At this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) extravaganza, it was easy to feel acutely aware of the imminent next frontier in connected living. With the buzzword 5G on everyone’s lips, there could be little doubt that a decade of efforts and breakthroughs is about to pay off.
Top trends and innovations
5G has moved out of the panels and into the exhibition hall. Yes, of course it’s still very much on the agenda of tech talks and wider policy debate too, but the first 5G-enabled devices are here, and live trials are giving a sneak preview of tomorrow’s lifestyles.
The future 5G networks will not only channel a massive data flood, but also sweep other new technologies into our daily lives, enabled by the unprecedented connectivity of next-gen networks. The MWC 2018 provided some concrete answers to the question of what our AI, cloud and IoT enabled future will look like and it’s very exciting.
Smart devices, revolutionised
A live demo at MWC featured a Huawei phone smart enough to drive a Porsche: the phone’s chip, which features an artificial intelligence engine, can process thousands of images, recognise various obstacles (such as a dog or a ball) and instruct the car to adapt its course.
The interesting thing here is that enabling a phone to drive a car involves so many different actors that we can hardly take the credit for making it happen – not in a real-life context anyway. It involves a host of technologies ranging from the device, (5G) network and AI expertise through to the car itself and the roadside infrastructure the system is using.
This means that getting this type of driving experience on the road involves the global ICT supply chain, the ICT industry and various vertical industries, researchers, policy makers – and solid bi- and multilateral partnerships. Ultimately, collaboration is an essential prerequisite to driving innovation across new ecosystems; but we also need efforts at the right level to federate initiatives, gather the right partners and unleash the potential of different organisations whose reach is limited when working in isolation.
2018 and beyond
Anybody who attended the mobile industry’s key event in Barcelona will agree that we are about to take a big technological leap forward. We have come a long way, and the industry is buzzing with the collaborative effort and the creative energy it will take to accomplish the last steps towards that next milestone.
A few years from now, we will be looking beyond 5G. There’s a fair chance that we may also be looking back on its inception as a unifying force – bringing together technologies, ideas, organisations and, of course, people.