VP of the SAP 5G Council
Frank Wilde in his role of VP for SAP’s 5G Council is passionate about the innovative role SAP is playing around the world in the deployment of the technology, and the opportunities that 5G brings – which have been only heightened as COVID-19 has acted as a catalyst for digital transformation.
“We launched the 5G Council with the intent to pull together a value chain,” says Wilde. “We feel that the power behind 5G as well as edge computing is really taking much more
of a consortium approach – realizing that no single organization provides the core capabilities. It's really interlocking capabilities that brings 5G to life.”
The 5G Council includes leading technology partners from around the world, covering all aspects of 5G implementation and opportunity. That includes the likes of Verizon providing connectivity, hardware from key telco hardware firms, device strategy from hardware providers, and innovation and solutioning from Deloitte. As we said, it really is the great and the good of the 5G universe. Or as Wilde puts it, “Distinct organizations that can look left, look right, and really see where their value proposition fits across the entire value chain.”
SAP launched the 5G Council in June of 2018, and the members get together around twice a year. The agenda is how to affect change and drive innovation. Wilde says it is important for SAP to be seen as leading this charge.
As SAP celebrates 50 years in business, it is important for it to be seen at the leading edge of technology.
“We're fundamentally changing how we're going to market and how our customers go to market and innovate together,” he says. “So rather than thinking about sequential innovation or step-by-step improvements to a given platform, one of the benefits of 5G is that you can think differently.”
Wilde cites Tesla, Lyft, and Uber as examples of companies that have disrupted their markets in a short space of time, taking leadership positions in established industries, by thinking differently.
“It's not just a question of improving your revenue or improving your profitability,” he says. “Really the key question is around survival, right? If you could easily be disrupted by a 5G and edge solution – whether it's in retail, manufacturing, transportation, entertainment – there's a number of new capabilities that can come to life.”
“We really feel that it's not just a question of incremental improvements or enhancements to how you're operating, you know, another 10% or 20% more in sales or improving your bottom line by a few percentage points in terms of operational efficiency. There's the question of will you be able to survive a key challenger in your market. So we're helping our customers think differently and be much more aggressive around how they think about innovation.”
With public 5G networks rolling out globally, and private networks being implemented in large sites for manufacturing and retail, for example, 5G is making progress, but when are we going to realize its full potential? In a previous interview with us, Wilde talked about a watershed moment, but when does he think that will be, and what will it look like?
He says there are two work streams in flight, one of which is the public network around 5G and the other is the private network. SAP has been working for the last two years in the private 5G and edge computing space, deploying proof of concepts that are specific to 5G.
Once that backbone of infrastructure is in place, 5G will really take off and transform our lives.
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“Sometimes automation is seen as a panacea. We see it as one of a number of solutions, not a silver bullet.”