PARTNER CONTENT: After the launch of GSMA’s APAC 5G Industry Community last year, members, including Huawei, are moving forward this year to support 5G industry innovation, transformation and applications.

In an interview with Mobile World Live at MWC22 Barcelona, Julian Gorman, Head of Asia Pacific, GSMA and Sean Xu, CMO of Carrier Business Group, Huawei Asia Pacific, spoke about the impact the 5G Industry Community has had to date, and what’s next on the roadmap.

Opportunities abound for mobile technologies in APAC

According to the GSMA Mobile Economy Asia Pacific report, there’s a second wave of 5G network rollouts underway in Asia Pacific as governments and enterprises adopt new digital solutions in line with Industry 4.0 objectives.

In 2020, mobile technologies and services generated over $750 billion of economic value (5.1% of GDP) in Asia Pacific. GSMA projects that figure will grow by $110 billion to $860 billion by 2025 as countries across the region increasingly benefit from 5G applications and services.

APAC 5G Industry Community at work

The APAC 5G Industry Community is comprised of 12 contributing members across the mobile value chain as well as the existing IoT and 5G emerging market community, which has around 500 members in more than 30 countries.

It was established following a trial event early in 2021 that was attended by more than 800 people from the region’s government agencies, analyst companies, consulting and industry associations, mobile operators, enterprises and solution providers.

“When we surveyed those attendees they overwhelmingly agreed that we needed to form and participate in an industry community that would run cooperation to support 5G industry innovation, transformation and applications for business opportunities,” explained GSMA’s Gorman.

Since the official launch in October last year at the GSMA’s Mobile 360 Asia Pacific event, the APAC 5G Industry Community has formed three interest groups across manufacturing, port logistics and transportation, and healthcare.

“Each month we run an industry group workshop for the members to join, understand and pioneer the 5G innovation that’s happening across those industries,” Gorman explained.

The workshops allow the community members to discuss opportunities, network and overcome the challenges of adoption so that the technology, policy and ecosystem development can come together to advance 5G services and applications across the APAC region, according to Gorman.

The APAC 5G Industry Community has held additional workshops on the impact of 5G at airports, and other events on how 5G and IoT are transforming healthcare. Gorman stated the workshops have attracted significant interest and participation from enterprises across verticals that typically don’t engage with GSMA.

Industry Community member use cases

Near the end of 2021, operator True helped Siriraj Hospital open the doors on a smart hospital in Thailand that leveraged 5G. Gorman said Huawei enabled Siriraj to blend 5G with cloud, and other digital solutions.

Siriraj is currently piloting 5G portable medical boxes, unmanned 5G vehicles, 5G medical cards and 5G smart hospital beds. Gorman said Siriraj was a role model for other hospitals in Thailand (the work was recognised as a shortlisted entry in the 2022 GSMA GLOMO Awards for ‘Best Innovation for Covid-19 Pandemic Response and Recovery’) and across the region and it is expected that 35 geomedical applications will be incubated and promoted in 2022 alone.

China Mobile, which is also a member of the 5G Industry Community, built an indoor 5G network at the Hong Kong International Airport by deploying 5G in both C-band and mmWave spectrum. The network is being used across autonomous electric tractors, autonomous surveillance vehicles and disinfection robots.

“With more automation, we could reduce the physical staff on site and person-to-person contact during Covid-19”, Gorman said.

Thai-based operator AIS, one of the founding members of the 5G Industry Community, partnered with Suranaree University of Technology (SUT) last year to upgrade manufacturing facilities into smart facilities using 5G.

And AIS customer Bosch – a huge consumer global brand – implemented a smart 5G factory in Thailand. Gorman said the company is “starting to realise huge benefits from the way it can collect data from production lines for agile and fast business reaction with 5G throughout the facility.”

Recently, AIS also helped welding companies Yawata and Lertvilai to automate logistics and delivery processes with the high speed and low latency features of 5G.

Huawei’s participation spurs APAC 5G growth

While the 5G Industry Community members are seeing a lot of traction across APAC, 5G still needs to make inroads into new markets, according to GSMA’s research.

Xu said his company joined the APAC 5G Industry Community to gain insight into the various industries that want to maximize their markets by using 5G bandwidth and applications. Xu cited Huawei’s experience helping operators in China launch 5G as an example of what the company can do for Industry 4.0 projects.

“We believe it’s a very good time for us to help more industries adopt the effective investment by leveraging 5G’s unique value for their digital transformations in a much better way with the 5G Industry Community,” Xu said.

Going forward, Xu stated that Huawei will use its experience building and delivering end-to-end networks to help drive the evolution of mobile communications across the APAC region.

“We want to provide a very seamless user-centric and intelligent experience to all of the possible 5G user scenarios and to industry stakeholders,” Xu stated. “To promote these efforts, we hope to join forces with different industries, economies, research institutes and application developers to address the universal challenges facing humanity.”

2022 plans

And GSMA’s Gorman said APAC 5G Industry Community members will continue to strengthen the platform for 5G learning across more industries and encourage more enterprises to join to discuss their experiences, their obstacles, and their adoption of 5G.

“Secondly, we’ll work with different government organizations to support their digital economy development and ambitions,” Gorman declared, citing the Ministry of Indonesia as one example where it has organised a workshop to be run in March 2022.

The community will also publish a series of case studies showcasing success stories from across members. And in August 2022 (August 2-3) the community will hold events at the GSMA Mobile 360 Asia Pacific conference in Singapore, while also co-hosting a 5G Summit with Thailand’s Digital Economy Agency later this year.

Watch the interview in full here.