Key verticals such as healthcare, manufacturing and logistics will drive demand for slicing – but B2B communications services must also adapt and evolve to align with new capabilities and specialised applications.
It’s been a while coming but there are strong signs that network slicing is set to take off in the next decade, ushering in a new wave of highly optimised services. One of the key advantages that slicing offers is the ability to create dedicated virtual networks with specific performance and QoS capabilities – thereby supporting specialised applications.
Generally speaking, these applications can be targeted towards particular industrial sectors, verticals and use cases. As a result, MNOs see slicing as a way to meet the needs of customers in different verticals and to deliver to them specialised connectivity that meets the needs of individual customers and use cases.
The emergence of slicing as a commercial proposition has, largely, been dependent on the deployment of full 5G SA networks. As Rethink Research notes in a recent report, 5G SA deployments are expected to reach the critical mass required from around 2024.
But which sectors will drive growth for MNOs? In the same report, Rethink reckons that "manufacturing will generate the biggest network slicing revenues by 2029 at 19% of the total, with energy/utilities and healthcare joint second on 15% each. Logistics/transportation will be next at 13%, followed by government/public sector on 10% and media/entertainment on 7%.”
As a result, slicing will become a vehicle that could enable MNOs to, finally, fulfil their aspirations for driving revenue growth, not just from B2B markets in general, but from specific sectors within that market.
But it’s not just the specialised applications that will be supported that matter. Slices must also support classical human communication as well as novel forms of communication between processes and systems and people. This communication will take place both inside the slice as well as to outside to macro networks.
So, MNOs that are pushing slicing as a means to support B2B customers and to grow revenue must also consider how they can augment slices with classical communications services – because people also need to connect to the network slice.
And that’s why we’re paying close attention to the development of advanced services and applications that can be delivered over network slices. This matters, because of mobility and interoperability between macro and sliced domains – users may transition from one to the other or require sessions that span them both. As a result, orchestrating communications services becomes a critical function that MNOs will have to support.
If we add into this mix new levels of integration with other applications, we can see how the business communications element can become closely linked to other services, which, because of the vertical specialisation realised in slices will demand different capabilities. MNOs, then, need the ability to blend existing and future services with new applications that may be highly domain specific – while also ensuring that classical mobility and interoperability functions perform seamlessly.
Slicing will, for sure, help MNOs deliver a more targeted, vertical focus. However, they also need to deliver communications services that align with specific vertical applications and use cases, and which can support any mobility or convergence policies they may have. So, if you are exploring vertical applications for slicing opportunities and users, you need to be sure that you can also evolve your B2B comms services to meet new needs and integrations.
Our team is ready to help you realise this vision. Why not talk to us and see how we can help you deliver the next generation of slice enabled B2B communications services?
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