What to Expect from Private Cellular Networks and Cloud Computing at Hannover Messe?

Subscribe To Download This Insight

By Leo Gergs | 2Q 2024 | IN-7292

As the largest industrial trade show in the world, the annual Hannover Messe industrial trade show is an important seismograph of what is happening within industrial verticals like manufacturing, energy generation, or logistics. This ABI Insight discusses ABI Research’s expectations on how (private) cellular connectivity and cloud technologies will feature on the show floor in Hannover in April 2024. Based on this, this ABI Insight offers actionable recommendations to the telco industry on key implications for them and how to embrace this value proposition.

Registered users can unlock up to five pieces of premium content each month.

Log in or register to unlock this Insight.


An Introduction to Hannover Messe


As the largest annual industrial trade show in the world, Hannover Messe is an important seismograph of what is happening within industrial verticals like manufacturing, energy generation, and logistics. With a total of 4,000 expected exhibitors and 200,000 expected attendees—most of them from industrial verticals—the show is an important opportunity for the telco industry to understand how connectivity technologies are deployed on enterprise floors. A point in case, the 2019 edition saw the inauguration of the 5G Alliance for Connected Industries and Automation (5G-ACIA) at a specifically dedicated exhibition space, the 5G Arena. Furthermore, it offers important insights into the burning topics of today’s industrial world: what pain points are they trying to solve through improved connectivity or cloud computing and how does this affect both technology capabilities and messaging?

In other words, while shows like the GSMA’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) are an important opportunity for the telco world to come together, implementer events like Hannover Messe arguably are more important for the industry to show presence, initiate dialogues with (potential ) implementers, and absorb the dynamics on the show floor.

What Roles Will Cellular Connectivity & the Cloud Play?


In years past, Hannover Messe have been a somewhat painful reality check for private cellular connectivity and cloud computing technologies, but this year’s edition is expected to represent connectivity in a different, more realistic context. After all, connectivity in itself has never been at the forefront of industrial enterprises’ mindsets. Digitization and automation of production workflows are becoming more data hungry, requiring more compute capabilities both at the (on-premises) edge and the cloud. This places a stronger emphasis on the connectivity element, as high availability and reliability are of utmost importance.

Therefore, the 2024 edition of Hannover Messe will see connectivity and compute domains moving closer together, and will feature more presentations and announcements combining the capabilities of 5G connectivity with edge & cloud computing to enable large-scale deployment of Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications and improved analytics capabilities.

  • In February 2024, NTT Data and Schneider Electric announced a strategic partnership to push the boundaries of AI innovation at the edge, integrating cutting-edge technologies like edge, Private 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), and modular data centers. This strategic partnership introduces a unique solution that seamlessly integrates these technologies, providing unparalleled connectivity and support for the computational demands of generative AI applications deployed at the edge.
  • At MWC in Barcelona in February 2024, AT&T announced that it would begin to route commercial traffic into Microsoft's Azure Operator Nexus platform starting later this year, thereby delivering on an announcement made a few years ago.
  • In June 2023, T-Mobile and Goggle Cloud announced that they would join forces to combine the power of 5G and edge compute, giving enterprises more ways to embrace digital transformation. T-Mobile will connect the 5G Advanced Network Solutions (ANS) suite of public, private, and hybrid 5G networks with Google Distributed Cloud Edge (GDC Edge) to help customers embrace next-generation 5G applications and use cases.

Furthermore, Hannover Messe will provide an opportunity for interesting new connectivity initiatives to present themselves. Among the most interesting to watch will be a new a new initiative from the DECT Forum called NR+, which stands for a new wireless technology known as DECT NR+ or DECT-2020 NR and was developed as the world's first non-cellular 5G technology. This technology will use 5G’s New Radio (NR) interface, but will exist outside of The 3rd Generation Partnership Project’s (3GPP) standards. While the prospect of commercial traction remains slim, it will be interesting to see how the discussion will be received on the show floor.  

Looking at the logistics of the show, Hannover Messe will feature a dedicated 5G and Industrial Wireless Arena once again. But, as in previous years, the discussion around connectivity technologies will not be confined to that area alone. On the contrary, the tight integration of connectivity and compute elements will shift the commercial discussion to where manufacturers go for their factory automation solutions in halls 5 to 9. The growing convergence of compute and connectivity domains will make it more important for telco industry players to present a strong ecosystem of partners, both when it comes to compute/data integration and enterprise application/end-device domains.

So, What Does This Mean for the Telco Industry?


Consequently, System Integrators (SIs), as well as actors from the traditional telco industry, will need to be prepared to leave their comfort zone (both figuratively and physically speaking) and engage in discussions that are closer to enterprises’ minds, centering around applications and concrete outcomes. To do so, they will need to embrace several initiatives/activities:

  • Leveraging Cloud and Edge Computing: Integrating 5G with cloud and edge computing is critical for delivering high-performance, secure, and reliable services. This convergence enables new use cases at the edge, such as industrial control systems and Extended Reality (XR), offering telco players an opportunity to tap into new revenue streams.
  • Understand Enterprise Cloud & Edge Computing Requirements: To be able to leverage these capabilities successfully, telco vendors and service providers will need to develop a thorough understanding of the nature of enterprise use cases and how they translate to different requirements toward cloud solutions. This will include requirements toward a hybrid cloud solution (and how to address use cases with different criticality ratings within the architecture) and possible sovereign cloud requirements.
  • Drive the Ecosystem Development: In all of this, the telco industry needs to understand that they are not alone, but they are instead reliant on partners for application development and system integration. Building an ecosystem around 5G, involving hyperscalers, third-party solution providers, robot makers, and smart factories, can create a new, viable ecosystem for mobile operators. This approach is crucial for developing the Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) market, estimated to grow significantly, with Asia experiencing the fastest growth. It allows customers to run networks in isolation, when necessary, coupled with managed Information Technology (IT) services, offering a unique competitive advantage​.

In light of ongoing geopolitical tensions and harsh macroeconomic conditions, enterprises strive for digitization and automation solutions more than ever before as a means to ensure their short-term profitability and long-term survival. As this increases the popularity of highly reliable wireless connectivity, manufacturers will be more receptive to private cellular connectivity. The telco industry needs to plan for this opportunity and anticipate the nature of discussions with industrial enterprises. This is why it is arguably much more important than in previous years to present a thorough understanding of enterprise pain points, and showcase a strong ecosystem play with hyperscalers, application developers, and factory automation vendors to capture this opportunity.


Companies Mentioned