There has been a surprising amount of talk about 6G in the news in the past few months (6GWorld™ not included), to the point of producing market forecasts and key players… Surprising and impressive for something that has not yet been defined! The hype cycle really is being pedalled fast.
“Ere long intelligence – transmitted without wires – will throb through the Earth like a pulse through a living organism.” Nikola Tesla
That said, it is important to understand exactly what is happening right now. Initiatives in Europe, the USA, China, Korea and elsewhere are firmly under way to find the next suites of technologies that can work together in creating an intelligent, responsive, and sustainable lifestyle that approaches Nikola Tesla’s prediction.
The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated many trends that were in all probability inevitable; adoption of homeworking practices and services, growth in IoT and contactless payments are some of the upsides. However, there are definite economic strains ahead in many parts of the world together with social crises caused by isolation, disinformation, unemployment, and inequality. Meanwhile, humanity is faced with the struggle to limit global warming.
Done right, digitalisation promises to help solve many of these difficulties: To improve equality of access to information, education, opportunity, and resources; to improve business and industrial efficiencies and reduce pollution; to improve citizens’ physical and mental wellbeing; to create new jobs and services. That would be the ideal scenario. Of course, we could easily not achieve these aims, or not in a meaningful period.
There is a huge amount at stake – for businesses and for societies.
While much of the hype around 5G has faded, it was the first generation of mobile technology that aimed to make a feature of enterprise-oriented capabilities. A few years into commercial deployments, it isn’t delivering much of what was originally hoped.
Partly this is because 3GPP did not release specifications for massive IoT and Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency 5G services at the same time as for enhanced mobile broadband. It’s also because many carriers opted to adopt a non-standalone version of 5G running over a 4G core network. Over time, this will be remedied as future evolutions of 5G are deployed, just as we saw with 3G and 4G. Will we reach a point where 5G can meet the demands of industry and society?
It can certainly help. However, 5G simply hasn’t been designed to solve some of the problems we face. A recent report by BearingPoint//Beyond underlines that many small businesses are not able to adopt enterprise 5G because of the difficulties implementing it compared to, for example, Wi-Fi. In a recent video presentation Andreas Mueller, Chairman of the 5G-ACIA (Alliance for Connected Industries & Automation), echoed the sentiment and pointed out additional demands that 6G will need to meet if it’s to be fit for industrial use. Among others these include: Optimisation for IoT and non-public networks; the ability to optimise both applications and communications together as a system; industrial involvement in standards processes; and lower cost to implement.
Essentially, the demands facing us all are for something much closer to a commercial platform or service, not a technology. This will require a very different approach from previous generations in telecoms and bring in different stakeholders; something which the 5G-IA’s recent call for members underlines as they reach for new kinds of expertise to develop beyond the 5G Public Private Partnership (5G-PPP).
Some Assembly Required
In response to this, 6GWorld is partnering with a range of thought-leading institutions on two interactive events to bring a wide variety of stakeholders together, from across both public and private sectors and across a variety of industries. In these free-to-attend events we will explore where we go from here, why, and how:
6GSymposium Spring – Shaping Industry & Society Beyond 5G: Online, May 4-6, 10.00-17.30 CET, in partnership with 6GIC, 6GFlagship & InterDigital.
This interactive event explores what 6G will need to be and deliver if we are to meet the demands of industries, policymakers, and telecoms providers; what that means for processes like standardisation and R&D; and highlights some of the cutting-edge advances in technology that can help achieve a fit-for-purpose 6G.
An outstanding group of speakers include:
- Colin Willcock, Chairman, 5G-IA
- Andreas Mueller, Chairman, 5G-ACIA
- Paul Hart, EVP & GM, RF Power, NXP Semiconductors
- Catherine Van Holder, Futurist & Partner, Panopticon
- Patrick Waldemar, VP Telenor Research, Telenor Group
- Volker Ziegler, CTO, Nokia Bell Labs
- David Soldani, CTSO Asia-Pacific, Huawei
- Derek O’Halloran, Shaping the Future of the Digital Economy & New Value Creation, World Economic Forum
- Bernard Barani, Deputy Head of Unit, DG Connect, European Commission
- Brijendra K Syngal, Chairman, TEMA 6G Council & Former Chairman, Reliance Telecomm
- Monisha Ghosh, CTO, FCC
- Antonio Franchi, Head of Future Programme Acquisition, European Space Agency
- Dr Li Fung Chang, Chief Architect, 5G Program Office, ITRI
6GSymposium Fall: Online & (if possible) live in Washington DC, September 21-22, in partnership with Northeastern University’s Wireless IoT Department & InterDigital.
Building on 2020’s symposium, we will swap perspectives from across government, research and industries, examining the latest in America’s evolution to reach beyond 5G. As well as exploring US government initiatives and industry demands, we will focus on new dimensions in 6G technology: Energy, Compute & Data.
You can find a complete press release here.
Alex Lawrence is Managing Editor at 6GWorld. His mission is to bring together stakeholders from across industries, countries and disciplines to make sure that, as technology evolves in the coming decade, it’s meeting the changing demands of society, government and business.
He has been involved as a professional nosy person in the telecoms sphere since 2004, with short detours through industrial O&M and marketing.
If you’d like to talk to Alex about your ideas or projects he’d love to hear from you. @animalawrence or firstname.lastname@example.org.