HANNOVER, Germany–The current conversation around 5G is very much consumer-facing. If you attended Mobile World Congress Barcelona this year, chances are you heard more than once about the coming wave of 5G smartphones and hot spots. And while this is certainly an auspicious and ahead of schedule development, it’s far from what 5G will one day do.

Speaking to RCR Wireless News during the Hannover Messe industrial fair this week, Dell EMC’s Bryan Jones, senior vice president and general manager, Global OEM and IoT Solutions, looked beyond 5G in its current state and reflected on how Dell Technologies can enable 5G not just for service providers but across its entire customer base.

“There’s a very straight-forward, very telco-centric conversation we had around what’s the impact of 5G,” he said, recalling earlier internal meetings. “But if you stop there, you kind of miss the point of what 5G is going to deliver. I think the most interesting thing about 5G is the opportunity it’s going to provide for completely new developments and applications in any number of verticals–the ability to harness and gather data and process data in real time, redefine what the edge is and make real-time decisions. I think the most interesting part of 5G is all the things we haven’t thought about. What I’m really interested in is 5G as a building block of innovation.”

As it relates to industrial companies, 5G is an exercise is deriving actionable insight from massive amounts of data. Not to say that’s not possible today with other connectivity mediums, but 5G will remove barriers, Jones said.

He said many companies have collected data and monetized that data in one way or another. But, “There’s some disappointment in the traction of it, the impact of it. Technology is becoming less and less the barrier; it’s becoming the accelerant.” And with 5G poised to solve for the connectivity piece, “Then it’s the applications and turning information into insight. That’ll be more of the challenge going forward.”

Jones tied this into Dell Technologies’ four pillars of transformation–IT, security, workforce and application.

The workforce angle has come up throughout discussions at Hannover Messe. At a high level, the issue is an aging workforce with deep domain expertise transitioning out of a particular industry to be replaced, amid the major shift represented by 5G, with a mobile native Millennial worker.

If done correctly, companies can “take advantage of the knowledge you have, the aging expertise, then transfer it to the Millennial workforce,” Jones said.

He identified an interim timeframe wherein an older, highly-skilled worker can reap the benefits of digital transformation to become even better at their particular charge–“That’s where a lot of our IoT work is today.” But after this step in the digital transformation process, more challenges lie ahead.

“Just because that Millennial is digitally aware, has never not know the internet…You’re still not going to augment the extreme knowledge that a 30-year industry professional has. You’ve got to find a bridge between the two and give both of those a role in this digital transformation.”

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