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Sunrise: An Enterprise’s Digital Transformation Journey

By Robert Wigger, CBO of Sunrise

Sunrise is the largest non-state-controlled telecommunications company in Switzerland, providing individual customers and businesses with mobile, Internet, TV, and landline services. Sunrise services more than 3.5 million customers, making it the second-largest telecommunications company in Switzerland. Sunrise has successfully positioned itself as the leading challenger and aims to become the reputable telecommunications provider in Switzerland, while gaining market share and capitalizing on its strong position in the mobile market and its positive momentum in the Internet, TV, and B2B enterprise domains.

Sunrise has already launched the first End-to-End (E2E) standardized Swiss 5G network. 5G technology will facilitate future applications, including self-driving vehicles, the Internet of Things (IoT), and real-time production process control. With its ‘5G enables B2B’ vision, business customers will use 5G to replace wireline access and benefit from mobile broadband and VPN services, with up to 1 Gbit/s speeds.

Digital Transformation in Traditional Industries

Sunrise is one of the leading communications service suppliers for large and small businesses in Switzerland. Designed for business customers, Sunrise B2B provides a comprehensive range of services — including mobile services, connectivity devices (Internet, multi-site, in-house networking, and landline voice) and ‘Work Smart’ services that feature cloud-based apps and system integration — building an ‘Unlimited Mobile Workplace.’ Sunrise is focused on consistently providing high-quality services, and making B2B service simpler.

Sunrise continues to expand its services for business customers and has introduced cloud-based apps, the most advanced cloud-based Internet VPN, and Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) services. Sunrise also combines mobile and connectivity services, enabling landline calls over cloud-based apps with additional chat, email, video, file, and desktop sharing features. This service helps business customers work securely and conveniently from their mobile offices, and reduces costs by up to 65 percent.

For B2B customers, 5G-based mobile broadband solutions are important, as these solutions use wireless networks instead of fixed-line connections. Sunrise’s ‘First on 5G’ strategy supports business customers — especially those outside densely populated areas — by providing network services that do not require fixed wired connections. Sunrise, as Switzerland’s 5G pioneer, launched its second 5G network and the world’s first standardized 5G network at Laax Ski Resort, on Crap Sogn Gion Mountain (2,252 m above sea level).

Realizing Enterprise Digital Transformation through Innovation

Innovation is reflected in products, services, and convergence. Sunrise delivers success by emphasizing innovation, while delivering solutions that are customer-focused.

Sunrise provides large companies with tailored, scalable, secure telecoms solutions. Its solutions include professional services and support for customers on their journey toward digitalization and their transition to using cloud-based services. For small companies, Sunrise invests in expanding its portfolio of standardized, straightforward products, and strengthening direct and partner sales channels to increase its market reach.

Delivering attractive, innovative, flexible workplaces to its business customers, Sunrise uses its products and services to achieve its ‘Unlimited Mobile Workplace’ goal. Sunrise’s services are provided using Sunrise’s own expert resources, supported by strategic, selective cooperation with leading global partners.

Huawei is Sunrise’s long-term technological partner. The two companies collaborated on an early 5G demonstration in 2017. Sunrise publicly presented the live 5G network demo, providing a glimpse into the future of mobile networks with eye-opening experience showcases, such as the parallel provision of multiple 4K TVs, live 360-degree videos, and Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) use cases. Guests from business, politics and civic sectors, alongside the media, watched as the download data throughput reached 3.28 Gbit/s in the 3.5 GHz (band 42) frequency band — a world record.

But Sunrise did not stop there. After setting the 5G world record, Sunrise built the Sunrise Showcase — the Joint Innovation Center (JIC) — with Huawei, helping Sunrise put Switzerland’s 5G B2B business into operation.

