In mid-March, tech innovators from all over the world gathered for the 5G Summit in Taipei to discuss the future of mobile network technology. This conference was significant for the tech community, as it’s poised to change not only mobile technology, but how we conduct business and connect with each other. It’s nearly impossible to overstate the impact 5G will have. That doesn’t mean the switch will be easy, though. Quite the contrary. Here are my three main takeaways from the summit, and what they mean for the future of your tech.
1. Taiwan’s role in the future of 5G
Deciding to hold the conference in the capital of Taiwan was no coincidence. Taiwan is renowned in the tech sector for leading design and manufacturing. In fact, just a month before the 5G Summit, Ericsson announced a strategic partnership with Quanta Computer, a Taiwanese leader in cloud computing. Together, they’ll be scaling design and developing data center solutions.
The companies present at the conference were some of the most cutting edge creators in technology today. They listened as the world’s leading telecom service providers, including Vodafone, Verizon, Bell Canada, China Mobile, Orange, and Telecom Italia, discussed their requirements for specific 5G services and use cases. The presentations emphasized that the transition to 5G will bring communication and computing together in a way we’ve never seen before, and that Taiwanese companies are positioned to play a huge part in the rollout and success of 5G.
2. A game changer
The technology involved in 5G will require small cells that connect to billions of embedded devices, and many Taiwanese companies attended the event looking to get a head start in development of 5G hardware and software.
Earlier this year at Mobile World Congress, Intel announced plans to collaborate with several industry leaders in an effort to accelerate the path to 5G. In fact, the connection between these two events is strong. How 5G services and requirements will differ depending on the vertical market and use cases was a discussion that started at Mobile World Congress and continued at the 5G Summit.
Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) made a point in their presentation to emphasize that it will take a lot of work to identify unique 5G use cases and related KPIs worldwide. The low latency requirements in automotive, for example, could likely be significantly more stringent than in a typical consumer use case.
3. Transforming the network
Throughout the conference, one message was repeated over and over: 5G networks have to transform to allow easier deployment through software-defined networks (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) that can run on standard servers. This was especially interesting to me since Intel is actively engaging with service providers and the SDN/NFV ecosystem. We’ll be opening another NFV customer engagement center in Taipei in the second quarter of this year.
There was also a consensus among speakers and attendees that 5G and LTE will coexist. One presentation specified chip package size and power consumption, which gave something for the Taiwanese hardware companies to consider. But in order for these technologies to coexist, services and corresponding devices must be designed to aggregate bandwidth while maintaining reasonable power consumption. The most interesting message from several participants cautioned avoiding pre-standard solutions.
It was exciting to participate in the 5G Summit this year. I can’t wait to see how this technology transforms business and enables bigger leaps in technological innovation. Did you attend the conference? Please, share your takeaways.
- Who do you think is going to be first to rollout standards-based 5G service?
- Which verticals and use cases do you think will drive the fastest commercial adoption and where?
- What leading companies in these verticals will benefit the most from 5G?
Given the healthy competition to be first among operators and countries, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out.