VOLT CEO OFFERS PARTNERSADVICEON5G Like everything else in the IT and telecom sectors, no matter what progress you make, what innovation you roll out to make things better, faster and provide greater connectivity, someone needs to step up and sell it. So here we are with many believing 5G is on the verge of creating a tidal wave that will wash away 4G, LTE and the way things have been for the past few years. The major carriers have been marketing their 5G services and boasting of the pluses and speed since before any of them actually had 5G. Well, we have reached the time when the test cases have proven the success, so it’s time for the channel to step up and for partners to immerse themselves in all things 5G to get this grand promise everywhere – at least before 6G arrives with the same hype. “The 5G market is obviously quite broad, as are its opportunities,” said Volt Active Data CEO David Flower. “Multiple industries will deliver new solutions to customers that will require technology, infrastructure, devices, applications and services to work in collaboration to bring the next leap of 5G capabilities to the market. “This collaboration demands channel partnerships to seamlessly work together to deliver complete solutions that customers can benefit from in the future, without increasing their total cost of ownership or technical debt.” Flower said that by identifying complementary channel partner solutions and then working side by side with partners to build, market and sell these will be paramount to growing the 5G market across industries globally. He added that the value partners will realize from the promotion and sale of 5G solutions are threefold: • Delivering innovative solutions that help solve customer pain points • Expanding their partner ecosystem • Increasing market share in the dynamic and diverse world of 5G solutions “Successful 5G monetization will depend on the solution or service that a channel partner can provide and the clients that will benefit from selling those solutions to customers,” Flower explained. “Monetization can result from various methods including network slicing, data collection, cloud consumption, edge computing, AI/ML or edge devices such as drones, bots, sensors, etc.” Partners will have to do their homework to understand what they are selling and how to explain the use cases for 5G to their clients. “They will need to put them into the context of their clients’ respective verticals and industry-speak, and also, especially, their pain points,” Flower cautioned. “The same way that it’s much harder to sell a vacuum cleaner to someone whose house is perfectly clean, it’s also much harder to convince someone on the importance of 5G monetization and its related use cases if they don’t see an immediate need for it.” However, he added, “Explaining the use cases to a client should be as simple as tailoring the discussion based on the client’s customer’s industry and use cases. The customer is always the focus point.” For some customers – especially those who grew up with rotary dials and live operators handling manual switching – the string of initials is nothing more than alphabet soup. They can become confused when they see AI, ML or AR. This is something channel partners need to understand and be cautious of when trying to explain to the customer who understands a pitcher’s ERA but hasn’t thought much of AI/ML. Fortunately, as the world evolves with AI/ML, and augmented reality becomes more commonplace, the terms have become more familiar, Flower pointed out. “It’s important for people to understand this future is here now, and we should embrace it for the changes it will bring,” he said. “The way people work and interact will change; understanding those changes and how to adapt with them is the key. “Knowing what AI/ML will provide in the way of new capabilities in health care, manufacturing, financial services and other industries will present the opportunities to educate clients and upsell/cross-sell based on those use cases,” Flower continued. Still, the channel may want to rely on providers to help them on their 5G journey. “As the evolution of 5G technology accelerates, it is important for agents to stay abreast of changes and evolving use cases – not only in their industry but across industries,” Flower said. “This will provide them with the knowledge required to identify channel partner opportunities and deliver new capabilities into the market through innovative collaboration.” o By Bruce Christian MOBILE & WIRELESS Volt Active Data CEO David Flower 46 CHANNELV ISION | JULY - AUGUST 2022