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Digital economy and 5 g sg_niri_120314

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a short paper titled "Supporting a true digital economy requires intense focus on 5G"

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Digital economy and 5 g sg_niri_120314

  1. 1. 1 | P a g e 1 2 T h M a r c h 2 0 1 4 Supporting a true digital economy requires intense focus on 5G DR SHAHRAM NIRI, GENERAL MANAGER, 5G INNOVATION CENTRE, UNIVERSITY OF SURREY The importance of the government’s strategy for the UK’s digital economy made headlines this weekend as David Cameron opened CeBIT with a speech that underlined the importance of next generation networks and a realisation of the ‘Internet of Things’ as integral to UK competiveness. In 1908 engineer Nikola Tesla spoke of “an inexpensive instrument, not bigger than a watch, [which] will enable its bearer to hear anywhere, on sea or land, music or song, the speech of political leader, the address of an eminent man of science, or the sermon of an eloquent clergyman, delivered in some other places, however, distant”. This is a prevailing picture of wireless technology and its role in today’s communications. Some 80 years later, Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, which has now become the backbone of our fast moving digital, communications and knowledge economy and an integral part of many industries. We see the internet as a global community and an undeniable human right. Ubiquitous, high-quality and affordable broadband internet access is becoming essential to the functioning of modern life, and as such, internet access is fast becoming the fourth utility in our homes after water, electricity and gas. Today there are over three billion devices connected to internet, of which around half are via wireless networks. Wireless access to internet is becoming a dominant part of the media and communication networks. This introduces a serious and ever-increasing pressure on wireless network capacity where the scarce and finite radio spectrum is the blood line of the network. Divining more data through the available radio spectrum therefore becomes a real challenge and makes the radio spectral efficiency one of the most important challenges to ensure our future digital economy can grow and realise the potential set for it by government. Broadband the 4th utility The demand for capacity is also fuelled by the need for hyper-connectivity of billions of devices (P2P, P2D, D2D), machines and sensors (MTC; Machine Type Communication) which will make the Internet-of-Things, highlighted by the Prime Minister in his opening speech at CeBIT this weekend, a reality. Increasingly the internet will be formed as a network of ‘things’, rather than a network of computers. Availability of more powerful, smarter and enabled devices and the use of smart sensor technologies will create a vast amount of content and data. This will only grow with the increasing thirst for yet unimagined services and applications, which will drive even more content. The internet will therefore be expected to carry exabytes, zettabytes or more data content. This pressure will require rethinking of the internet’s architecture, becoming content-centric rather than a connection-centric network. This content-centric network is the driving force behind our growing knowledge economy, and it is enabling businesses to work smarter than ever before. Nikola Tesla, source - Wikipedia
  2. 2. 2 | P a g e 1 2 T h M a r c h 2 0 1 4 This massive expansion presents yet more challenges, not least how to leverage the vast quantities of data being generated (often referred to simply as ‘Big Data’). It nevertheless facilitates significant innovation opportunities for better use of network resources and cost saving in the future wireless networks. Big Data technology also creates an invaluable asset and potential in improving service delivery in several industry sectors. One example is the vision of future smart cities; with vital services such as transport, weather, health and education all connected and sharing valuable data over a wireless network designed to help us live smarter lives. Next generation wireless networks not only need to deliver a significant increase in capacity, but also an immense improvement in intelligence, flexibility, automation, resilience, efficiency, speed, security, privacy and latency. Yet, this also needs to be at a lower delivery cost and with a renewed focus on sustainability and environmental considerations. The growth in wireless working and the content economy will inevitably lead to more power and energy consumption and the networks will therefore need to become greener in order to enable sustainable energy efficiency. Every new generation of wireless communication of course promises most, if not all of the above, and 5G will be no exception. However, the sheer scale of the challenges this time makes 5G related researches far reaching and inevitably more challenging. This may call for a potential paradigm shift, not only in relation to the underlying technology, but also in the business models, radio spectrum regulation and policies and economics around the 5G system. This is why the Prime Minister’s speech at CeBIT this weekend marked a shift in perceptions of future networks. It was a very public acknowledgement of the importance of academic leadership and cross-border collaboration in driving the digital economy. The research being undertaken at the University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC), will work to address this challenge and the support the centre has gained from government and industry partners is proof of the importance of a European-led 5G initiative that will deliver global standards and drive global developments. David Cameron at CeBit, source – mailonline.com That said, today on the 25 th anniversary of the internet, two-thirds of the world’s population cannot yet go online. Either there are no fixed or wireless networks in place, or not enough network capacity to connect and support data. For many countries, the underlying infrastructure and availability of the necessary power sources are too limited to support basic connectivity, let alone the promise of next-generation networks. Alongside a lack of network capability and capacity, devices are too expensive for the majority of this population. We need to remove these barriers through collective effort, investment and building of the essential infrastructure that will enable the global population to benefit from the value of the internet. While 5G is recognised to be at the forefront of the UK’s future digital economy, there are still those who still cannot benefit from the prosperity even the most basic of networks can offer. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the University of Surrey and the 5GIC.

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