Converging technologies for a connected world
Date: Tue, 03/17/2015 - 19:57 Source: By Andrew Skinner, Relationship Director, for Barclays’ Technology Media and Telecoms Team
Andrew Skinner, Relationship Director, for Barclays’ Technology Media and Telecoms Team
Image credited to Barclays Technology
One of the major problems facing those charged with development of 5G standards and technologies at the minute is that they must do so in tandem with maximising the opportunities that 4G brings; not to mention 3G in the developing world. And actually, there’s an argument in an increasingly globalised economy for focusing on the latter, or else risk widening the gap between the developed and the developing world. After all, there are still several countries in Africa, relying predominantly on GSM (2G), let alone the luxury of 3G.
One of the fundamental requirements of 5G is the need for ultra-high availability, but how much of that can be achieved by augmenting and optimising existing technology. Google announced its plans to launch a virtual mobile network in the US, enabling users to switch seamlessly between cellular, Wi-Fi, and different wireless carriers, to provide an optimum mobile experience for the end user. For plenty of telcos and hardware manufacturers, it seems like the biggest opportunity can be found in the convergence of cellular and Wi-Fi to achieve near universal connectivity.
The development of 5G for 2020, cannot be at the expense of advances made to fully realise everything that 4G was supposed to achieve. Some of the most interesting companies I found myself speaking to while out at MWC buy into this vision of the future, but understand that even if 5G is delivered to the market in five years time, many improvements in connectivity can be achieved in a considerably shorter timeframe by focusing on the networks that are already in play.
And actually, that’s all part and parcel of one of the shows other big themes; enterprise mobility. To properly take advantage of the roll-out of 4G services and integrate mobile into the work place, it is increasingly important that businesses employ mobility practices to provide the necessary support, infrastructure and security, to enable fully mobile ways of working. From robust BYOD policies, to delivering enterprise applications for collaborative ways of working, there are already so many different ways for businesses to mobilise their workforce.
The internet of things remains a hot topic and it’s pleasing to see that we’ve moved significantly forward in terms of the hype cycle, to a place where practical deployments of machine to machine interactivity are becoming part of mainstream society. But for IoT to truly take off, the focus must once again be brought back to how we can make best use of 4G technology to deliver robust M2M deployments as quickly as possible.