Leaders Share How 5G Will Transform Business – Forbes

I remember in the 1990s when computers became ubiquitous the buzz around work was that people would end up with enormous amounts of newfound discretionary time; instead we found the opposite: productivity, customer expectations – and competition —soared. I believe 5G will introduce a similar elevation of every practically every element of business, the economy and society.  

To help CEOs better understand new 5G world, on October 30, 2020 I moderated a roundtable of four leaders:

– Manish Sharma, Group Chief Executive, Accenture Operations

– Suzanne Foster, Cardinal HealthTM at-Home Solutions

– Sampath Sowmyanarayan, President, Verizon Business Global Enterprise

– Rob Johnson, CEO, Vertiv

Sampath Sowmyanarayan, President, Verizon Business Global Enterprise teed up the conversation talking about a specific way Verizon was changing the communications equation, “During this pandemic, we’ve witnessed an accelerated pace of digital transformation. At the center of this rapid shift is 5G, which is changing everything from supply chains, traditional healthcare practices, and factory floors, to the rise of the hybrid workforce. For example, a key factor in Verizon acquiring BlueJeans video-conferencing is that we understood the importance of secure collaboration tools for businesses and now these tools are the lifeblood of the new global workforce. BlueJeans smart meeting technologies and enhanced security will be central to how people work and we believe that 5G will enable new technologies like this to change the very nature of business.”  

Rob Johnson, CEO of Vertiv a leader in data infrastructure manufacturing discussed where 5G was on the continuum of growth, “While still in its early stages, 5G is already demonstrating the key role it will play in ushering in the next phase of digital transformation. The vital applications made possible by 5G networks – including remote surgery, autonomous vehicles and delivery drones – will transform healthcare, business operations and more. ” Johnson continued, and talked about the Vertiv business, “At Vertiv, we’re working closely with telecommunications providers to help build out 5G infrastructure. This includes adapting to 5G’s higher energy needs and adding computing and storage capacity at the edge of the network, where we’ve identified four application archetypes – data intensive, human-latency sensitive, machine-to-machine latency sensitive and life critical – which all require reliability, security and a range of other performance capabilities.” 


As we talked about healthcare and the possibilities 5G would open up, we turned to Suzanne Foster, President of Cardinal HealthTM at-Home Solutions, a division of Cardinal Health, a global, integrated healthcare services and products company. Suzanne shared her vision for at-Home Solutions, a market-leading medical supplies provider helping customers in the home easily find, order and get supplies:“Why haven’t we had more health care in the home? The first reason is that hospitals never adopted the shift. They still wanted people to come into the brick and mortar hospital system. Second, for the most part, patients didn’t trust that they could receive the same level of care outside of the hospital walls. The shift that we see happening now will become the big shift in health care: the ability for technology to have the speed, the reliability, the density to start providing higher acuity care in the home, which is what people now want. The home has become a place of healing and a place of treatment, and 5G will be instrumental in significantly elevating the quality of health at home.”

Manish Sharma, Group Chief Executive of Accenture Operations, a business of 140,000 people talked about how 5G will create a new economic framework, “Just as 4G ushered in the on-demand economy5G will take us into an experience economy, enabling us to operate in more human ways.” When I asked about the specifics of how 5G would impact business Sharma outlined, “In finance and accounting, clients want to immediately close the books. 5G and edge computing removes proximity as a barrier to getting real-time actionable insights — offering an exponential gain to a company’s operations.”

On a final note, Manish Sharma summed up how the future of technology is changing everything, “The exponential nature of technology means the pace of change will never again be as slow as it is today. While it would have seemed impossible and improbable before COVID, we are now experiencing an entirely new dimension of speed and scale of technology change.”  

To listen to these and other CEOs interviewed commercial-free go to The CEO Forum Group



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