While the healthcare system in the United States, and abroad, is a complex ecosystem with an array of interdependencies that are influencing the way the market is evolving, four major trends are having a strong impact circa 2018.
Shifts towards “Value-based Care”. Particularly in the U.S., the healthcare system is faced with significant rising costs due to a very large portion of its population moving into retirement age. In response, the U.S. government, the largest payer in the healthcare ecosystem, is taking steps to shift reimbursements towards “value-based payments.” A central tenet of this approach is to encourage a shift in industry focus from “paying for procedures” to “paying for outcomes”. While the business impact of this trend is to transfer increasing amounts of financial risk from payers to providers and patients, the theory is that it will also result in more targeted and effective treatment and care plans.
The need to protect profitability. As the movement towards value-based care shifts more financial risks to providers, many are taking steps such as scaling up through M&A, opening practices in desirable geographies and investing in specialties to protect their profitability. For example, hospital systems are opening urgent care facilities in suburban and rural areas, drug companies are merging and/or buying retail pharmacies, and healthcare payers are partnering with health systems to help promote wellness programs.
• Verizon and Ericsson announced successful trials of NB-IoT with plans to launch nationwide NB-IoT by the end of the year.
• Given the different use cases for LTE-M and NB-IoT, a dual-buildout strategy makes sense. However, with NB-IoT more widely deployed, Verizon’s decision to build out NB-IoT also enables it to hedge its bets in the event that an LTE-M ecosystem doesn’t emerge.
Verizon announced February 1 it will deploy NB-IoT technology across its network in 2018 after successful trials with Ericsson. The announcement represented an acceleration from previous plans which called for NB-IoT trials this year. The move was no doubt a competitive response to T-Mobile USA’s accelerated deployment plans, but there may have been other rationale that played into Verizon’s plans. Continue reading “Verizon’s NB-IoT Plans: Expanding Options for Hedging Bets?”→
As a concept for running diverse logical networks over a common physical infrastructure, network slicing has been linked closely to 5G network transformations and 5G’s aspirations of servicing the needs of consumers alongside myriad industries.
As it gets put into practice, however, a number of questions around slicing still need to be resolved: How granular will slices be? Which networks and network elements will be sliced? How open will slicing be to third parties? What can network prioritization teach us? Most of these questions revolve around business considerations, not technology considerations.
The basic tenets of 5G are well understood: what we’ll use it for, when it will arrive, that it will be a major opportunity with a solid base of subscriptions within the next five years.
A number of other commonly held beliefs about 5G – that it will drive business innovation and core network transformations, introduce network slicing and represent a platform for spectrum innovation – must be questioned.
Last week, the Telecom Council of Silicon Valley convened a forum on “Network Transformation in 5G.” We had the honor of delivering the opening presentation. You can view a copy of it here.
AT&T announced that it is building an “Edge Computing Test Zone” in Palo Alto, Calif to support developers and other AT&T partners in rolling out a diverse set of edge applications.
Given AT&T’s support for edge computing, the move isn’t surprising. However, it does raise questions about the set of use cases highlighted, and a specific call-out to wireless networks as well as the lack of any reference to network slicing are disappointing.
In very real terms, then, there’s nothing wrong with AT&T’s forthcoming “Test Zone” in Palo Alto, California. It aligns with AT&T’s interests and makes sense for any carrier planning to integrate edge computing into its network architecture in the future. It’s a good idea; getting developers engaged is critical for ensuring that they will be ready to support AT&T’s network evolution plans with compelling applications. But it also falls short in a number of fundamental ways. Continue reading “What’s Wrong with AT&T’s Silicon Valley Edge Computing Test Zone?”→
While the core use cases for 5G are well understood (enhanced mobile broadband, massive IoT, mission critical communications), it’s important to remember that a core objective of those use cases is enabling digital industries – helping service providers target vertical markets and not just broad swaths of consumers and enterprises.
Initial 5G specifications may be focused on enabling enhanced mobile broadband, but we’re already seeing how digital transformation will unfold thanks to LTE technologies like Cat-M and NB-IoT.
Today’s discussions of 5G, more often than not, focus on the core use cases promised by the technology and the new services they will enable. Where early messaging scrambled to define 5G objectives broadly, narrowing them down is a welcome development, if only to ensure a common understanding of what 5G will focus on: enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), massive IoT (massive machine type communications – MTC), mission-critical communications (ultra-reliable low-latency communications, URLLC). Continue reading “Accelerating 5G: Leveraging IoT to Create Digital Industries”→
In the run-up to 5G launches, new shared and unlicensed spectrum usage is helping to open up new business models for mobile operators.
Beyond the development of technologies like LTE-U, LAA, CBRS and MulteFire, development of the ecosystems around those technologies and examples of how they can be commercially put to use will drive their success.
To date, most commercial, mobile wireless services have been built on a foundation of licensed spectrum. Going forward, 5G won’t change that.
Where the next generation of wireless technology requires a massive technology investment, mobile operators will want the network quality and availability assurances (not to mention competitive advantages) that licensed spectrum delivers. 5G will, however, bring an understanding that new spectrum access regimes are required that are tailored to the availability of spectrum, tailored to the requirements of the digital industries being targeted, and tailored to the opportunity to improve the efficiency of spectrum usage in unlicensed and shared spectrum bands. Continue reading “Accelerating 5G: Unleashing New Spectrum via Sharing”→