Industry executives say 5G will enable "things" to be disruptors

BARCELONA, Spain -- Intel's CEO said 5G will enable the machines to become the disruptors of the future, as opposed to today where people are disrupting the accepted norm with services such as Uber.

Speaking at a keynote on day one of the Mobile World Congress, here, Brian Krzanich said. "When I think about disruption, I think of people [causing] disruption today, but in the next phase, it will be the 'things' that disrupt."

On 5G's role in disruptive society, Ralph de la Vega, vice chairman of AT&T and CEO at AT&T business solutions and AT&T international, commented that the issue is latency.

He told delegates that, in terms of 5G, "everybody understands we can deliver more speed, but for me the issue is latency, as latency enables you to make decisions in real time".

Vega cited automated cars as an example of the need for zero latency. Without that, he noted, these vehicles would be somewhat dangerous on the roads.

Krzanich agreed that latency was a key asset of the coming 5G networks, referring to drones and their need to communicate in real time while flying. He said that 5G technology "is about low latency connectivity across a broad band of spectrum, from Wi-Fi licensed and unlicensed, through to LTE licensed and unlicensed, to enable this [drone]; we have to have 5G to allow this device to operate".

Meanwhile, Hans Vestberg president and CEO Ericsson, told delegates that 5G networks will  create a new playing field for businesses, and citizens. "We just need to get the message out that you can do public good with this technology. Long term you need this technology if you are going to compete with other countries. We need to get that word out."

However, Vega sounded a note of caution regarding the expectations the industry sets regarding 5G technology. "We have to be careful as an industry not to overhype 5G; we have to get standards and specifications in place. We believe commercial opportunities will take place between 2018 to 2020."

Vestberg added, "Healthcare is one industry that needs [5G disruption] the most, but it is also the most regulated…healthcare has the longest journey", he explained.

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