Businesses believe 5G will be the most revolutionary network development, with nearly three-quarters (74%) of Australian executives saying the technology will benefit society as a whole, not just smartphone users, according to the results of a global study from Accenture.
Based on a survey of more than 2,600 business and technology decision makers across 12 industry sectors globally – including 200 in Australia – the study found over three-quarters (77%) of respondents agree 5G will allow them to become far more connected in what they do.
The report also revealed 80% of Australian decision makers believe 5G will create opportunities for new business models and monetisation opportunities, and provide productivity gains to their organisations, according to 75% of Australian respondents. A similar number (75%) agree 5G technology will let them monitor areas of their business, and assets, that they are unable to do so today, resulting in more efficient and effective processes.
“It’s clear that Australian businesses recognise the huge potential of 5G, with many ready to take advantage of the opportunity to connect all their assets into an intelligent enterprise, creating new business potential.” Jonathan Restarick, Communications, Media and Technology (CMT) Lead, Accenture Australia and New Zealand. “The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the increased relevance of this technology as more people work from home and many businesses move their products and services online. The accelerated – and in some cases permanent – digitisation brought about by the pandemic will see consumers, business, infrastructure, the economy and society transformed by 5G’s capabilities. Having the right strategy and strategic partnerships will be vital.”
Some businesses are beginning to realise that they require external support to unlock 5G’s potential. For instance, over three-quarters (76%) of Australian respondents said they need help to imagine the future possibilities for connected solutions with 5G.
5G security concerns
However, this optimism doesn’t eclipse security concerns around 5G. More than one-third (35%) of global respondents in the most recent survey expressed concerns around the security of 5G networks and connected devices, compared with 32% in last year’s survey. In addition, more than six in 10 global respondents (62%) in the latest survey expressed fears that 5G will render them more vulnerable to cyberattacks, and businesses believe that most of the risk will begin at the user level, whether that’s devices or people.
“When we talk about security within 5G networks, it presents a unique security challenge as more functions will be reliant on software and not hardware, and in fact, we are already now contending with some of these challenges in light of COVID-19,” said Joseph Failla, Security Lead Accenture Australia and New Zealand. “Australian executives believe 5G will make their employees feel safer and can help secure businesses however, the 5G network can present challenges around user privacy, managing multiple connected devices and networks, and service access and supply chain integrity.”
The survey suggests businesses are thinking ahead about to how to deal with these challenges, with three-quarters (74%) of respondents globally saying they expect to redefine policies and procedures related to security as 5G emerges.
Loudhouse Research, on behalf of Accenture, conducted interviews with 2,623 business and technology decision makers in December 2019 across 12 industry sectors in the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and Australia. The aim was to develop an accurate picture of business’ understanding of 5G, how they have adopted it so far, and what they perceive its potential impact to be. The interviews featured questions repeated from research published in 2019 — conducted in November and December 2018 — about the same topics, taking a deeper dive into security, consulting and monetisation this year.