5G wireless networks have been touted as a game changer for a number of different industries—healthcare, education, retail and more. It’s impact is expected to be felt everywhere from office buildings to factory floors. Despite the hype, and 5G’s promise of faster speeds and lower latency, there’s still some hesitation among businesses when it comes to using the fifth generation of wireless.
Privacy remains a big concern for companies
According to a recent Accenture survey, 68 percent of the 2,600 respondents, which included business and tech decision makers in 12 industries throughout Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific, said they think 5G will help make their businesses more secure, Inc. reports. However, 69 percent also said user privacy was their biggest concern surrounding 5G.
Their worry in part comes from close to 75 percent of business leaders believe deploying more 5G devices will increase the likelihood of data breaches. Every device that’s connected to a network is another potential vulnerability point that’s created.
“The 5G ecosystem will be larger and more complex than previous generations of networks,” Accenture Network Services Global Managing Director Amol Phadke said. “It will include multiple vendors, multiple service providers, and multiple means of accessing networks and devices. In this new, more complex ecosystem, the protection of users’ proﬁles—for both human and machine users—will require a more granular access control policy.”
Approximately 200 million 5G smartphones could be sold in 2020, according to analysts. That figure does not include other solutions that will likely be on 5G networks like smart home devices, manufacturing systems, supply chain tools and medical devices. If companies plan to use 5G to connect and streamline their communications and processes, they’ll have to rethink how they protect those systems.
“Preventing user identity theft, privacy violations, and new types of fraud scenarios will require designing a secure approach to user identity management and defining a new trust model that considers all involved parties,” Phadke Inc.
Enterprises want to know 5G will be worth the investment
Any innovation requires an investment and businesses who embrace 5G want to make they’re getting a return on theirs. Four out of five of Accenture’s survey respondents said they believe the cost of managing their IT infrastructure and applications will increase with a 5G network. Enterprises will likely be on the lookout for 5G use cases to see that the network is making a significant difference in other businesses’ operations—and bottom line.
“None of these challenges are insurmountable, particularly with the support of the right partners and expert advisers,” the study said. “After all, an impressive 90 percent of businesses believe they can ultimately identify the business opportunity 5G presents. The trick here is turning opportunity into tangible outputs, and identifying what needs to happen in order to achieve this goal.”
Many enterprises will seek outside help to deploy 5G
Security and cost are at the top of many businesses’ concerns list when it comes to 5G. If those hurdles can be cleared however, there are still issues like lack of understanding and internal skill gaps that might make enterprises hesitant to switch to 5G. A little more than 72 percent of Accenture’s survey respondents said they think they will need help to imagine the future of possibilities for connected solutions with 5G. Meanwhile, a majority of respondents said they will look for outside help to develop solutions to unlock 5G’s potential—43 percent expect to work with partners to develop these solutions while 42 percent anticipate going into the market and getting solutions that are 5G-ready.
In terms of who enterprises will work with, 44 percent said they are most likely to work with software and services companies and least likely to work with service providers like telecom companies to develop new capabilities.
Although some companies are hesitant to embrace 5G, they are not blind to the network’s capabilities. It just might take some convincing to help them fully see the light.
“It’s clear that global businesses recognize the huge potential of 5G, and many are ready and waiting to take advantage in the early years of the new decade,” Accenture said in its study. “But there are also barriers to jump (and complex issues to grapple with) before 5G can truly become a vehicle for business growth and innovation. And while early-adopters are showing positive signs, these hurdles loom all the larger for those not yet using 5G extensively.
“Organizations that want to lead the 5G race have many decisions to make. From feasibility issues to priority use cases, new business models and device strategies, organizations must negotiate a world of operational complexity while keeping on top of costs. The right strategy – and indeed, strategic partnerships – will be vital. With this in place, businesses will be well primed to define their 5G vision—and then accelerate its journey to reality.”