In a test carried out by uVue, a drone was successfully operated over BT’s pre-5G network slicing testbed at BT Labs, Martlesham in Suffolk.
The network slice (which is a virtual network partitioned away from the main network with dynamically allocated resources), apparently worked perfectly, with Maria Cuevas, BT’s Head of Converged Core Network and Services Research noting that:
“The demonstration was most effective in showing that we are able to protect a private ‘slice’ of the network for uVue’s drone as the rest of the network was deliberately overloaded. The slice allocated to drone control remained perfectly functional and stable, enabling the drone to remain responsive to the pilot’s control at all times.”
And this wasn’t just a fluke, as well over 100 flights were executed, proving that this is a viable method of drone control.
And not only is it viable, but also advantageous, as it allows drones to operate with existing air traffic control systems, and even in its pre-5G state is capable of streaming high-definition video from the drones across the network at low latency – in this case allowing the footage to be displayed to an audience.
Russ Delaney, Director of Tech Ops at uVue, an ex-British Army helicopter instructor and drone pilot summed up the potential, saying:
“I was delighted at how responsive the drone control was over the mobile network and at how reliable the private slice was. Delivery of real-time low latency HD video footage back over the network provided a completely new standard for ‘eye in the sky’. This is a key milestone in UAV development, showing that cellular networks have immense potential to provide uncompromised drone control and hence air safety.
The video below simply shows a uVue drone demonstration, not connected to the trials performed at BT Labs.
3 UK seeks High Court review of 5G auction rules – Mobile World Live 3 UK seeks High Court review of 5G auction rules – Mobile World Live
3 UK is set to launch a legal challenge against Ofcom’s rules for an upcoming 4G and 5G spectrum auction, which the operator said fails to address competition concerns.
A company representative confirmed it notified Ofcom of its intent to seek a judicial review in the UK’s High Court. It expects the process to be complete by early 2018 – a timeline it said would not impact the country’s 5G rollout timetable.
However, as the UK’s auctions for 4G and 5G spectrum were scheduled to be held by the end of 2017, legal action would significantly delay the allocation process.
In a statement, the company representative said: “It is absolutely vital that the regulator gets this auction right for the long-term benefit of all consumers. For a relatively short process, we feel it is a proportionate response to request an independent review of Ofcom’s proposal, which we feel unduly puts at risk its stated objective of a competitive four-player market and is to the detriment of UK consumers.”
The move comes as little surprise. 3 is a long-term critic of the division of spectrum in the UK and threatened action if Ofcom failed to address the market dominance of BT and Vodafone with its auction rules.
In its subsequent announcement, the regulator said it would impose a spectrum cap to limit the participation of the UK’s largest operators in the 3.4GHz band – earmarked for 5G. Its new rules also effectively banned EE from bidding on 40MHz of 2.3GHz spectrum also set to be allocated.
Following the announcement, 3 slammed Ofcom for not going far enough, with CEO Dave Dyson describing the rules as a “kick in the teeth” for consumers.
Although Telefonica’s O2 UK was also critical of Ofcom’s new guidelines, it appeared to rule out legal action, highlighting the importance of pressing ahead with the auction quickly.
Arqiva, the leading UK communications infrastructure company, has today announced its acquisition of an additional 28GHz spectrum licence from intelligent managed services provider, Luminet.
The Region A licence for 2x 112MHz covers Central and Greater London and bolsters Arqiva’s existing nationwide spectrum band ownership.
The 28GHz spectrum band is the standard band used for 5G connectivity trials in the USA, Japan and South Korea focused on Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) – offering promise for future 5G implementations in the UK.
The next key milestone in 5G deployment will be March 2018 when the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) completes Release 15. This will be the first standardisation of 5G, paving the way for FWA to be the first commercial release of 5G technology.
This commercialisation of 5G standards will allow vendors and operators to deploy at scale an ecosystem that spans from chip-set to network equipment on a global basis, therefore driving further economies of scale.
