WASHINGTON, D.C.–5G networks are the key to more immersive, seamless connections across device types, according to John Godfrey, SVP of public policy for Samsung.
Speaking at the DC5G conference, Godfrey outlined Samsung’s vision for a 5G world: a connected, seamless experience across multiple device types and settings, from the home to the road to the enterprise environment.
“It’s really cool technology, but nobody deploys technology just because it’s cool,” he said, adding “what we need is real business cases for the private sector investment in 5G that’s going to bring it to reality. For Samsung, the first answer to the question about the killer app is honestly, that 5G is going to transform the way we interact with technology.”
Samsung is a major player in multiple device markets, he noted, from smartphones to home appliances and televisions, and even in vehicles, from its investment in Harman two years ago.
“We know a lot about how people interact with their devices, but it is not currently a seamless, integrated experience — it’s a number of individual experiences,” Godfrey said. “A lot more needs to be done to integrate this into one experience of technology, and that’s what Samsung is working on.”
He said that Samsung is working with partners and developers to create experiences and applications for an integrated 5G world, with the goal of enabling seamless, multi-device experiences in the next few years and bringing connectivity to all of the half a billion devices it makes each year — and it is already 90% of the way there, he said.
Beyond just connecting devices, Godfrey added, “to bring this to life, you need big data analytics. You need to process a lot of data about how people are using technology.”
“5G truly is at the center of this transformation,” Godfrey said. “We don’t use technology just when we’re sitting at home on the couch, in the kitchen or in the car. We use technology throughout the day. We are mobile beings, so you need a network that can connect you everywhere you go.”
5G, he said, will be like “having fiber in your pocket.”
Godfrey spoke of three levels of scale for 5G network deployment: the neighborhood scale/campus scale/enterprise scale; corridor scale between cities; and a national scale, which he said is more likely to be achieved at lower frequencies than millimeter wave.
“The key is to match use cases with the scale of deployment,” said Godfrey, so that operators can earn revenue regardless of which scale they deploy at initially. He also said that the three levels of scale don’t necessarily mean that 5G will be deployed from smallest-to-largest; the three levels of scale will “proceed in parallel, because there are different applications for different levels of scale.”
At the neighborhood scale, he said, use cases include fixed residential wireless such as that deployed by Verizon in four cities. Godfrey showed a video that highlighted sleek, small Samsung boxes — about the size of a child’s backpack, he said — deployed on light poles in residential neighborhoods in Sacramento, California, one of Verizon’s first 5G Home launch cities. Home automation is another “neighborhood scale” 5G use case, he added, as well as smart community applications such as sensors for public safety and “enhanced public events.” Samsung, he noted, outfitted a baseball stadium in Japan with 5G technology to provide a unique entertainment experience in the venue.
At the corridor level, Godfrey pointed to connected transportation applications: both in terms of individual connected vehicles with safety and infotainment options, as well as high-speed internet connections for trains and wireless backhaul connections from city to city.
On a national scale, he said, you can “really begin to open up some new applications”: such as drone delivery services, cloud-based training, and remote command and control of various systems.
Despite some beginnings of concrete deployments and likely possibilities for how 5G will be used, Godfrey said, there is also the unknown killer app — where some entrepreneur finds a way to tie together the high speeds, low latency, cloud computing and artificial intelligence capabilities of 5G into unanticipated new applications or services. The industry doesn’t know for sure what those applications are going to be, he said, but they know it will happen.
“We know this, because that’s what happened with 4G,” Godfrey said.