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AiThority Interview with Frederic Beneteau, VP – Head of Customer Business Team at Nokia

Hi Frederic, you come from a very strong background in Engineering and Telecom Marketing. Tell us about your current role and responsibilities at Nokia.

In my current role, I lead and manage a Nokia European Sales team covering multiple countries. I head up a regional Customer Business Team that’s in charge of several European Communication providers that build greenfield networks or transform and upgrade assets.

I have been at Nokia in Sales and Management leadership roles for the last 10 years. Being at Nokia has been an amazing opportunity for me to lead and make a tangible impact on both my teams and customers.

You have been part of the Telecoms industry for over 20 years and today you are working closely with operator customers. How much has Mobile technology evolved in these years? 

In my career and particularly during my time at Nokia I have been fortunate to experience the development of many of the fundamental technologies used in virtually every mobile device as well as innovations relating to IoT-connected industrial equipment and vehicles.

I have also experienced the development of key industry standards and Nokia’s fundamental role in these such as GSM, 3G, LTE and now 5G which have enabled new solutions and ecosystems.

As we step into the 5G era, what unique challenges and opportunities do you foresee for your partners and end-users? How does Nokia enable its partners and customers with its accelerated 5G Adoption systems?

5G is an evolutionary technology but it will have a revolutionary impact, delivering incredibly fast data speeds to consumers and real-time connectivity to a host of vertical industries driving efficiencies and enhancing performance. It will deliver profound socio-economic change to businesses and citizens alike and usher in an era of compelling new services.

Mobile operators are undergoing a challenging and disruptive process of upgrading their networks in readiness to deliver on this 5G vision where making the right choices and having the right information available to them is of critical importance.

The main driver is Industry 4.0, which enables assets in industrial sites to be digitalized to enhance automation and improve business efficiencies. Private industrial-grade wireless networks enable a range of IoT productivity-enhancing applications as well as enhancing operational efficiency, security, and safety.

Wireless is the easiest way to provide this industrial-grade level of connectivity. Existing wireless solutions such as Wi-Fi are designed for IT needs, and as a result, their performance, reliability and security capabilities do not match the business-critical requirements of many industries’ operational needs. Wi-Fi will still be used for day-to-day business needs but private 4.9G/LTE or 5G will be added to connect critical operational assets that include machines, robots, sensors, workers, tools, trucks, etc.

Nokia is doing this now for enterprise customers across several industries, including Transport, Energy, Government, Manufacturing, and Logistics. These industries want to take advantage of 5G-ready LTE/4.9G private wireless networks now, with a straightforward transition to 5G in the near-term. We have also launched a certification program to help industry professionals realize the full business potential of end-to-end 5G networks.

The Nokia Bell Labs End-to-End 5G Certification Program is a first-of-its-kind program that will offer professionals across the Information and Communications technology (ICT) industry two levels of certification – Associate and Professional – that deliver essential knowledge covering everything from the basics of 5G networks to professional level planning and design.

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You recently partnered with Iliad Group. Tell us more about the nuances of this 5G-centric partnership.

Nokia has worked closely with Iliad Group since 2012 on the creation from the beginning of 3G, 4G/LTE and now 5G networks. The 5G contract focuses on network modernization and Iliad will use Nokia’s AirScale product, which is the latest radio access technology. This will allow them to capitalize on early 5G networks whilst supporting 4G/LTE and 5G in the same radio access system.

The partnership also includes the supply of 5G massive MIMO antennas which ensure that subscribers can make the most of the ultra-low latency and high-bandwidth capabilities of 5G. Our long-standing relationship with IIiad will see them roll out 5G networks across France and Italy and build out a world-class network for businesses and consumers alike.

Which regions/countries have shown the highest propensity to 5G adoption and why are others lagging? 

Nokia is working with virtually all the leading early adopter 5G markets including operators in Korea, Japan, U.S, and Europe is following shortly after. We are already working with multiple operators in the region.

