Women Leaders in Communications Come Together To Discuss The Responsible 5G Revolution We Need

The rollout of 5G will open immense possibilities for consumers, organizations, and employees. Women leaders in the Communications and Media industry express how this will call for the responsible use of technology. 

“Imagine a patient in critical condition is traveling to the medical center in an ambulance. Those are crucial moments between life and death. There is no time to lose, and the treatment must start right away. Thankfully for the patient, the 5G Connected Ambulance (that was the outcome of a collaboration between Cisco, Airtel and Apollo Hospitals and demonstrates the Future of Healthcare) acts as an extension of emergency room and is equipped with the latest medical equipment, patient monitoring applications, and telemetry devices that transmit the patient health data to the hospital in real-time. The doctors can also virtually guide the paramedics team in the ambulance to conduct basic lifesaving procedures while he is enroute to the hospital. The patient is not just in an ambulance but in an emergency room on wheels, powered by a 5G connection.”

This was the interesting example that Shilpi Jhunjhunwala Patnaik, Head of Business Operations & Global Analytics, Customer Experience (CX) India at Cisco used, to introduce the idea of responsible innovation that 5G can bring us.

In the telecom industry, the expectations around 5G services and the impact the rollout will have on consumers as well as businesses, have been a major talking point in the last couple of years. However, with great power comes great responsibility, and we brought together women leaders in the Communication and Media industry (C&M) to connect with each other and discuss how responsible innovation is going to be key to 5G and its industry evolution.

Surfing the new wave of digitization with women leading in telecommunications

On 23rd September 2022, leading women from the C&M Industry met at a Power Huddle, ‘5G in the Communications and Media Industry: The Next-Gen Enabler for Innovation, a roundtable organized by Women’s Web in association with Accenture to create a dialogue on this new wave of digitization.

The exclusive, two-hour-long virtual engagement focused on what established and emerging women leaders from companies such as Accenture, Reliance Jio, Vodafone, Capgemini, Cisco, Tech Mahindra, and others think about the impact of the 5G rollout on the different avenues and aspects of the telecom industry. It was an opportunity for women to come together and connect with their peers in the industry, accompanied by a few male allies strongly invested in making the industry more inclusive.

In the proceedings, the necessity of responsible innovation gained prominence – how should 5G be designed responsibly and be a network that caters to the complex problems in society? Here’s what the next-gen leaders shared on their future vision.

Trust building needs to be collaborative

A fast-working network like 5G will deliver essential services while adding value. It will fulfill critical tasks such as social welfare, boost industrial presence, and be a source of income for many. The demand for the network’s stability will be high. Inevitably, it will also result in  more databases that will hold confidential and relevant information related to our personal and professional lives. Trust in the network will be crucial because updating to 5G will mean an evolution beyond a simple internet connection.

In this leap, the collaboration of the C&M industry, the Government, and the IT industry will be necessary. The collaboration of government-regulatory, telecom, and technological organizations will be essential to ensure the security of the network and the availability of a safety net in case of any slip-ups. The coming together of the trio was recognized as a paradigm shift during the roundtable and one that would be a pivotal step towards securing responsible innovation.

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Kaveri Ingale, Global Head of Transitions and Strategic program at Vodafone (VOIS), pertinently stated, “We are talking about collaboration rather than competition and having a holistic regulated model. This is a huge responsibility and will lie not only with the telecoms (because we must justify the investments being made) but also other stakeholders, namely network, infrastructure, digital, tech, equipment vendors etc. Eventually, it’s about being able to provide your expertise into the end-to-end value chain and profitably so.” A healthy collaboration of the trio will go a long way.

Progress with a purpose

With astute imagination and thoughtful execution, the higher broadband service of 5G can bring multifold progress. For instance, tackling connectivity problems in low-network areas can strengthen digital access to prominent spaces like education, healthcare, and research. A stable network can also help inventors and entrepreneurs build realistic technological concepts. Such innovations could range from an application that helps us track our contribution to climate conservation to software that analyzes market conditions quickly. It will also strengthen the far-reaching possibilities for Artificial Intelligence.

Sonia Verma, Senior Manager at Accenture Capability Network Comms & Media, believes, “Learning from use cases is definitely a part of evolution. We need to ask users about their experiences to understand what revolution 5G is going to bring. Certainly in terms of implementation, how we do it is very crucial. If we can bring along this concept in difficult geographies that are isolated and even rural areas, in an affordable manner, it would be amazing for the human race.” 

Building a people-first product

The C&M industry is responsible for giving its consumers high-quality products at reasonable prices. It is a well-known fact that Indians currently pay among the lowest prices in the world for internet connectivity, and the power to pay higher is unlikely to rise dramatically. This puts the onus on telecom providers to balance price expectations with providing a satisfactory user experience. Users would expect a smooth transition from 4G to 5G and want their 5G-enabled handsets to be well optimized. At the same time, telecom providers, like any other business, have to meet their own revenue and profitability expectations. Industry partnerships between telcos and software-hardware providers are going to be therefore critical for building people-first products and services that also enable the industry to meet its goals.

5G and the push for employment

Anil Jain, Managing Director, Accenture Capability Network Comms & Media, put forth the whooping developments 5G will bring to the job market. He stated, “5G will open as many as 40 million new jobs and opportunities in the sector, but as we reiterate it, it will also bring great responsibility. The new opportunities will call for employees skilled not just in the technicalities of telecommunications but also those who have a holistic understanding of the impact of 5G.” In his words, those finding employment in fields related to telecom will need to adopt a “software mindset, which will soon also become a way of life.”

The industry will also get to give back to society through its CSR vertical. With better connectivity, companies can use technology to include an even higher number of individuals in their goals. Organizations can also explore social contributions in the fields of agriculture and manufacturing. Companies can also train individuals all over India to better grasp the skills needed to gain employment in the 5G industry.

Coming up with end-to-end solutions to turn 5G into a capable and resourceful product will take time. With the collection of use cases, evident-rich data, and insightful case studies, the industry will have its inferences. There is no doubt that multiple ideas are ticking in the heads of our next-gen leaders, and with support, they will be the creators of responsible realities.

Image source from Mentatdgt on Pexels

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About the Author

Rhea Sakhardande

I am a researcher working toward understanding the complex fabric of society. I have a Master's degree in Sociology and am currently exploring Diversity and Inclusion in corporate spaces. read more...

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