November 10, 2020
New Smartphones are promoting it. Wireless carriers are promoting it. But despite the ads we see, the roll-out of new 5G wireless devices and underlying networks are still very much in their infancy. That is NOT because the demand is slow in coming. We have all heard the stories. Almost everything in our future – from autonomous vehicles to artificial intelligence and telemedicine, to perhaps billions of internet-connected sensors for IoT and more – will be either enabled or improved thanks to the faster speeds, lower latency and far greater capacity promised by the next generation in wireless connectivity. According to a study by Nokia Bell Labs Consulting, 5G has the potential to deliver $8 trillion in value to businesses, economies and societies globally by the year 2030.
Source: Nokia “5G – ready for business” report
Before we can all take advantage of 5G however, significant upgrades are required across our wireless infrastructure in order to meet the new standard. And since 2019, that evolution has been underway. Wireless companies have been revamping network equipment to support 5G signalling. They have been buying radio spectrum to carry those signals, and installing new 5G antennas on cellphone towers, utility poles, streetlights and more, to transmit and receive those signals.
According to the CTIA, the U.S. wireless industry trade group, providers there will invest US$275B in 5G-networks before they are done. Globally, data from China suggests more than 600,000 5G base stations have already been deployed, and the number is climbing daily. But such transformations are definitely not without challenges, and that is where portfolio company Encepta is bringing significant value.
Headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Encepta uses their innovative data collection and management technology to help utilities, carriers, service providers and infrastructure builders manage and evolve their distributed energy, transportation and communications infrastructures. In recent years the company has:
The assessment of 3,515,000 locations takes time, but it also provides for an educated perspective. And, in particular, it enables Encepta to realize that better research and planning data are critical to architecting and deploying the best new 5G networks. As company CEO Devan Bouchard put it, “For example, 5G drives such density increase in antennas that cities and infrastructure owners need to go through an adjustment period in order to align with the demand for infrastructure real-estate. On average, the approval process alone can take anywhere from 6 weeks to 14 months. And that is before any network deployment can begin.”.
But the pressure continues to build. According to another Bell Labs Consulting analysis, the global consumption of Information Communication Technology (ICT) annually is forecast to increase from US$2.8 trillion in 2020 to US$6 trillion by 2030. Within that number, the share of “5G-related technologies, applications and services” – an umbrella term that encompasses end-to-end 5G, edge cloud infrastructure, private networks, augmented intelligence, automation, sensing and robotics, as well as platform and as-a-service business models – is projected to be US$4.5 trillion, or 75% of the total, in 2030.
These numbers are among the largest investments in global communications technologies ever. And Encepta is playing a fundamental role in the planning and deployment of the underlying networks. Now, if we can just see the regulators and government officials achieve similar efficiencies and productivity gains as they apply to 5G, we can all be enjoying the promises of this innovative new wireless technology that much sooner…
Visit the Encepta website to learn more.
Wesley Clover invests in a range of technology companies, and they bring impressive innovation to markets and clients around the globe. I/O is our way of sharing some of the best insights. I trust you will enjoy them.
Terry Matthews, Chairman