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Partnerships and Innovative Applications Critical to Driving Next Generation Network Success

by Nitesh Patel | Jan 07, 2020

As my colleague Sue Rudd outlined in one of her recent blog posts, service providers should start edge compute before 5G and use internal use as an anchor use case as they start to experiment more on services that benefit from MEC with 5G. Therefore, during 2020 and beyond we expect to see forward thinking service providers test and experiment innovative and novel applications which can be powered, and potentially monetized, by future next-generation networks (NGN).

Verizon and HERE Partner for 5G and Edge Powered Advanced Location Services

A great example of this is the partnership between Verizon and the leading location platform, HERE, which was announced on 7th January 2020 at CES. This follows Verizon’s partnership with location services company TomTom in October 2019, to test how Verizon’s 5G network could be used to improve safety at road-traffic junctions.

The Verizon and HERE partnership aims to identify and test new 5G and 5G edge powered location services for enterprise, industrial and consumer use cases. However, both companies will initially focus on two services, collision avoidance, and high-accuracy positioning. In the first case the value proposition is based on pedestrian and passenger safety, while in the latter the benefit is to deliver enhanced customer satisfaction for providers of mobility services e.g. ride-hailing, and other sectors where pin-point drop-off and pick-up are essential e.g. transport and logistics. In both cases low latency and fast throughput supported by 5G and Edge can support these services.

  • Collision avoidance uses HERE’s HD map in conjunction with its computer vision software (Live Sense) to identify objects on the road in real-time, e.g. vehicles, pedestrians, road barriers, and bicycles, etc. This data is sent to Verizon’s 5G edge locations where it is processed by collision avoidance AI to predict travel paths and provide drivers with potential collision warnings in advance.
  • Visual positioning relies on real-time image recognition using proprietary 3D positioning algorithm from HERE to analyse the image or video. Low latency from 5G network and edge enables results to be processed rapidly.

Clearly, not all innovative services like these will become a home run. Critical business related questions must also be addressed. Which companies or segments in the market will demand collision avoidance and sub-meter positioning services? What business models and pricing approaches are most likely to succeed? What price point are companies willing to pay to acquire sub-meter positioning, or will free but less accurate methods like GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth positioning suffice for the majority of use cases?

We highlighted in our latest location platform report “Location Platform Benchmark Report: 2020,” HERE demonstrated overall leadership across 8 benchmark capabilities, which include map-making, map-freshness, place search, map and data visualization, developers, supporting the automotive sector, and future vision and innovation. Google followed closely, scoring highly in map-making, map freshness, and search, while TomTom is strong across map making, map freshness and automotive primarily, showing improvement in visualization. Mapbox’s strengths remain primarily in map and data visualization, and developers. HERE’s partnership with Verizon is another example of its leadership in enabling future location use-cases, though HERE competitors are also targeting growth opportunities enabled by 5G. For example, at MWC 2019 Sprint partnered with Mapbox to enable its 5G IoT network to support location services.

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