Nicolas Ott, Managing Director of Telecoms and M2M at Arqiva, commented:
“5G connectivity is a highly debated topic, especially with regards to what it will deliver and by when. However, the FWA component is set for a head start thanks to the drive from major global fixed line and mobile operators as both a substitute and a companion to traditional fibre services. 3GPP certification is critical to achieving global acceptance.
“5G FWA is an exciting opportunity to deliver true ultrafast broadband above 500Mbps to millions of households; this is especially relevant in the UK where so few households are connected by fibre to the home (FTTH) or fibre to the cabinet (FTTC). FWA has the ability to become a truly alternative technology to deliver fibre-like services.
“In purchasing this additional licence we are able to further our ambitions in this area, standing ourselves in good stead to deliver a compelling 5G FWA wholesale service to UK mobile and fixed operators across the country, and with even more capacity in Greater London.”
Arqiva is set to conduct the UK’s first 5G FWA field trial, in partnership with Samsung, in London this summer. Using the 28GHz band, the trial will explore the possibilities of ultra-fast, high bandwidth connectivity via wireless technology rather than conventional wired services.
Sasha Williamson, CEO, Luminet, added:
“The advent of 5G is set to be one of the most exciting digital developments of the decade, and we will be following Arqiva’s trial with interest.
“Divesting the spectrum was a strategic business decision for Luminet as we continue to build on our existing 400Sqkm London network and enhance our focus on wholesale for our intelligent GB connectivity and computing services.”
Mobile network operators have a massive opportunity as 5G’s final form begins to take shape, but they also face increased competition in the shape of new players from different industries.
That’s the conclusion of a recent report on the state of 5G by international management consulting firm Arthur D Little.
The report claims that for the first time, mobile operators have the chance to offer more than mere connectivity to companies with the jump to 5G. “We expect 5G to support the strategic shift of telecom operators from being predominantly providers of high-speed connectivity, to becoming true enablers of next-generation ecosystems,” it says.
As the report points out, 5G is already beginning to take shape through various global pilot schemes and testbeds. In particular, it identifies five distinct 5G rollout models that are already being used by operators around the world:
Gigabit broadband to residential homes (also known as Fixed Wireless Access)
Next-generation mobile experiences such as virtual reality and tactile internet (eg. solving physical problems remotely in real time over a wireless connection)
Providing reliable, low-latency connectivity for corporations
Digital industrial ecosystems with machine-to-machine connectivity
Next-generation infrastructure-as-a-service for the country
However, besides this massive opportunity to expand their influence, mobile operators need to be wary of new threats from other industries. There are non-telecom players that are are already active in the 5G-enabled product space, running pilots in such related fields as autonomous driving and virtual reality infotainment services.
Perhaps the biggest threats to telecoms companies are giant tech companies like Google, Apple and Amazon. These major players are heavily active in the Internet of Things, which is expected to be both a major beneficiary and driver of 5G. It would be a logical step for such cash-rich companies to launch 5G-based solutions of their own in order to help support their IoT initiatives.
The report therefore concludes that “Telecom operators should move quickly to place their stakes in the 5G ground”. It then lists a range of concrete steps that they can take now to achieve this.
These steps include building an application ecosystem with start-ups and service providers, preparing the spectrum and infrastructure for 5G (such as the hundreds of thousands of small cells that will be required), ensuring physical networks are ‘fiberised’ so that they can assist in aggregating and backhauling 5G traffic, preparing their computer systems to handle this gigabit traffic, and finally by “cloudifying the core” to enable easy scale-up and external partnerships.
EE first UK mobile operator to showcase ‘pre-standard 5G’ backhaul capability, using its patent pending 4G air mast
26GHz test spectrum used to carry traffic from 4G air mast as part of Adastral Park Innovation Week event
‘Pre-standard 5G’ backhaul solution increases 4G speeds and lowers latency
EE, the UK’s largest mobile network operator and part of the BT Group, has become the first UK provider to successfully demonstrate pre-standard 5G backhaul technology, using it to connect its unique Helikite ‘air mast’ mobile coverage solution.
