Hytera, a leader in the Professional Mobile Radio (PMR) market, has recently been actively expanding its presence in the operator market. What do Hytera and operators have in store for the industry in the 5G era? During Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2021 (MWCS21), Dr Guan Bao, general manager of the broadband system business division at Hytera, revealed the mystery in an exclusive interview.
Seize the momentum: achieve mutual benefit for PMR enterprises and operators in the 5G industry market
5G brings a new market disruption, which opens a completely new ocean of opportunities. 5G brings enhanced mobile broadband experience to B2C consumers and inspires new value for industries.
Dr Guan Bao pointed out that Hytera is actively involved in the operator market for two reasons.
Firstly, the development trend of industries and the demands for business development have pushed Hytera to act. Whether 5G technology can achieve tremendous business success depends heavily on whether 5G can be widely utilised in vertical industry markets.
5G promotes the integration of public and private networks and creates greater market opportunities and higher requirements for conventional private network manufacturers. Overall, the opportunities outweigh the challenges. In the future, operators will be indispensable to the industry market.
As a leader in the conventional PMR market, Hytera needs to follow industry development trends and actively participate in the operator market.
Secondly, to expand business in the 5G industry market, the operators need PMR partners' support.
The industry market is relatively fragmented. There is a high demand for customised applications and services in each market segment. However, different industries have very different needs. This presents a new challenge for operators. As a manufacturer with rich experience in serving industry customers and a solid technological portfolio, Hytera is an indispensable partner for operators seeking to develop the 5G industry market.
For example, as a conventional PMR market leader, Hytera has nearly 30 years of vertical industry market experience. It has established more than 4,000 PMR networks and provided PMR solutions for over 15 million industry customers worldwide.
Almost three decades of exploration have enabled Hytera to accumulate extensive experience and a broad portfolio of technologies and recruit talent in marketing, R&D, production, engineering, and operations. These are vital tools for operators who are expanding into the 5G industry market.
In short, 5G has accelerated the digital transformation of the industry. In the face of the new 5G industry market, opportunities and challenges exist side-by-side. Hytera needs to accelerate the transformation and partner with operators. Also, operators need the support of PMR leaders like Hytera to implement 5G industry solutions in all industries jointly.
Dr Guan Bao believes that Hytera and operators are eager to co-create and collaborate, which is an inevitable result during industry development.
Play a positive role: build a bridge between operators and industry customers and provide more flexible business models
To expand the operator market, PMR manufacturers may need to change their strategies. In this regard, Hytera has already figured out the role it needs to play.
In the 5G era, operators will greatly expand their business scope. In addition to the conventional B2C market, the B2B and B2G industry markets have huge development potential and will become important business growth enablers for operators in the future. Dr. Guan Bao said that, as a leader in the conventional PMR market, Hytera will focus on the industry market and build a bridge between operators and industry customers based on its years of experience in the industry and its technological portfolio. This will promote the development of 5G industry applications.
5G usage scenarios are more extensive than ever and customers' requirements have become more highly differentiated. It is difficult for a single or a few manufacturers to meet such a great number of customised requirements. Manufacturers need mutual support and cooperation to provide flexible and cost-effective solutions. In other words, 5G places greater emphasis on network openness. Dr Guan Bao believes that an open system promotes division of labor and collaboration between industries. Deep integration of IT and CT accelerates the application of new technologies such as big data and artificial intelligence (AI) in 5G networks and drives all-around innovation.
Faced with these new trends, Dr Guan Bao revealed that Hytera will focus more on its flexibility of business models when expanding the business into the operator market. In addition to the conventional business model of providing customers with complete products and overall solutions, Hytera also attempts to provide new business models, such as offering technical services.
Based on its comprehensive capabilities in R&D, production, and engineering O&M, Hytera modularises and standardises existing core technologies to enable integration by operators, virtual operators, and other partners. This simplifies system integration and shortens its cycle time to meet the diversified requirements of the industry market.
In short, based on previous industry experience and its technological portfolio, Hytera will always focus on the industry market and adhere to the concepts of opening-up and mutual benefit. Hytera will adopt a more flexible business model to create greater value for partners and uphold efforts for sustainable, healthy, rapid development of the 5G industry.
A new arrival with deep roots in the operator market
It is the first attempt for the PMR expert Hytera to enter the operator market in the 5G era. However, this PMR giant is entering the operator market with extensive resources.
According to Dr Guan Bao, Hytera began R&D of 4G broadband PMR products as early as 2014. By 2016, Hytera provided industry customers with overall solutions worldwide, including applications, core networks, base stations, and terminals. Technically, these PMR products are evolved from public network standards and therefore meet most operator market requirements.
