Verizon Business: Bringing in the 5G revolution

Verizon Business: Bringing in the 5G revolution

Verizon Business’ SVP and Chief Product Officer Aamir Hussain discusses the role of 5G in the company’s digital transformation offering

Telecommunications giant Verizon’s Verizon Business division was restructured in 2019 in order to provide better services for its enterprise public sector and business customers, which range from SMBs to wholesale customers. As Aamir Hussain, the company’s SVP and Chief Product Officer explains: “We combine both wireless and wireline entities, products, and customer sets together for business, and in 2020 we generated around $31bn of revenue.”

The company’s success rests on its extensive investments in its own networks. “We've gone through a major transformation,” says Hussain. “We are making a huge amount of strategic investment in our network platform, solutions, people and processes. It’s now a place where partners and employees are innovating hugely on behalf of our customers. We are building a 21st century network, which is there for mobility or fixed networks. And we call that Broadband Anywhere.” On top of that, the company is spearheading the 5G revolution. “In terms of 5G, we’re making massive investments in the 160 megahertz nationwide C-band spectrum. We’re building that out to enhance our millimeter wave 5G investments and to give us the ability to provide fiber-like services to our customers.”

It’s thanks to this combined offering that the company is a leader in enabling digitalization. “We are very well positioned to be the digital transformation partner of choice for our customers,” says Hussain. “We enable the digital economy through our services, connectivity platform and solutions and we are totally focused on enabling customer digital transformation. That's what we do every day - enabling experiences and making them predictable so that our customers know what outcome they'll achieve. That means they can focus on their business while we focus on their communications suite.”

The possibilities of 5G are hard to overstate, and Verizon Business is dedicated to enabling its customers to take full advantage. “We see an immense opportunity to help our customers on their journey towards the fourth industrial revolution. Everybody is wanting to connect to the cloud and build innovative applications and connectivity is a cornerstone for everything. I believe that 5G is the mechanism that helps them get there.” There are a number of concrete capabilities connected to 5G. “What we call the ‘currencies’ of 5G, a set of performance attributes for this next generation of wireless connectivity include high-speed mobility, reliability, network energy efficiency, higher bandwidth, very low latency and the ability to connect a significantly larger number of devices to the network.  Imagine having all that in a technology that you can use to innovate in your own business.”

With its mm wave 5G network, available in parts of more than 65 US cities, customers are already experiencing speeds that reach beyond a gigabit per second. “We are well positioned as the 21st century platform for innovation and growth thanks to our 5G ecosystem. That’s not only in terms of connectivity, but also providing applications through partnerships on top of that platform.” But 5G is not just a technology for the future, and Verizon Business is already working on transformative real-world use cases. “We’re involved in the automation of inventory replenishment to ensure planogram compliance, and we’re adding tremendous value to manufacturing and logistics by helping large businesses streamline their operations with real-time machine vision applications. We also provide gaming companies with a platform that enables a rich, console-like experience on smartphones.”

Existing trends in digital transformation have only been supercharged by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and Verizon Business has risen to the challenge. “I really have seen five years worth of transformation in the last year, quite literally. That has also changed the behavior of our customers, our employees, and ourselves in terms of how we show up on behalf of society.” Customers are now urgently looking at how they can transform their networks, as Hussain explains: “De-centralization of resources, the densification of the network, adoption of mobility and cloud security, and virtualization are just a few of the trends we’re seeing. Businesses now want to use more advanced communications technologies. They want to use home networks and still remain secure and they want access to all of their corporate infrastructure in the cloud. We are helping provide all of those capabilities.”

Verizon Business’ work is enabled by the support of a number of key partners, slotting into the company’s conception of three product layers: connectivity, platform and solutions. “We're seeing a lot of customers move to the cloud,” says Hussain. “They're using the cloud for their communications needs. We, as a global services provider, have the opportunity to work with partners such as Genesys for our end customer contact center needs. We also work with Cisco across our portfolio to provide networking, collaboration and calling solutions to our customers as they migrate their businesses to the cloud – taking them out of IT closet and towards the edge.”

Partners are also a vital part of the company’s 5G provision, as Hussain explains. “Nokia, Samsung, and Ericsson are part of our 4G and 5G networks, and we continue to build with them. We are also building private networks with them, which will help enable  5G’s industrial automation capabilities.” On the solutions side, partners include the likes of IBM and SAP. “IBM has obviously their cloud offering. They also have AI and ML platforms, and we are working with them very closely to create the revolutionary industry of the future that allows our customers to be nimble and really helps them in their digital journey. We bring the network, we bring our security, advanced communications, IoT, and other things, and IBM provides the applications. We do the same thing with SAP. SAP has some fundamental vertical solutions in the retail and manufacturing segments that we combine as part of our 5G network and provide really innovative solutions to our customers.”

Another trusted partner is Mutualink. “Working together, Verizon and Mutualink can instantly provide interoperability to any public safety stakeholder and bridge voice, video systems, data, alarms and sensors (including body cameras and fixed sensors) to enable real time collaboration and 360 degree situational awareness to support our Verizon Frontline Responders,” says Hussain. “Verizon recently announced Verizon Frontline as a continuation of our commitment to public safety - Verizon has supported first responders for our entire 21 year history, leading the way on priority voice calls, virtual segmentation and network reliability. With well over 10 years of commitment  to first responders, Mutualink has led the public safety communications industry in the innovation of solutions for interoperable communications, and created the only platform available today that allows for the instant sharing of voice, video and data regardless of device or network.”

Aside from assisting its customers with COVID-19 disruption, Verizon Business has also embraced the changes it has wrought internally. “I started in Verizon in December of 2019, says Hussain. “And we went to work 100% from home in March of 2020. I haven't been back to the office since. Despite that being unthinkable a year or two ago, we've been very effective and have learned how to carry on with advanced communications and virtual meetings. We’ve figured out how to be much more effective working from home. That means additional communications with employees, and making sure that we are doubling down on emotional intelligence.” That experience has informed the solutions it offers customers. “We’ve begun to offer all kinds of secure work from home solutions. If we had taken that solution to a customer two years ago, they would have thought long and hard about adopting it. Now, our customers are driving us to create more and more solutions.”

Looking to the future, the company will continue to be guided by a number of key and unchanging principles. “The first is digital experience and putting the customer first. Second is simplification. The third is about focusing on life cycle, managing what's out there, not just building it and sending it out, but also enhancing it over time. Last is 5G leadership. 5G is our future. It helps us create leadership on many fronts - not only providing high-speed connectivity, but also creating new applications and experiences that can use the capabilities of 5G.” Hussain emphasizes that even despite its successes, Verizon Business is only at the middle point of a continuing journey. “We’ve built a great network. We have a great team, we have great processes, and now we need to enable others to come use us as a platform to innovate for their own businesses and their own solutions. That is key to our success. We are forging large partnerships, and we feel that we have the assets, we have the tools, we have the capabilities and the platform for us to innovate together with our partners and customers.”


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