COVID drives rapid shift in enterprise focus to advanced wireless technologies

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COVID drives rapid shift in enterprise focus to advanced wireless technologies

4 MAY 2021: In response to the COVID pandemic, enterprises in Australia, and around the world, are increasing their focus on the adoption of advanced wireless networks to accelerate digital transformation and innovation, better manage disruption, and evolve their market offerings.

The 2021 edition of Deloitte’s global Advanced Wireless Survey explores enterprise adoption rates of 5G, Wi-Fi 6, and related technologies across nine countries. The analysis is based on a Q4 2020 survey of more than 400 relevant executive decision-makers globally, including 50 in Australia.

Key findings from the Australian market include:

  • 38% of organisations are already deploying 5G within business units or enterprise-wide, while 54% are preparing to use, or start pilots of 5G in the next 12 months
  • Australian enterprises are planning to spend an average of $68 million on advanced wireless technologies over the next three years, with a key driver being increased ability to respond to business disruptions like COVID-19
  • 75% say that next-generation networks will be critically important for enhancing customer interactions in the next three years
  • CEOs ranked only after CIOs, as leading the charge for adopting next-generation wireless networking, reflecting the strategic importance of these technologies on business decisions
  • Better customer interactions, new products and services, and cost efficiencies will be among the benefits that come with deployment of advanced wireless
  • The top four concerns with new wireless technologies are cyber security, compatibility with existing systems, maturity of the technologies, and difficulty identifying the right use cases.

Deloitte Consulting partner and leader of the firm’s Telco, Media & Entertainment sector, Will Castles, said: “Next-generation networks are on their way, with enterprise adoption of advanced wireless networks in Australia clearly accelerating, and seen by business leaders as essential.

“COVID has disrupted work and accelerated demand for innovation and, in response, networking executives have rapidly shifted their interest and investment in the likes of 5G and Wi-Fi 6 as key enablers of business transformation.

“Globally, 78% of respondents said advanced wireless networking will transform their companies within three years. Here in Australia, that number is 84%, and 39% of local respondents believe 5G and Wi-Fi 6 are likely to substantially transform their industries within 12 months.

“By offering significant performance improvements, such as faster speeds, increased capacity, lower latency, greater device density, and precise location sensing, these new wireless technologies are already enabling ground-breaking solutions and, looking ahead to 2024, all of our survey respondents expect to deploy 5G in their enterprise based on its ability to improve and differentiate customer experiences, open the door to new products or services and drive efficiencies in business operations.

“This rapid shift is, in part, driven by the need for enhanced mobility for employees working remotely as a result of the pandemic, and 59% have cited COVID as a catalyst to invest more in their wireless networks.

“There’s no reason to think that this shift won’t continue in a post-COVID world, particularly as more use cases emerge combining advanced wireless technologies with cloud, edge computing and AI to enable the broader innovation and transformation outcomes enterprises require to differentiate in a highly competitive market.”

Deloitte Consulting partner and Consulting Technology, Media & Telecommunications leader, Peter Corbett, said: “Compared to their global peers, Australian respondents are investing more in wireless networking – looking, on average to spend $68 million, not including spectrum, over the next three years.

“The top three motivations for adoption are to enhance innovation, improve operational efficiencies, and simplify interactions with customers, while network latency, data speed and coverage are considered most important to achieving the benefits of advanced connectivity.

“We expect enterprises to spend slightly more on cellular compared to Wi-Fi to address the likes of network resilience, new use cases, new digital solutions increased security, and for spend to also be roughly equal across devices, hardware, software and installation.

“Compared to global peers, Australian enterprises are also more likely to choose a public slice of 5G networks or a combination of private and public networks, while licencing or sharing spectrum are the preferred method for access.

“To support decision-making around investment and specific technologies, operators, vendors and system integrators need to consider security, interoperability and cost, alongside organisations’ cloud strategies and enterprise technology maturity and, most importantly, will need to work together as an ecosystem to design, build and operate holistic solutions for their customers.

“Ultimately, those that are making advanced wireless a critical component of their infrastructure and innovation strategies – as well as those that are positioning to deliver the solutions – are likely to create tremendous growth potential and strong competitive advantage, in Australia and offshore.”

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