The value of 5G comes from ‘giving voice’ to the internet of things
LAS VEGAS–As hybrid, multi-cloud IT strategies gain adoption by enterprises, including communications service providers, 5G is “knocking on the door,” according to K.C. Choi, Dell EMC’s SVP of Global Systems Engineering. And that transition will make applications like remote surgery, flawless virtual reality and autonomous vehicles possible.
But what does that mean for the telcos charged with delivering on the hype of 5G–enhanced mobile broadband, massive Machine-type Communications and Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications? Intel’s Caroline Chan, VP of the Data Center Group and GM of the Network Business Incubator Division, identified a shift from single-function to general-purpose hardware as creating a more “flexible” network.
Recalling her time with Nortel, Chan said, “The learning that I got from that is it’s very difficult to predict the future. If you build something for just one thing…you do narrow somewhat your path.” Given trends toward virtualization, multi-cloud, edge computing and white box telco hardware, “The fundamental equipment that you’re putting in to serve that, it all becomes multi-purpose.”
Chan, in conversation with moderator Jonathan Zittrain, George Bemis Professor of International Law at Harvard Law School, also discussed the potential for 5G to drive economic growth based on new levels of productivity and discussed the prominent characterization of 5G leadership as a race.
Giving the example of China’s transformation, evidenced by construction of highways for autonomous and connected cars, Chan said, “It’s about an economy that went from this to that. 5G bullets you to actually lifting up some countries’ economies. That’s why you see all this discussion around who’s ahead.”
John Ellis, founder and managing director of Ellis and Associates who formerly developed connected car capabilities with Ford, discussed his experience in the automotive segment and applied it more broadly to the impact 5G will have across industries.
He said Ford’s work combining sensor data with connectivity and attendant consumer experiences laid the groundwork for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay to drive the connected car industry forward. In the context of a vehicle as one of many mobile devices that will enter everyday use, Ellis said one of the biggest benefits of 5G is to “suffuse wireless connectivity into anything,” giving “voice” to walls, carpet, seats and even the thread that makes our clothing.
“We’re moving into a world where soon it will be almost impossible to build anything that’s not connected,” Ellis said. “As a wireless person,” given link budgets and other factors, “that scares me.” But “5G solves that. The biggest thing is the ability to give voice to so much.”
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