With its tremendous opportunities, companies are now seeing the importance of data and 5G adaptation as part of their digitalisation efforts
The 5G FHNet Accelerator, an accelerator targeting companies operating in 5G, recently announced the culmination of its programme with an online international conference held in July 2022.
The programme was launched by FHNet (Foxconn Global Network Corporation), a company that offers system integration services to drive digital transformation and accelerate artificial intelligence empowerment. This program, organised in partnership with Asia IOA and e27, supported 14 startups across Southeast Asia.
Partners, mentors and speakers from active VCs, telecom firms, and 5G startups in the region, including Farquhar Venture Capital, Golden Gate Ventures, MDI Ventures, True Digital Group, PT Indosat Tbk, and Seashore Network attended the event.
Here are seven insights we gathered from dignitaries, as well as the responses we received from some of the speakers and mentors during the interview:
- Untapped opportunities in digitisation: Digitisation is accelerating in all areas. New use cases such as Automated Guided Vehicles, Digital Twins, Bots and Sensors are now common in factories and public spaces. However, the current network approaches are inadequate for the IoT and digitisation journey. Most of them still rely on internet cables. And, of course, cables are quite costly; existing factories need a future-proof network to iterate without changing their hardware footprint. Check out Seashore Network‘s excellent work on how it covers and connects more access with its network.
- 5G is beyond high speed: 5G will bring more speed, which, in turn, will accelerate IoTs and new use cases that warrant flexibility in underlying network technologies. Multiple industries require more digitisation use cases in different sectors such as healthcare, warehousing, venues, mining, schools, retail, manufacturing.
- Investments are still galore: Although the market seems bearish, some regions, including Asia, are still seeing active investments. While growth-stage companies find it hard to raise funding, early-stage startups continue to attract capital.
- Opportunity in countries with good tech infra: In countries with excellent infrastructure and regulations, 5G implementation and acceleration could be easier. In some countries, such as Indonesia, some cities have excellent infrastructure, but others are yet to catch up.
- Companies using deep learning: Deep learning and machine learning techniques simulate how a human brain works, creating accurate predictions, which are now common practices used by enterprises. With further coverage by 5G, expect more and more enterprises to further predict and understand how a person connects more accurately.
- Cookies will be phased out by 2024: According to Park Pedro of True Digital Group, data-sharing cookies used in advertising for the past 20 years will phase out at the end of 2024 because privacy regulations are changing the strategy. Excluding the first-party cookies (those created by and used by a website), third-party cookies (those that websites can put on your computer and read your locations) will be phased out soon. Marketers cannot use it anymore, and there is even a privacy-aware algorithm. However, there is no clarity on what could substitute cookies. The key here is to build partnerships with companies having third-party data. Many companies will need to develop partnerships with companies that own the data. With 5G on a growth path on the data side, companies must find a new way to target people online.
- New data governance: Various data governance and privacy laws formulated in different countries will regulate how we govern the data. As per the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union, third-party cookies need to get users’ consent. In the past, they tracked you without your knowledge, but they cannot function now without getting your permission. These regulations are being implemented in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and many other ASEAN countries. From now on, companies need to handle data properly.
What is next?
With its tremendous opportunities and changing landscape, companies are now starting to see the importance of data and 5G adaptation as part of their digitalisation efforts. Startups tapped this opportunity early on due to their high-tech and agile speed. To further accelerate their growth, startups can now consider working with telcos.
Telco data is huge and can be used to micro-segment big subscribers more granularly. Some common use cases, such as finding the highest traffic for coffee chains, opening a branch store, or even analysing billboard prices, can be done with the telco data. With cookies phasing out, telcos can enrich enterprise data in a PDPA/GDPR-compliant way, respecting people’s privacy.
On the other hand, Telcos, like any other corporate, also need startups. Even though there are a lot of new corporate ventures emerging in the regions, most corporate ventures fail due to improper corporate governance and processes of the support functions. In addition, most of the new talents in data and 5G would come from the new generation; and a corporate structure would not interest this talent. Check out Pedro notes on top 25 mistakes corporate make in advance analytics programme
5G is one of the most exciting untapped opportunities. While the opportunities are enormous, some challenges prevail, including phasing out cookies. While telco leads this effort, startups and corporations can work together to accelerate this growth.