View from the Airport: Huawei Global Mobile Broadband Forum 2016

A journey into IoT, 5G and cloud is a familiar road, but at least there's some recognition of that fact

It's been an intense week in Tokyo at the seventh annual Huawei Global Mobile Broadband Forum.

Over the course of the two-day conference, we've heard in detail about the Chinese tech giant's ambitions for IoT, 5G and cloud, as you would expect. But we also got to hear from the likes of BT/EE, Orange, LG, Toshiba, Softbank and joint event sponsor GSMA about their visions for these things.

Before the event, I wrote of my cynicism regarding 5G and the hype around it the question now, in some ways, is whether that cynicism has been laid to rest after what I've seen here.

The honest answer is no grand pronouncements are still being made without any substance and, although Phillip Hammond announced some money for 5G development in the Autumn statement, many here questioned whether it was new money or a re-announcement of what had already been declared.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

What was refreshing, however, was to hear not just Huawei but the operators as well acknowledging the fact that this hype exists. The fact that the company always talks about the road and the journey to 5G is telling while what it's doing with infrastructure innovations like megaMIMO LTE base stations and sub-1ms proofs of concept are interesting, perhaps more important in reality is what it's doing in terms of preparing the way for the next generation of connectivity.

The 4.5G principal, as laid out by Huawei, has been around for a while, but at this year's GMMB Forum, we got an opportunity to better understand what it really means as a strategy as well as a technology. The optimisation of networks on an industry-by-industry and vertical-by-vertical basis ahead of 5G roll-out in 2020 (probably) is, for want of a better word, very sensible. The division of the future of connectivity into "people" and "things" was also an interesting and rational take in the end, it's true that while both a person and a water meter may need 5G connectivity to get their best experience, the smart-utility appliance will never need to stream 4k+ video and the individual isn't going to need to send back data about water usage on an almost constant basis.

Is there hype around the next evolution of connectivity? Of course, and no amount of cynicism on my part (or anyone else's) will change that. But excitement isn't always a bad thing it can and does drive innovation, which is what is required for 5G, IoT and all their promises to become a reality.

I would be disappointed if next year this message hasn't moved on, or if there's not at least something to add to it, but that's a story for another day.

Main image credit: Jane McCallion

Featured Resources

What you need to know about migrating to SAP S/4HANA

Factors to assess how and when to begin migration

Download now

Your enterprise cloud solutions guide

Infrastructure designed to meet your company's IT needs for next-generation cloud applications

Download now

Testing for compliance just became easier

How you can use technology to ensure compliance in your organisation

Download now

Best practices for implementing security awareness training

How to develop a security awareness programme that will actually change behaviour

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/security/32938/revealed-huawei-s-five-year-plan-to-address-uk-security-fears
Security

Huawei’s ‘five-year plan’ to address UK security fears

7 Feb 2019
Visit/mobile/34095/huawei-p30-review-too-good-to-ban
Mobile

Huawei P30 review: Too good to ban

26 Jul 2019
Visit/security/34065/decision-on-huaweis-uk-presence-faces-further-delays
Security

Decision on Huawei's UK presence faces further delays

23 Jul 2019
Visit/mobile/33662/huawei-mate-20-x-5g-hands-on-review-huawei-s-got-a-mate-that-s-5g-ready
Mobile

Huawei Mate 20 X (5G) Hands-on review

17 May 2019

Most Popular

Visit/microsoft-windows/32066/what-to-do-if-youre-still-running-windows-7
Microsoft Windows

What to do if you're still running Windows 7

14 Jan 2020
Visit/operating-systems/25802/17-windows-10-problems-and-how-to-fix-them
operating systems

17 Windows 10 problems - and how to fix them

13 Jan 2020
Visit/hardware/laptops/354533/dell-xps-13-new-9300-hands-on-review-chasing-perfection
Laptops

Dell XPS 13 (New 9300) hands-on review: Chasing perfection

14 Jan 2020
Visit/web-browser/30394/what-is-http-error-503-and-how-do-you-fix-it
web browser

What is HTTP error 503 and how do you fix it?

7 Jan 2020