Belgian operator Proximus is opening a dedicated space for enterprise customers to work with the company on developing 5G applications specific to their businesses. The 5G innovation platform allows businesses to try out their 5G use cases and validate the applications at minimum investment.
The first project, for the Belgian smart-glass company Mr. Watts, is creating a product that will give construction companies the means to visualize buildings via Building Information Modeling (BIM). Proximus and Mr. Watts are developing an application for visualizing spatial divisions, ground levels, 3D models and digital twins, in order to scale building designs in context.
The project was announced in October and is now ready to start. Proximus said the launch underlines its ambition to be a leader in 5G innovation, in cooperation with partners and through co-creation with customers. Customers can connect from anywhere to the dedicated innovation environment, using an independent 5G configuration in Proximus data centers. There is also a 5G workspace at Proximus’ offices in Brussels.
Proximus offers 5G throughout Belgium using dynamic spectrum sharing with the 4G/LTE network. In certain locations, it also offers 5G on the 3.5 GHz band.
The concept of co-creation with customers is a strong one, in line with the trend toward bespoke services of many kinds within the mobile telecom space. While many operators have created custom networks—including 5G networks—for clients, Proximus is going even further by encouraging enterprise customers to work with them to design 5G-enabled applications that are specific to their businesses.
By doing this, the operator is making sure not to occupy a passive position amid the rollout of 5G but rather to actively cultivate relationships that will lead to the creation of sophisticated products for which 5G connectivity is essential. Co-creating 5G applications ensures not only uptake of 5G network services and maximization of the network but also enhanced prestige and market relevance for Proximus. Rather than simply being customers, companies will become partners in a dynamic two-way relationship. And the resulting products, such as the architectural visualization application, will be particularly highly valued because they are purpose-built for the client. The ability to try out use cases for new concepts at small scale, initially, so that companies need not invest too much before they are sure the concept will suit their needs, should be especially persuasive to prospective partners.
If the innovation platform thrives, it will constitute perhaps the ultimate example of a value-added mobile product, which is what operators are increasingly striving for in an era when traditional, utility-like conceptions of mobile telecommunications are being supplanted.