EE’s patent-pending Helikite solution uses mini mobile sites attached to a helium balloon to provide 4G mobile coverage where permanent sites have been damaged by extreme weather and other disasters, or in areas where there is no 4G coverage. The addition of pre-5G backhaul increases 4G speeds and lowers latency, which increases the number of people that the air mast could keep connected, and gives them a faster internet connection.
Marc Allera, EE CEO, said: “Innovation is what drives advances in technology, and it’s what keeps making UK consumers’ experience of mobile better and better. The EE network will go from strength to strength thanks to BT’s incredible R&D capabilities and our commitment to delivering what our customers need. Today’s demonstration is a great example of that: we know that we need better solutions to keep customers connected in the most rural parts of the UK and during disasters, and we can make that solution even more powerful by developing ground breaking pre-standard 5G technology.
“This is not 5G, but it is a technology that’s an important stepping stone to 5G. We’re working hard to adopt the principles and the technologies that will become 5G, and to showcase what benefits these can bring to our customers.”
Today’s demonstration is an example of the potential applications and customer benefits of BT and EE’s 5G research activities which are being progressed well ahead of the deployment of future 5G networks.
The ‘pre-standard 5G’ backhaul technology – demonstrated for the first time today at BT’s Innovation Week at its labs in Adastral Park, Ipswich – uses millimetre wave (mmWave) frequencies, regarded as one of the main building blocks of future 5G technology.
By applying the technology to deliver the mobile backhaul requirements for EE’s recently announced 4G Helikite solution, EE and the BT Labs have proven the potential for delivering even faster 4G speeds and lower latency using mmWave.
The innovative mobile backhaul solution demonstration uses 26GHz test spectrum to connect the Parallel Wireless small cell on the Helikite to an Athonet virtualised Evolved Packet Core (EPC) on the ground using a PHAZR link.
EE and BT Labs are taking a leading role in developing technologies that will play a role in delivering future 5G mobile networks, including mmWave, Massive MIMO and network slicing – a new method of carving out specific ‘slices’ of an IP based network to support dedicated services delivered over future 5G networks. EE and BT are working towards enabling 5G in alignment with standards that will be set by mobile standardisation body 3GPP as part of their Release 15 update, which is scheduled for 2018.
Ericsson has published its latest ConsumerLab report, From Healthcare to Homecare. The report reveals consumer insights into the impact of 5G on the future of healthcare and its transformation across preventative, routine, and post-operative care.
Ericsson ConsumerLab has more than 20 years’ experience of studying people’s behaviors and values, including the way they act and think about ICT products and services. Ericsson ConsumerLab provides unique insights on market and consumer trends.
Among main Ericsson ConsumerLab report findings, patients believe online consultation will reduce the pain of waiting times
Consumers to take more control over monitoring health with wearables when 5G improves reliability and security
Industry players are counting on increased online access to centralized patient data to positively impact healthcare services
The report states that next-generation networks will be pivotal in healthcare transformation, providing transmission efficiency in an ecosystem of feedback and alerts, mobility and low latency. The networks will become a vehicle for a range of applications, including remote monitoring through medical-grade wearables, virtual doctor-patient interaction, and remotely operated robotic surgery.
Key findings include the decentralization of healthcare moving from hospitals towards homes. Also, that patient data is becoming more centralized, turning hospitals into data centers. Increasing dependence on wearables and remote treatments makes 5G essential to provide reliable and secure services. Evolving consumer expectations, anytime patient data access, and increased internet use are also making way for non-traditional players to disrupt the healthcare industry.
This report covers insights from an online survey of 4,500 advanced smartphone/mobile broadband users in Germany, Japan, South Korea, the UK and the US plus an online survey of 900 decision makers across six industries in these countries – healthcare, insurance, medical technology companies, telecom operators, app developers/aggregators and government regulatory bodies.
Telefónica becomes a member of the 5GAA contributing to the cross industry association efforts to boost developments in the connected and autonomous car arena
Telefónica have annouced its active participation in the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA). The company joins a group of other leading telecommunications and automotive companies with the objective of accelerating the penetration of mobility services such as connected and autonomous car and intelligent road infrastructures.
The association main activities include defining use cases, selecting technology and establishing way ahead, initiating standardization, addressing specific needs of vehicle-to-x in terms of connectivity and leading innovation and development projects. Along with this initiative, Telefónica is also actively participating in the European Automotive-Telecom Alliance (EATA) which objective is to promote the wider deployment of connected and automated driving in Europe.
Dino Flore, General Director of the 5GAA: “We are very excited to have Telefónica as new member of 5GAA. Telefónica expertise and background will greatly benefit the association in its mission to define truly global, end-to-end connected mobility solutions”
Telefónica has been working in the connected car space for several years now and has communications and IoT solutions deployed in a large number of vehicles in several countries around the globe.
Furthermore, the company, in cooperation with Ericsson, presented the world´s first 5G remote driving concept at MWC proving certain aspects of this technology, such as reliability, high speed and low latency, which will transform the automotive industry.
As Vicente Muñoz, Telefonica´s Chief IoT Officer says: “We are delighted to join the 5GAA to bring all our efforts on the 5G technology to the automotive industry. We recently showcased our recent progress in 5G with our connected car demo at MWC in Barcelona and continue to work in this arena to make things move faster”.
Cradlepoint Secures $89 Million in Series C Funding Led by TCV to Deliver Next Generation Network Solutions for Enterprises Embracing Digital Transformation
Growth-stage Investment to Fuel Cradlepoint’s Continued Growth and Expand Product Initiatives in SDN, 5G Wireless Broadband, and Enterprise IoT
BOISE, Idaho – March 9, 2017 – Cradlepoint, the global leader in cloud-based network solutions for connecting people, places, and things over wired and wireless broadband, today announced it has closed $89 million in Series C funding. The round was led by TCV, a leading provider of capital to growth-stage private and public companies in the technology industry. Cradlepoint will use these funds to drive continued growth and further capitalize on the disruption in the enterprise wide area networking market as the result of Digital Transformation (the digitization of every business process and interaction). This includes expanding product initiatives in Software-Defined Networking (SDN), advanced 4G and 5G wireless connectivity, and enterprise Internet of Things (IoT).
In connection with the financing, Ted Coons, General Partner at TCV, and Doug Gilstrap, Venture Partner at TCV, have joined Cradlepoint’s board of directors.
The Cradlepoint investment continues TCV’s legacy of investing in sector-leading companies, such as Netflix, GoDaddy, ExactTarget, Redback Networks, and Splunk. With over 15,000 customers and 1.5 million units deployed to date worldwide, and having achieved an over 40 percent compound aggregate growth rate (CAGR) for the last three years, Cradlepoint is the leading provider of 4G LTE network solutions for enterprises, governments, and mobile operators. The company’s diverse customer base includes 50 percent of Fortune 100, 75 percent of the world’s top retailers, and 25 of the largest US cities.
“Cradlepoint has established a strong foundation as the leader in cloud-managed 4G LTE network solutions,” said George Mulhern, CEO of Cradlepoint. “The investment by TCV, and their experience in guiding disruptive companies, will allow us to build on this foundation to capitalize on the opportunity in front of us as digital transformation drives WAN transformation. SDN, 4G/5G wireless broadband, mobile networking and IoT technologies will all play a pivotal role in the new connected enterprise, and we are well-positioned to lead the way.”
Digital transformation is accelerating cloud, mobile and IoT adoption — giving rise to the Connected Enterprise, putting greater emphasis on the wide area network (WAN). According to a report by IDC, the burgeoning market for SDN in the WAN (SD-WAN) is projected to reach $12.5 billion by 2020, spurred on by the need for more agile, automated and available networks and a direct result of digital transformation.
“With roots in enterprise-grade 4G LTE, hardware solutions that span branch, vehicle and IoT use cases, integrated with powerful software that enables remote management and network control, Cradlepoint has the technology and momentum to be a major player in the next generation of enterprise WANs,” stated Ted Coons, General Partner at TCV. “A clear technological advantage combined with market leadership and the ability to innovate are key attributes of companies that we choose to partner with, and we are delighted to support the Cradlepoint team as they continue on their growth path.”
“By 2020, the number of people, vehicles, and things connected to the enterprise network will start to dwarf fixed branch sites,” stated Eric Hanselman, chief analyst at 451 Research. “This dramatic shift in the volume and variety of connections will force the enterprise WAN to become more cloud-orchestrated, software-defined, and wirelessly connected and has already started to usher in an entirely new network security model. With this investment by TCV, Cradlepoint now has the potential to become a major player in wide-area networking for the connected enterprise.”
GTI focuses on verticals with 5GAA deal – Mobile World Live GTI focuses on verticals with 5GAA deal – Mobile World Live
The Global TD-LTE Initiative (GTI) took a “concrete” step in its strategy to focus on vertical industries by signing an MoU with the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA) at the GTI Summit 2017.
After shaking hands on stage with 5GAA chairperson Christoph Voigt, GTI chairman Craig Ehrlich hailed the agreement as a real change in direction at GTI, which last year launched GTI 2.0 in order to focus on 5G developments as well as the convergence of FDD LTE and TDD LTE globally.
Luke Ibbetson, Vodafone Group’s chief engineer who also sits on the 5GAA board, further noted that the 5GAA – formed in September 2016 – represented a unique venture.
It had brought together a vertical industry with the telecoms sector for the first time in order to achieve a common objective: to realise the vision of connected cars and autonomous driving using 5G technology. Ibbetson said the association now has more than 30 members, and many more were in the pipeline.
The 5GAA is regarded as a model for how other industries could also work more closely with the telecoms sector to benefit from the potential of 5G to support new business cases for verticals.
However, other participants in the GTI Summit – which took place at Mobile World Congress on Tuesday – also warned that more work is required to ensure that verticals are sufficiently engaged to help realise this more collaborative approach.
Zhijun (Eric) Xu, rotating CEO at Huawei, said one of the challenges to address on the way to 5G was the fact that the desire to support the Internet of Things (IoT) faces insufficient participation from verticals.
“Verticals need to participate or it will not work,” said Xu, who also called for cross-industry regulation and a “globally consistent standard” for 5G.
The University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre is home to the pioneers of wireless technology who have been researching the next generation of connectivity since 2012, before 4G even hit the scene. Led by Professor Rahim Tafazolli, the centre is working alongside telecom juggernauts to usher in what has been christened the “Internet of Things”, which will see the network capable of things that were once a distant dream.
The researchers at the 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) are working on much more than simply improving the speed of our mobile phones, with ambitions of driverless cars and home appliances all controlled via 5G. Partially funded by the UK government, the centre was the first of its kind and has since been joined by the likes of Japan, Taiwan, Russia and South Korea in the 5G race.
Last year, the 5GIC achieved breakthrough connectivity speeds of just one terabit per second and proclaimed it hopes to demonstrate the remarkable technology to the public by 2018. If (like us) you can’t wait that long, we caught up with Professor Tafazolli himself to discuss all things 5G and what exactly we can expect from the Internet of Things.
Professor Rahim Tafazolli
What is the 5G Innovation Centre?
Tesco Mobile: Can you give us a bit of background about the 5G Innovation Centre – when you started, what the objectives are and what you’re working on in general?
Professor Tafazolli: We started in 2012; there was an invitation for research into infrastructure, not specifically 5G, from the UK government and the higher education funding council of England, who provide funding to higher education in England. When we heard about this funding, I was thinking what we could do with it.
Being involved in mobile communications for 2G, 3G, 4G and the history of the UK in radio communications, I thought that it was timely to have the infrastructure to do research into technologies beyond 4G and 5G. So, we put in a bid and in October 2012, it was successful.
I talked to our industry partners, mainly Vodafone, Telefonica, Fujitsu, Samsung and Sony, who were all supportive. We won the bid and were granted £12m by the UK government; then twice that was committed by our industry partners, so all together about £36m.
What work is the 5GIC doing?
