In order to make all of the spectrum investments and other technology developments payoff, 5G needs to find use cases outside of just providing faster speeds. On that note, Verizon announced on Wednesday that it has teamed up with the U.K.'s Digital Catapult to develop 5G use cases and applications for enterprises.
With the accelerator program, a select number of retail and brand partners will work directly with startups and technology innovators to look at how 5G-enabled solutions could solve their real-world business challenges or problems.
The participants will use Verizon's London 5G Lab and production studio, both of which launched in February, as well as the telco's 5G and edge computing capabilities. The London Lab, which is Verizon's first 5G-enabled facility outside of the U.S., features a live 5G-enabled environment that allows users to develop and test their 5G applications and services.
Verizon said in its press release that a number of use cases that demonstrate 5G's faster speeds, expanded bandwidth and low-latency were already being shown at the London Lab. The use cases being demonstrated include augmented shopping, virtual events, smart retail shelving, intelligent asset management and augmented reality-enabled "workspace reimagining."
Verizon's London production studio, RYOT, allows users to produce 3D content including virtual and augmented reality (AR) experiences, such as virtual events, by using volumetric capture, motion capture and AR broadcast from its facilities in London.
Telcos partner up on 5G use cases
Telcos need to develop use cases and applications for their 5G services to avoid becoming a "dumb pipe" for other entities, such as cloud providers.
The 5G edge cloud could spur development of an entirely new generation of apps and services, according to Futurioum analyst Scott Raynovich, which would separate the telcos from cloud providers, cable operators and technology vendors.
Verizon is placing its bets on the next wave of 5G services and applications by creating an ecosystem for them, both in the U.S, and in London. While participants in the London Lab gain hands-on experience for 5G use cases, Verizon is able to monitor the development of the new services and applications
Along the same lines, AT&T announced in March it was working with Google Cloud to deliver 5G network edge computing and cloud services and applications for businesses. The two industry giants are teaming up to build enterprise use cases, which could include video analytics, augmented and virtual reality applications and data-intensive sensors.
Last year, AT&T announced cloud partnerships with IBM and Microsoft. There are also 5G and edge compute elements to the multi-year partnership with Microsoft, which reportedly is worth $2 billion. Microsoft is designing, testing and building edge-computing capabilities on AT&T's 5G network.
Microsoft and AT&T are also working on use cases for 5G, such as enabling near-instantaneous communications for first responders who are using AI-based live voice translations to communicate with a person in need who speaks a different language.
Earlier this month, Google Cloud said it would launch a new cloud region in Spain by using Telefónica's Madrid infrastructure. Telefónica and Google plan to jointly develop a portfolio of solutions for 5G using Google Cloud's mobile edge computing platform.