This post was originally posted at http://www.jesusalonsozarate.com on March 1st, 2017.
The 2017 edition of the Mobile World Congress is over. It seems that this year all the numbers around the event have increased since previous editions ever since 2005 (12 years ago already);
- greatest economic impact into the city of Barcelona,
- largest number of accredited press,
- greatest number of attendees (more than 100,000),
- largest exhibition area with close to 115.000 squared meters, and
- greatest number of exhibiting companies (more than 2,000).
I have been there for 3 full days, walking around, playing with demos, and talking to people here and everywhere. Even though I have done my best, I have not managed to visit every inch of the exhibition area.
Therefore, if you are reading this, please do not treat my thoughts as absolute claims or indisputable statements. What I write hereafter are just some random thoughts that I take back home right now after an exhausting, even though extremely interesting, last day at MWC:
- Everything tends to be called 5G. Everything. What is true, however, is that 5G will have an impact into everything.
- The Internet of Things (IoT) is everywhere. Everywhere. Not sure if it still makes sense to have a dedicated area for the IoT, being the great majority of booths talking about the IoT in one way or another. The IoT is here, and everywhere.
- Connectivity of the future: 5G New Radio, millimeter waves, NB-IoT, Sigfox, Lora, WiFi. These terms have been omnipresent. I am not saying there are no other interesting solutions, but I have found them everywhere in this edition of the MWC.
- The IoT, comprising both sensors and actuators, will need to co-exist with human-based broadband and media content. Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Slicing seems to be the keys to solve the co-existence among data flows with extremely different needs in massively crowded networks.
- Mission–critical applications together with strong human-machine interaction about to explode. Ultra-low latency and ultra-high reliability seem to drive the key requirements for communication networks of the future, enabling tons of innovative applications not feasible in the past.
- Not sure if this is just because of the nice marketing power of Virtual Reality or because of the true potential behind it, but this year VR has been all around the place. Some demos have been really impressive. If the economic impact and business opportunity is close to the “wow” effect it generates, get ready for a great revolution.
- Key vertical markets/applications that will drive the future of the mobile industry: Connected car, Industry 4.0, Smart Grids, Smart Cities, e-Health, and in a smaller scale, smart homes.
- The value of data. Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Big Data…call it as you wish; technically, there are differences among these terms; roughly and inaccurately speaking, they refer to the same idea: getting value out of data. This is the future…well, indeed, this is the present already. Cloud platforms, IoT platforms, and mobile Apps to store, manage, and process data have been key players into this edition of the MWC.
- Other stuff of interest: tons of new phones with bigger screens, smart watches, smart earphones, smart wearables, smart glasses, smart cameras, smart drones, … and many more interesting new technologies that will, most probably, play a highly relevant role in the very near future.
My last thought: in this edition of the Mobile World Congress, I have the feeling that it is becoming pretty evident, and generally accepted, that generating value is the key concept, not technology (by itself) anymore.
I have just come across this very nice post by John Soldatos:
This post has a very nice introduction to the IoT. However, the nicest thing about it, to me, is the following collection of videos which different views on the IoT. Enjoy them:
The next generation of communication networks, the so-called 5G (5th Generation) is around the corner. First deployments are expected to be ready by the year 2020, and in the meanwhile, we still are not sure what 5G is about.
We hear a lot about about Network Slicing, Software Defined Radios, Network Function Virtualization, Machine-Type Communications, Device-to-Device Communications, Network Orchestration, etc.
On my particular way of discovering and clearly defining and interconnecting all these terms, I have come across this white paper by Ericsson, which is very concise and quite clear compared to other tons of documents available out there talking about 5G. I have enjoyed reading it, and for this reason, I want to share it with you all.
ADVANTAGE is a European R&D project funded by the European Commission under Framework Program 7. More specifically, it is a Marie Curie Initial Training Network (ITN) aiming at training the next generation of experts in the domain of Smart Grids. Read more at: www.fp7-advantage.eu.
As part of the dissemination activities, very recently, a brand new youtube channel has been launched. Keep an eye if you’re interested in following Smart Grid evolution.
What if we could reproduce the sense of touch through the Internet? This is the “crazy” idea behind the tactile internet.
Conducting remote surgery or medical diagnosis, teaching how to play the piano remotely, or trying a pair of trousers without actually fitting them are just few examples of what the tactile internet could enable. Let your imagination fly.
Prof. Mischa Dohler (King’s College London) talks about this futuristic vision in this article:
Making the tactile internet possible would open yet more opportunities for the Internet of Things. However, there are many challenges ahead to turn this “crazy” idea into the world of tomorrow.
Long Term Evolution (LTE) is the (current?) next generation of mobile and cellular communication networks. While we still typically use 3G to get connected through our mobile phones or tablets, the migration to 4G is real. Slowly but constantly, mobile operators are updating their networks to the 4th Generation, which promises outstanding and brilliant performance. However, do we need that much for the Internet of Things? Machine to Machine (M2M) communications are expected to require a lot less than what Human-Type Communications need.
For that reason, the Category-0 is coming. What does this mean?
User Equipment (UE) is categorized into categories to classify their capabilities in terms of bandwidth, available bit rate, duplex transmission, transmission power, etc. This allows base stations to know which are the capabilities the devices they are talking to have, and avoid communication with a given device using parameters that are not supported by that given device.
How many LTE categories are defined?
5, from 1 to 5, with increasing capacity for increasing category number, thus being 5 the most powerful devices.
So, what is Category-0?
This is a new category included in release 12 (not the one being currently deployed) for extremely simple LTE devices.
The main characteristics of this category are:
|Peak downlink rate
|Peak uplink rate
|Max number of downlink spatial layers
|Number of UE RF chains
|UE receive bandwidth
|Maximum UE transmit power
Do you think this is simple enough? I do not think so. So that’s good news; still further improvements for M2M will come in the future of LTE. Otherwise, LTE will lose the race to become the key player in connectivity for LTE.
I decided to write this post after reading this very nice and complete post here: