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Deployment of advanced wireless networks in Australian enterprises is a key enabler to business transformation

Advanced Wireless Survey 2021, Australian edition

Deloitte’s recent study into advanced wireless networks explores enterprise adoption rates of 5G, Wi-Fi 6, and other related technologies across nine countries. In this first of two blogs, we look at how Australian network decision makers are responding and the key considerations for enterprises as investment ramps up. To explore the considerations for operators and services providers read our second blog.

Networking executives already regard 5G and Wi-Fi 6 as the most critical wireless technologies for their business initiatives—and their importance will continue to grow. In Australia, our survey shows 38% of enterprises are deploying 5G in parts of their business or enterprise-wide, and 54% are preparing to use or roll out pilots of 5G in the next 12 months. Looking ahead to 2024, all Australian survey respondents expect to deploy 5G in their enterprise based on its ability to improve and differentiate customer experiences, open the door to new products or services and drive efficiencies in business operations. This rapid shift is in part accelerated by the need for enhanced mobility for employees and staff working remotely during the pandemic, with 59% citing COVID had become a catalyst to invest more in their wireless network. A shift that is bound to continue even in a COVID vaccinated world.

Respondents are looking to spend an average of USD $53M on wireless networking, not including spectrum over the next three years. We are expecting enterprises to spend slightly more on cellular (53%) versus Wi-Fi (47%) and relatively consistent amounts on devices (27%), hardware (29%), software (24%) and installation (20%). Compared to global peers, Australian respondents are investing more in wireless networking with 59% suggesting COVID-19 has caused them to increase this investment compared with 50% from global. The additional funding is being funnelled into network resilience (73%), addressing new use cases (47%), new digital solutions (47%) and increased security (40%).   

Globally, 78% of respondents said advanced wireless networking will transform their companies within three years, with Australian organisations beating their global peers at 84%. Australian executives are also more optimistic on timelines with 39% of them suggesting next-generation wireless networking technologies (e.g. 5G and Wi-Fi 6) are likely to substantially transform their industries within one year. Leaders also stressed the impact these technologies will have on their businesses, with the top three motivations for adopting advanced wireless being to enhance innovation, improve operational efficiencies, and simplify interactions with customers. Network latency, data speed and coverage are considered as most important to achieving the benefits of advanced connectivity.

Key decision makers in enterprises must proactively evaluate and understand the performance of their current networks and their need for improved network technology to drive business outcomes. Fifty-nine per cent of respondents surveyed believed their current network infrastructure prevents them from addressing innovative use cases and 75% of them said that next-gen networks will be critically important for enhancing customer interactions in the next three years. This significant recognition is an important step forward for enterprises to assess their current wireless infrastructure and technology supporting their business.

Leading with use cases will help businesses focus on outcomes, drive viable solutions and justify their investments. Predictive maintenance, asset tracking and remote monitoring are the most relevant use cases organisations are targeting to leverage for machine-type communications. Security and fraud prevention, advanced customer experience and analytics were the highest-ranking customer networking use cases cited by our respondents.