Intel sets fast track to 5G, collaborates with Nokia, NTT, SK Telecom

Intel executives used the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) 2015 to describe a 5G world where drones and balloons will connect the unconnected, and consumers won't need to be concerned whether it's Wi-Fi or 4G -- everything will just work seamlessly like on big network, including things like cars, scooters and refrigerators.

Techniques like software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) also will enable the creation of a centrally managed network, executives said.

5G took center stage during the IDF event. Intel executives Aicha Evans and Sandra Rivera joined Alex Choi, CTO of SK Telecom; Bin Shen, Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) vice president of Strategy; and Paul McNamara, vice president in Ericsson's (NASDAQ: ERIC) Corporate Strategy Group, on stage to discuss how computing and communications will converge in 5G networks to power "entirely new categories of applications and user experiences," according to Intel.

Higher data rates -- at least 100 times and sometimes 1,000 times higher – along with ultra-low latency and significantly different form factors are some of the key features of 5G, according to Choi. Virtual reality and augmented reality have been around for a while, but 5G will bring added benefits. Real-time, ultra HD video streaming is another piece that 5G promises.

McNamara said the 4G economy was largely driven by video, and the 5G economy largely will be driven by the Internet of Things (IoT). When you start to think about IoT use cases, "imagine that I'm driving in my car and the network detects that one second in front of me, there was a sudden deceleration and airbags were deployed," he said. "The network has 20 milliseconds to send my car a message that says I need to apply the brakes. At that very same instant, my connected toaster detects that the crumb tray is full. Those two things are very, very different and they need very, very different sorts of network characteristics."

Wearables are another key component. Rivera predicts that at least some percentage of people will want chips implanted in their body, according to Re/code. Choi also said some sensors may become part of the body itself. "Anyone can be a Terminator," he said.

Intel also introduced the Intel Network Builders Fast Track, a program comprised of market development activities and Intel Capital investments that's designed to accelerate network innovation and interoperability. And it announced a number of industry collaborations, including with Nokia Networks (NYSE:NOK), NTT DoCoMo and SK Telecom, as well as academic institutions and others to accelerate 5G standards development.

Intel's interest in 5G and the IoT isn't surprising given that last year, it unveiled a new Intel IoT platform designed to serve as an end-to-end reference model for unifying and simplifying connectivity and security for IoT.

For more:
- see this Intel post
- see this Re/code article
- see this TechRadar article
- see this Telecompaper article

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