At the beginning of 2017, Hytera started to promote an MCS-based public network communication solution in the operator markets outside of China. Due to the differentiated strengths of public and private networks convergence, this solution has been well received and successfully applied by overseas operators worldwide.
Based on its 4G technology accumulation, Hytera began R&D for 5G-related products in 2018. Dr Guan Bao said that, according to the development strategy of 5G products, Hytera placed greater emphasis on the operator market requirements and actively participated in various tests organised by operators.
For example, the 5G core network developed by Hytera last year passed and exceeded the Open UPF test organised by China Mobile and China Unicom. In addition, Hytera's 5G Picocell products are undergoing various tests organised by operators. This fully demonstrates the core R&D capabilities of Hytera and its determination to cooperate with operators to deploy the private and dedicated networks for industry.
Furthermore, 5G boosts the development of open architecture networks. Dr Guan Bao said that Hytera will seize the opportunity to provide operators, integrators, equipment manufacturers, and other partners with comprehensive services by using a flexible business model. For example, last year, Hytera launched its 4G PCIe card business.
The high specifications, cost-effectiveness, open architecture, and easy integration of Hytera's products led to an opportunity to partner with top O-RAN manufacturers. Hytera provided them with mature 4G solutions and accelerated the R&D of 4G O-RAN single-mode products and 4G+5G dual-mode O-RAN products.
This saved many R&D costs for partners and fully demonstrated the advantages of labor division and collaboration in the open architecture. This year, Hytera will launch an O-RAN platform with standard architecture based on 4G PCIecards. This platform integrates complete clock synchronization features and 4G solutions and supports the extension to multiple 5G solutions. Partners can customise R&D on this platform.
According to Dr Guan Bao, based on its portfolio of 4G and 5G technology, Hytera has partnered with several mainstream operators in China and worldwide. A wide range of flexible cooperation models that include technical services and product integration have rapidly improved its partners' solutions and product integration capabilities. Also, Hytera has won the trust of partners by providing comprehensive manufacturing and engineering services. This year, Hytera will continue to implement more cooperative projects.
Cooperation in products and technologies won more partners for Hytera and further improved its solution integration capabilities to meet the PMR market's diverse needs better. Dr Guan Bao said Hytera will apply its 4G/5G dual-mode industry solutions in commercial use in the first half of this year. The solutions are more open and intelligent and can attract more partners to promote the rapid, healthy, and sustainable growth of the 5G industry market together.
Adhere to diversification and innovation to advance the development of the 5G industrial internet
Hytera has unique insight into the industrial internet field, a typical scenario in which 5G digital transformation of vertical industries.
Dr Guan Bao believes that the industrial internet is an essential scenario for the 5G industry. Pilot projects conducted in the last two years show that 5G industrial Internet is well-received. It has improved enterprises' production and operation efficiency and helped enterprises strengthen their competitiveness.
However, the pilot projects also exposed some problems, primarily due to the high construction and O&M costs of 5G networks and also due to the lack of applications and innovative business models. The input-output advantages are not apparent. To a certain extent, these problems restrict the large-scale promotion of the 5G industrial internet. Similar problems also exist in other vertical industries. Dr Guan Bao also believes that Hytera must find ways to better meet the enterprises' requirements and provide more cost-effective solutions during the 5G transformation in the industrial manufacturing field and its entire vertical industry.
Based on research and results from previous projects, Dr Guan Bao concluded that network openness needs to be further improved in the 5G industrial internet field to promote a more thorough and orderly labor division throughout the entire industry. Openness and full labor division can help enterprises reduce network construction and O&M costs and stimulate innovations in applications, operations, and business models to create more revenue.
Diversification and innovation are the keys to large-scale application of the industrial internet. Hytera will continue development based on its technology accumulation in 4G and 5G and its comprehensive capabilities in manufacturing and engineering O&M. Also, Hytera will deploy multiple flexible models such as machine integration and technical services to facilitate extensive cooperation.
Faced with new 5G industry applications, Dr. Guan Bao said Hytera will adhere to diversification and innovation concepts. Hytera will utilize its comprehensive strength in the market, R&D, production, and engineering to provide operators, virtual operators, integrators, and equipment manufacturers or partners with comprehensive and end-to-end technical service capabilities and innovative cooperation models. Also, Hytera will further increase investments in R&D, production, and engineering O&M as part of its efforts in advancing towards a rapid, healthy, and sustainable development of the 5G industry market.
Author: Philip Mason