A Look Ahead at Mobility in 2023
One of the benefits of my time here at Intel is that I get to engage with a diverse set of communities, each of which has their own views on the world of wireless. One such community has been the students at Harvard Business School, where I have had the privilege of lecturing on the progress of mobility for the last seven years. Looking back at my presentations for each of those seven years, it still astonishes me how much wireless has changed. In the spirit of the new year, I thought we might look at the next seven years and make some predictions on where our industry will focus its efforts.
3GPP’s Release 17 and Release 18/5G Advanced deliver on 5G’s promise of mission-critical capabilities
I wrote about the impact of these latest protocols here, but as technologies and services that leverage their capabilities come to market, we will see 5G rise out of the proverbial “trough of disillusionment” and enter an unprecedented era of productivity, particularly for the enterprise. By introducing distributed intelligence into wireless networks by implementing AI/ML-based techniques at different levels of the network, we will see transformative services enabling new business models, much as 4G gave rise to the mobile app era of services (Lyft/Uber, DoorDash, AirBnb, etc.).
Decentralized Web3 applications, augmented reality, advanced automation, robotics … all these will leverage 5G advanced at their core.
Sustainable mobile networks and data centers become a priority for the entire technology industry
Many of the major technology giants have already recognized that this subject desperately requires our attention, including us here at Intel. And for multiple good reasons; not only has 2022 given us a glimpse of the future via multiple significant natural events from fires to floods, but the mobile and cloud industries will require this sustainability to profitably scale their respective businesses.
Unlike the data centers in the early 00s, which mostly touted limited efforts at conservation, efficiency, and sustainability, future data centers need to be built into today’s mobile and cloud infrastructure in terms of power, cost, geographic footprint, and more. If businesses expect to continue to compete effectively and still meet the many restrictions that, if they are not already in place, are most definitely coming soon—they need to implement strategies for sustainability today.
In 2023, we’re going to see real-world examples from some of the world’s most successful brands demonstrating how IT is meeting its sustainability goals while simultaneously scaling its services for the future.
6G begins to come into focus
I know, I know. Too soon right? Given the massive hype of 5G, one can hardly blame anyone for not wanting to hear about what’s next. Unfortunately, given the necessary global coordination and standardization involved in any new wireless “G,” that process needs to start many years in advance. Right around now in fact. This focus is why we’re already beginning to see articles on what 6G has in store for us.
The only problem with this is no one actually knows what 6G will encompass. There are multiple international groups of vendors, governments, and other organizations that are actively working on this now. I believe 2023 will be when we see some clarity on what 6G will include in terms of capabilities. Vast improvements in latency, broadband performance, and integration with AI/ML should be among the expected improvements.
Of the groups defining 6G, Hexa-X is a great example. Intel is part of this European 6G Research Flagship effort, together with leading global organizations, such as Nokia, Ericsson, Siemens, Orange, Telefonica, Telecom Italia, top European universities, and other organizations.
Regardless, even as 5G promises to remake multiple industries and the lives of individuals around the world, 6G looks to have a similar impact in terms of scope. The magnitude of this type of technological change requires much more than a single entity, but an entire ecosystem focused on delivering the innovations required to make that big step a reality.
A time for collaboration
I think this last point is particularly important. Our industry has evolved to the point that if we wish to implement new innovation at scale, collaboration from the entire industry will be required to move us all forward. Sustainability, new services, and new technological advances are going to take all of us. Perhaps those of you reading this post will join me in a New Year’s Resolution; I’m resolving to take the steps necessary to ensure I’m part of the solution and not part of the problems. We have enough obstacles to overcome without having to get out of each other’s way. Let me know your own resolutions in the comments below.
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