The discussion surrounding network virtualization has shifted recently from replacing boxes to optimizing customer experience. In the emerging 5G era, service providers are already looking for methods to monetize 5G's unique characteristics, which puts both virtualization and monetization into focus. There are many ways in which adopting SDN/NFV can translate into customer experience benefits. Here are three examples that stand out as service providers examine the use cases that will turn 5G technology into thriving business opportunities.
5G will drive services that are viral, event-driven and bandwidth-hungry. If we learned anything from the Pokémon Go fad, it's that augmented reality (AR) games can become incredibly popular and profitable for a short period of time. Immersive entertainment experiences that feature AR are the next step beyond Pokémon Go. Their unpredictable but bandwidth-intensive nature will need the dynamic capabilities of SDN/NFV within the 5G network to deliver seamless, uninterrupted customer experiences.
Imagine you're a major shipping company. Your clients need their supplies to be delivered on time. Meanwhile, your stakeholders need to know the status of shipments at all times, and they demand evidence that your bill of lading or manifest is accurate. To fulfill these requests, you need an automated way to collect massive amounts of data, as well as a reliable approach to transmit and store that information securely for multiple parties with different regulations. The process needs to work flawlessly from start to finish and be readily available. SDN/NFV not only provides the dynamic and secure networking needed, but it also enables the API-driven mashups that will automate the process and deliver files to the clouds and apps that customers and stakeholders require to run their business processes successfully.
In emergency medical situations, every second counts. Automated emergency defibrillators (AEDs) have become common in public places, saving countless lives. But there's no substitute for a first responder who knows how to perform CPR, use an AED or stabilize an injured person. Miniature medical devices like AEDs, pulse-ox meters and digital thermometers can provide vital information in critical moments. And when these devices are moved into a 5G world, that data can be transmitted with video to a trained professional who can guide untrained first responders remotely until help arrives. SDN/NFV can provide the means to zero-touch automate the 5G VNFs and private network slices that transmit, synchronize, sustain and secure medical interactions and related data dynamically.
To build up to this vision of a 5G customer experience, service providers can focus in the near term on commercializing virtualized services and monetizing the first wave of advanced 5G network capabilities.
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