The EU is proactively encouraging the deployment and implementation of 5G networks. Some markets may lag beyond in the short-term and the reasons for this vary from cost to the availability of spectrum.

As of March 2020, Nokia has 69 commercial 5G agreements.

What would be your Top-5 5G Deliverability Hacks for 2020? 

1. Every part of the network must be ready for 5G — The network will only be as fast as its slowest link. Each element must be dimensioned for 5G speeds. And for a true 5G experience overall — with low latency, high bandwidth and an ability to connect with billions of devices — an end-to-end evolution plan is needed. That means upgrading the core, radio and all the transport links that connect them. Every step on this evolution journey brings value, but this comprehensive approach is key to bring the 5G opportunity to life.

2. A distributed Cloud-based architecture is essential — Much of the network must be pushed to the edge using Cloud technology – a crucial balance between Edge and Centralized Cloud that delivers cost-effective scale, agility and low latency needs to be struck. Ultra-low latency applications would be extremely hard to create without localized service delivery since light can only travel about 100 km in one millisecond round trip in a fiber.

3. Security is required everywhere and managed proactively — Enterprises and consumers want to feel sure that their data is treated carefully and only used for the intended purpose. This means that security needs to be incorporated into every element of the network and embedded in every step of network operation. Using Artificial Intelligence and Automation to detect, prevent and help fix any issues is vital.

4. Gear up for services beyond connectivity – This means preparing to operate with new network service models. In the 5G world, a committed package of speed, latency, and reliability (also known as a “slice”) must be set up specifically for the devices or sensors that will have 5G connections. The only way to do this as “zero-touch” is with the latest AI and Automation techniques: the complexity is such that it could not be done in real-time without. Compared with the seven million base station sites currently in operation, Nokia estimates that there are fifteen million industrial sites around the world that could benefit from these kinds of connections, offering tremendous revenue growth opportunities for service providers.

5. Get ready to serve customers beyond consumers – A new end-to-end, Cloud-native, secure 5G architecture can handle the complexity of many more use cases, in many more industries. End-to-end slicing allows enterprise services and applications to be individually customized. The possibilities are tremendous in our rapidly changing world. These could start with public safety services based on Video analytics and surveillance, or remote Robotics for Manufacturing and Logistics. Then Autonomous driving and e-health with predictive remote health assessments. 5G can even enable entire ecosystems, such as a harbor that runs off-the-shelf applications for their remote cranes, Autonomous vehicles, CCTV cameras, and other devices.

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What kind of Customer Experience do you envision for your 5G market?

It’s been amazing to see how quickly service providers around the world have embraced 5G. That includes groundbreaking research, standardization initiatives and, increasingly, a competitive race to be first to market with commercial 5G services.

There have been significant milestones in the quest to build modern 5G smart cities as well as for retailers and entrepreneurs who will use 5G to develop and test novel retail experiences utilizing AR and VR, Facial and Video recognition, and tailored in-store signage and entertainment experiences. Cloud gaming is taking off and we will see the impact on sports as well.

We are also seeing a big move toward enterprises. Gaining traction already are private networks and significant progress is being made to support time-sensitive networks, critical to delivering the full suite of industrial 5G applications.

We also expect to see the first implementations of standalone 5G networks which will provide further capabilities to fuel the fourth industrial revolution, create smarter cities and improve the quality of everything from healthcare to education to transportation.

Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:

There are too many to mention but I would love to hear different industry perspectives on the positive impact of 5G.

Thank you, Frederic! That was fun and hope to see you back on AiThority soon.

Frederic Beneteau is the VP – Head of Customer Business Team at Nokia.

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We create the technology to connect the world. Powered by the research and innovation of Nokia Bell Labs, we serve communications service providers, governments, large enterprises and consumers, with the industry’s most complete, end-to-end portfolio of products, services and licensing. We adhere to the highest ethical business standards as we create technology with social purpose, quality and integrity. Nokia is enabling the infrastructure for 5G and the Internet of Things to transform the human experience.

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