PT: The idea is to work on the step change technology that 5G will use. The advanced research evaluates our technology, mathematical modelling, computer simulation, building the technology, prototyping it and testing it in a wide area. Now, we have raw data and 44 base stations.
TM: So, you have basically a 5G network?
PT: Not really. 5G needs to be standardised first. Lots of people are proposing different technologies. It will go through the standardisation process, then we select the technology and start implementing, testing and optimising it, before eventually bringing it to the market. What we have now is an advanced version of 4G. So, we have the infrastructure in place and gradually over time, we’ll change it to 5G technologies.
Looking at the plans, 2018 is the first quota for when we would like to demonstrate full 5G technology. If we achieve this milestone, we will be the first in the world to show 5G technology in a real environment, not in a lab. Our vision is 5G, that’s not just higher speed, unlike many people think, but a system that provides high capacity with at least 100x more users connected.
TM: When you say 100x more users connected, does that mean in a football arena everybody will be able to connect?
PT: Yes, there is enough capacity for everyone to be connected, even in a high-density environment, like a football stadium. In addition to people, we think that 5G will provide connectivity between devices. Everything will be wireless. It’s not only communication. It will be connecting devices together, homes will become smart homes, cities become smart cities, countries become smart countries and continents become smart continents. So, 5G is not only about speed, it’s about connectivity.
But we want the system to be highly secure because of malware and attacks on the network. When we have every aspect of our life connected, then there is a big risk. So, the system must be reliable, and it must be robust.
5G Relay Base Station
These are the major step changes that we think 5G should bring from previous generation systems. 1G was pure voice, 2G was digital voice, 3G was 50/50 voice and data, 4G was mainly data and higher speed. Every generation has had higher and higher speed. With 5G, we don’t think it’s justifiable to have higher speed only. It must provide connectivity of people and devices, and it must be highly reliable
TM: To get rid of latency?
PT: Low latency translates to higher speed. But (…) our objective is not just to achieve speed; if it was speed, we already have the technology that can do 1000x faster than the highest 4G speed, so we could say we’ve finished the 5G project.
But, that’s not our objective. Our objectives are the ones I’ve mentioned – reliability, robustness, security, and latency. We want to support 100x or 1000x more devices on the network. The system must be energy efficient because with current technologies, the energy we use would also be 100x or 1000x more.
TM: If we had 5G on our phones right now and they were running on the 5G network, would it drain the battery dramatically?
PT: With the current technology, yes. That’s why it requires different technology, which is what we are trying to do.
The 5G race
TM: You mentioned the term “5G race” earlier and working with the industry – do you see this process as collaborative?
PT: Yes, it has to be. No single country or company can dictate the global standard. That’s why we have a huge amount of industry partners from China, Canada, South Korea, Japan, Europe and the UK, of course. We all work together and collectively agree on what should be standardised.
But, our plan is not just to do research and testing. We have a 5G centre set-up, a standard group chaired by O2/Telefonica and our partners look at our research and provide input. We believe Wi-Fi is part of the whole story as well.
TM: Within the European Union and the UK in general, when do you think we will have access to 5G technologies?
PT: The first version of 5G technology should be in the market by 2020. Then, it will evolve to meet other objectives. 2020 is the target.
TM: How will it be rolled out within the EU and the UK? Is it going to be something that is universally accessible, because 4G often tends to be more accessible in city centres?
PT: Yes. It is different, not only from a technological point of view, but from the global acceptance of 5G. For 5G to work, it has to work with 4G. The reason we only have 4G in city centres is because of its capacity. As I said, 5G is not just capacity but also connectivity of devices with a very high data rate. We mean to cover buildings, factories and the commercial environment, so it will have more capacity as well as connectivity between devices.
The accessibility of 5G
TM: Obviously, the mobile industry is going to change. With the current price of data, we mentioned that it might be a premium service, do you think it could be widely accessible?
PT: It has to be because it’s not just going to be high-speed data. The business model of the operators will have to change because they have to provide connectivity to utility networks like gas, electricity meters and connecting cars. Eventually, we’ll have driverless cars and 5G technology should evolve to meet these needs; we can’t just come up with a new technology for driverless cars. However, it’s a long way away, not before 2025.
