as part and parcel of powering broad enterprise digital transformation and enabling the Industry 4.0 era.
In an interview with Enterprise IoT Insights, Verizon Business Chief Revenue Officer Sowmyanarayan Sampath described On Site 5G as “a continuation of our network-as-a-service theme. We expect customers to tell us what they want solved and leave all the complexity to us. We’ll go source, procure, project manage, deploy…and then run it. It’s pretty much an end-to-end service.”
According to Verizon Business, On Site 5G will use the company’s trove of millimeter wave spectrum and be configured as a non-standalone 5G network meaning a 5G RAN will be connected to an LTE core. In press materials the company characterized On Site 5G as “a scalable, customizable platform” that can support massive IoT, AI/ML, AR/VR, and real-time analytics.
Sampath said the company has a roadmap to evolve the offering from non-standalone to standalone 5G when the latter “is ready.” He said, “By using NSA we ensure maximum compatibility of devices.”
For the MEC piece, Verizon is working with Amazon Web Services to deliver distributed compute and has Wavelength Zones set up in 10 cities. Sampath said that will grow to 20 by the end of this year and continue to expand from there. “Even with 10 we cover a huge portion of America,” he said. There is no reason why someone won’t be covered by MEC by the end of this year.” He also said the company is prepared to deploy private MEC infrastructure based on what customers want for their businesses.
A running question around telcos selling 5G solutions into verticals has been around leading with use cases and business outcomes that are meaningful to specific industries like ports, logistics, manufacturing, and so forth. Doing this requires a deep understanding of the particular industry meaning the goal would be to sell an outcome rather a technology. Verizon Business Group CEO Tami Erwin has described this as a shift from transactional selling to consultative selling.
Sampath elaborated: “One of the big things we did getting read for this is we had a project called Blueprint for Growth. Fundamentally we changed our go-to-market on enterprise.” This involved an account prioritization and segmentation process and establishment of a 5G and enterprise solutions office, as well as joint go-to-market activities with telecom equipment vendors.
Big picture, he said, “I’m most excited when this gets married with MEC. It’s peanut butter and jelly.” With the combo, “I think you will get real value.”
Another recurring question brought up in private network discussions is around service level agreement adherence for very specific types of use cases demanded by verticals. To this point, Sampath said the focus is on application-level monitoring. “I think that’s where the magic happens. The issue may not all be with the network. It’s rarely with the network.”