Private 5G networks are hot right now, especially in the realm of Industry 4.0, and to rapidly enable critical capabilities for the sector – such as push-to-talk “walkie-talkie” communications, automated guided vehicles, always connected PCs and machine vision in predictive maintenance – Cisco and NTT have announced plans to collaborate to drive private 5G adoption across the automotive, logistics, healthcare, retail and public sectors.
To put the prospects for private networks into perspective, a recent study from ABI Research – the Private cellular network forecasts report – forecast that the revenue opportunity for private cellular networks would grow from almost $7bn in 2023 to more than $96bn by 2030, with integration services accounting for almost 50% of those revenues.
It said this underlined that a private cellular network for enterprises is a highly customised deployment that requires a high degree of expertise in integration and orchestration capabilities. The analyst said the market would be driven by 4G LTE deployment until 2030, when 5G connectivity will constitute most private cellular network deployments. Previously, this inflection point was expected in 2027-2028.
As part of their bid to cash in on this growing market, Cisco and NTT plan to co-innovate and jointly bring to market the technology and managed services that will enable enterprise customers to deploy private 5G successfully and achieve better business outcomes. The companies plan to accelerate edge connectivity through NTT’s Managed Private 5G solution, combined with Intel hardware, so that Cisco and NTT customers will be able to integrate “seamlessly” private 5G into their pre-existing LAN, WAN and cloud infrastructure.
Cisco and NTT have already begun coordinating on several customer deployments. In addition, the two companies are planning to power computer vision for product quality analysis, predictive analytics for manufacturing equipment functionality and maintenance, and autonomous vehicles for moving product on the factory floor using NTT’s internet-connected solutions.
For Cisco’s private 5G offer, NTT will provide network infrastructure design, deployment, run operations, use case development, device sourcing, compatibility and end-to-end testing.
“Together with NTT, we aim to help our enterprise customers accelerate digital transformation, with the power of 5G and Wi-Fi across IT and OT operations,” said Masum Mir, senior vice-president and general manager, provider mobility, at Cisco Networking.
“Our cloud-managed private 5G offers customers seamless integration with their enterprise network fabric along with common policy and zero-trust security architecture, helping to reduce technical, financial and operational risks associated with managing 5G networks, so they can focus on driving business agility and efficiency,” added Mir.
Shahid Ahmed, executive vice-president, new ventures and innovation, at NTT, said the move was a natural expansion of the cutting-edge capabilities and services NTT brings to market to help its global clients modernise their businesses.
“NTT and Cisco are building on our mutual commitment to build a simple-to-manage pure private network solution. As a premier systems integrator partner to Cisco, the two companies are well positioned to deliver a secure, reliable and future-proof private 5G network for our joint enterprise customers with global footprints,” added Ahmed.