- By Keith Kirkpatrick
- June 7, 2022
Industry trade group GSMA estimates that by the year 2025, the number of 5G connections will reach 2 billion, up from 1 billion in 2022. Moreover, by the end of 2025, 5G will account for over one-fifth of total mobile connections, and more than two in five people globally will live within reach of a 5G network. And although 5G promises to deliver enhanced reliability, performance, and efficiency for both consumers and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, this new technological capability also will raise the bar for customer expectations.
Indeed, there have been concerns raised about the security and privacy of personal data with both 4G and 5G networks, as well as the potential security risks involved with the use of open APIs. While this architecture makes 5G networks even more useful across a wide range of potential applications, it also can make them more vulnerable to hackers. Forward-looking operators must address network reliability and security as new immersive applications, such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), big data, and cloud computing become ubiquitous.
5G networks are designed to deliver high data rates, but perhaps more importantly, extremely low-latency connections that allow reliable and resilient, near real-time data services to be rolled out across the network. That is why operators need to focus on the elements of the use cases of tomorrow to ensure friction-free, customer-centric experiences.
The following aspects of 5G service must be considered by operators that are rolling out 5G services.
Growing consumer expectations
In a sense, customers have become spoiled by technology itself; they expect that their internet service and the applications that run on the networks should work 100% of the time, irrespective of other factors, including network congestion, the device they are using, or the complexity of the application they are running.
It will be up to operators to develop strategies for educating consumers on the potential limitations of the devices and/or applications that are running on the network, as well as the limitations of the network itself. Operators may be punished, in terms of brand or service reputation, if a customer experiences issues with an application or service, even if the problem is not network-related. By clearly establishing the limitations of 5G technology upfront, a fairer baseline of expectations of the operator and its services can be established.
Use of video support
One of the primary benefits of 5G technology is the network’s enhanced capacity for data-intensive support tools, such as mobile video. Live video support can often be used to provide more efficient and personalized customer service, which is often a critical component of overall CX. Via 5G-enabled video, CX reps will be able to troubleshoot highly technical challenges through screen-sharing and video chat, potentially reducing the number of product returns or in-person technical support visits. This should result in a more personalized experience during support interactions, as well as expedited customer support times.
Similarly, the increased bandwidth and lower latency of 5G networks should also allow a greater amount of self-service and in-home troubleshooting of devices. In some cases, a device could independently detect an issue or need for maintenance, and alert its user before the device experiences an issue. For example, a sensor in a set-top box could automatically send data from a diagnostic routine that runs periodically, thereby allowing the telecom company to schedule and send a service person before the customer experiences an outage. Such proactive service activities can often increase overall CX by addressing and eliminating problems before they occur.
The high speed and low latency of 5G likely will support the migration of processing power to the cloud, which could support the greater and more widespread use of VR/AR technology. The combination of high speed and minimal lag is perfect for both VR and AR, as it allows for lifelike digital experiences that do not suffer any dropouts, which can mar the effectiveness or aesthetics of a particular experience.
These two technologies may spur greater utilization of virtual stores, as well as the use of AR to “try out” products virtually (such as allowing a customer to see if a desired smartphone will fit on a wireless charger located within a vehicle, for example).
The key for operators is to ensure that these technologies are properly tested and retested so that when they are rolled out to customers, they are free of glitches and are optimized with the consumer in mind. The experience needs to be friction-free and intuitive to not only attract attention, but ensure that the end goal (customer satisfaction) can be achieved smoothly and efficiently.
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