  • 5G Green Farm: Smart Farm Detection Delivers More Production
  • Background: Swiss agriculture receives a lot of support from the government, and farmland accounts for 50 percent of the country’s total land mass. In recent years, there has been a clear trend to consolidate land (the number of farms has reduced by 10 percent, and the average farm size has increased by 10 percent). While the average farm area is now 20 hectares, the average number of employees per farm is just five. Inspecting 20 hectares of farm requires 60 person-days, and large-area patrolling work cannot be efficiently completed manually. In addition, 70 percent of Swiss farmers do not have specific agriculture training, meaning field inspection accuracy is typically poor, and excessive amounts of pesticides are sprayed. Now, however, drones can be used, requiring only 30 minutes to complete the task. This shows that automation and intelligence are becoming indispensable in the workplace.
  • Innovation: The 5G drone and the weeding robot automatically patrol fields. 5G’s high-bandwidth uplink (faster than 50 Mbit/s) enables large-capacity plant-protection images to be uploaded to the cloud in real time. In this manner, working efficiency is improved 200-fold, compared with traditional manual operation. 5G pipes support cloud GPU computing, real-time photo analysis, and efficient analysis report output in real time. Farmers can now immediately view farmland analysis reports on the platform, receive work plan recommendations, and plan drone paths. In addition, cloud software identifies areas of dead grass based on uploaded photos and directs the robot’s weeding actions in real time. As a result, working efficiency is improved 20-fold.
  • 5G Town: Bringing the Mountain to the People
  • Background: Tourism is an important industry in Switzerland. It has an annual revenue of CHF44.7 billion (US$45.6 billion), while the industry receives 19 million tourists annually, and provides 175,000 full-time jobs. Laax is the leading ski resort in Switzerland, with 235 kilometers of snow lanes, and 100 square km of snowfields. In summer, the mountain boasts scenic hiking spots, with 230 km of mountain bike tracks, and 250 km of hiking routes. In the last five years, however, the export-output value has stagnated, so promotion is necessary to attract visitors.
  • Innovations: Sunrise and Laax collaborated using 5G to promote scenic spots by shortening their virtual distance from people. They used drones to send 4K videos of local festivals and activities, breaking the monopoly of TV stations, and building 4K live broadcast platforms. Tourists can watch live broadcasts using the Laax app. Its network requirements included a 30 Mbit/s uplink bandwidth, and under 20 milliseconds latency. The VR scenic spot live broadcast used 8K VR 360-degree live streaming to provide crystal-clear scenic experiences to tourists. Sunrise and Laax also delivered new AR skiing experiences using AR skiing glasses that enable users to analyze skiing speeds, routes, and distances, while also enabling User-Generated Content (UGC) live broadcasting with family members and other skiers. 5G enables 4K live broadcasting, 8K VR live broadcasting, and new AR skiing experiences to bring scenic spots to tourists and attract more visitors through new promotion methods.
  • 5G Smart Manufacturing: Saving 30 Million Euros Each Year with 5G + Industry 4.0
  • Background: Manufacturing is the largest industry in Switzerland. Its annual output value is CHF340 billion (US$348 billion), exceeding 25 percent of Switzerland’s total GDP. Using its large bandwidth and low latency, 5G delivers wireless control, machine vision, Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) scheduling, and predictive maintenance in smart manufacturing scenarios. Switzerland’s manufacturing industry has been actively exploring 5G applications because of its own demand for wireless and intelligent evolution. For example, the pioneering technology company ABB is experimenting with industrial AI applications, based on 5G technology and machine vision with large bandwidths and low latency, to improve its automatic assembly production lines. At Seiko, the manufacturing enterprise best known for its watches, because of high-speed milling, excessive vibration may occur, resulting in poor milling rates. The failure rate can reach up to 25 percent. Predictive maintenance is important for Seiko because it significantly improves production and reduces the failure rate.
  • Innovations: Blade integration disks’ high precision requirements (1-10 microns) and high milling speeds (up to 1G) require an end-to-end, ultra-low latency (less than 10 ms). It is required to send monitoring data and return adjustment instructions. This is only possible with 5G. 5G and edge computing jointly implement the minimum E2E delay. The predictive maintenance supported by 5G greatly reduces the failure rate, saving 30 million euros (US$33 million) per plant per year. Users can also view analysis reports at any time using 5G tablets. Sunrise and Huawei provide 5G indoor coverage, Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) solutions, and E2E network integration. Manufacturing companies and partners provide software such as Seiko devices, sensors, data analysis apps, and dashboards. The combination of low latency 5G and AI enables predictive maintenance to help Seiko manufacturing reduce the failure rate, saving 30 million euros (US$33 million) per factory.

For these innovations, Huawei was the natural innovation partner for many reasons:

  • Huawei products and solutions cover a wide range, including fixed and wireless networks, intelligent computing, cloud, and AI. Carriers can cooperate with enterprises and verticals on their digital transformation journeys.
  • With a proven track record of over 30 years in the networking field, Huawei provides customers with the most extensive range of products, including WLAN, switches, routers, security devices, campus network controllers, and AI-based network analyzers. Huawei is an industry leader in offering advanced network technologies such as Wi-Fi 6. Huawei’s campus network products and solutions have been deployed in more than 100 countries and regions worldwide, serving countless customers in fields such as government, education, finance, and transportation.

Sunrise is a 5G pioneer. Connect, the independent network tester, awarded Sunrise the 2019 Innovation Award for its fast 5G network expansion, stating that “Sunrise takes off with 5G and brings fast Internet even to remote regions.” By the end of 2019, Sunrise was providing more than 384 cities and towns with 5G and successfully implementing its ‘5G for People’ scheme as an alternative to DSL. A series of measurements in parallel to the Connect mobile network test confirm that Sunrise has the best 5G network in Switzerland and the DACH region overall, with the widest coverage and fastest connections. A 5G analysis by RootMetrics by IHS Markit shows that Sunrise has the most extensive and fastest 5G network in Switzerland.

To meet the need for fast broadband Internet, Sunrise is currently building 5G in the 3.5 GHz range, with speeds up to 2 Gbps. Sunrise is progressing with its plan to secure Switzerland’s leading digital infrastructure position within Europe with 5G, and is continually supplying new cities and towns with the technology. 5G roaming has been commercially launched with leading partner networks in 2019. According to the BILANZ Telekom Rating 2019, Sunrise is the “Best Universal Provider for SMEs,” “Best Universal Provider for Large-Scale Companies,” and “Best Mobile Communications Provider for Business Customers.” Sunrise was also the overall winner of the Computerworld Top 500 Satisfaction Survey 2019 and was rated the “Best Telecom, Network, and Internet Provider.”

【Customer Testimonials】

“It is a privilege to count Huawei as a technology partner. Clearly, Huawei is the top innovator worldwide in the area of 5G technology. But in addition to its technical expertise, Huawei brings to the table an understanding of telco operators’ problems, a broad product portfolio, and critically, a ‘can do’ attitude to tackle difficult and complex problems. Furthermore, in all interactions, Huawei behaves as a truly committed partner.”

— Robert Wigger, CBO of Sunrise

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