We want this technology to provide economies of scale, so the world can develop different technologies and applications on top of that. Devices of differing capabilities will all be connected, so it will have an impact on the internet architecture – the wired part of the network must change. So, if it was only capacity and speed then 4G is good, but if you want to connect our highway roads, it must be something smarter. Homes become smarter, hospitals become smarter. We have an ageing population and they cannot keep going to their GP and hospital. Remotely you can control that.
We think of the early 90s when we think about mobile communication and beginning to do these sorts of things. Mobile communication has changed our culture, our life, the way we do business, our private lives; it’s all dramatically changed. Now, 5G will change this; it will be a catalyst for all this change in the economy and society. Not only just communication but critical parts of our infrastructure, the services that a nation requires.
So, what we are doing in the 5G centre is trying to come up with this enabling technology, this fundamental technology that will give you this flexibility, robustness, latency and network architecture to come up with those solutions. In 2030, 15 years from now, the world will be very different and we need to have the technology ready.
The future of mobile phones
TM: Obviously, smartphones are changing a lot and we’re seeing an increasing number of smart wearables as well. It feels like they’re going to become a central part of the Internet of Things. I know you’re not working directly with applications, but do you already see the future of mobile phones changing?
PT: I think they will become more intelligent and do more than just communication. We’re focusing on a couple of areas generated from having transformed data into useful applications. So, we have to come up with the artificial intelligence and model the data. Data coming from a smartphone and data coming from a sensor detecting light should have the format to be able to connect to one another.
It must be a model that they can integrate because each individual piece of data is useful, but not when it’s coming from different machines. We have tested it, so all our students – Grad students and Masters students – can come and use the applications. What I would like to do, but I’m not sure if we can do it, is encourage students to hack it, break it down.
TM: To test how safe the network is?
PT: Yes. Then, we learn where the gaps are and fix them. But, I’m not sure whether we can do that or not. That would be fantastic. I’m sure some smart people could bring the network down if they wanted to. We’d probably allocate part of the network for this purpose. Break it down and then tell us how you did it.
The Evolution of Mobile Phones
Setting the standard for 5G
TM: You mentioned smart cars, smart houses, smart cities, smart continents and obviously, the first smart companies like Apple and Google; do you think we could see these major actors becoming more involved in city planning, into home design?
PT: What most of these companies are developing is based on some sort of Wi-Fi system, some sort of proprietary solution, which is good, because people are thinking in this direction. It is encouraging that the industry is taking it seriously and not just the computer industry. However, to make this work on a global scale we need a minimum standard, so everybody builds everything on top of that and the networks talk to each other. If we carry on developing these things, these proprietary solutions, it will stay small.
That’s why I am strongly supportive of a common standard and many people don’t like standards; they say “big boys control everything”. The problem is not having a standard; the problem is perhaps the standards should be regulated and opened to everybody. Because when we talk about new connectivity, a new type of digital economy, we need different regulations.
TM: So, 5G will become the new standard?
PT: The whole idea of the concept, the vision of how we should look at good and bad connectivity, will be very different to the way we have done it for the last 30 years with 1G to 4G. We’re no longer just working within that framework of higher speed.
Many people still don’t know what 5G is because everybody says 5G is going to do more of the same thing, high speed, and that’s where the confusion comes in. That’s why I always say 5G is a special generation. It will be the first generation with full connectivity and then after, 5G will be a second generation of connectivity, then a third generation of connectivity, which is why we’ll not have 6G.
What Professor Tafazolli has made clear is the development of 5G heralds much more than faster data speeds for smartphones. It beckons the Internet of Things, which will see everything connected in our homes, our cities and our countries.
5G is set to transform society as we know it, connecting everything from cars to hospitals, creating a safer and more energy efficient world. What’s more, we won’t have to wait too long to see the first iteration of the network, as the 5G Innovation Centre hopes to introduce it to the world by 2020.