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The internet of things: The killer 5G app

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Although it’s not yet standardized or commercially available, the long-term vision of 5G is a unifying connectivity fabric–ultra fast, incredibly low latency wireless-that’s available everywhere and capable of connecting anything. In terms of use cases, think swarms of autonomous drones executing tasks, self-driving vehicles reimagining physical mobility, and new levels of industrial safety as technicians remotely control mining and oil drilling equipment. At a high-level, the internet of things could be the so-called killer app that 5G enables.

There’s a big difference between the internet of things as we know it today and truly massive IoT, which is what “5G” technology aims to support. That was the message Matt Grob, EVP and CTO at Qualcomm, shared with attendees of the IEEE Wireless Communications and Networking Conference.

“There’s IoT already in the world today,” Grob said. “The potential improvements when you go to massive IoT and you’re really connecting every single device that uses a resource of any kind, whether it uses power or water, or has any kind of parameter that can be allocated, or measured or sensed, every electronic device, connect them all. We want to be to support numbers like 100,000 in a sector. Even though the amount of data they send is low, the way they access the sector has to be very carefully designed so that it’s efficient even when there’s an enormous number of them.”’

Sharing a financial perspective, Seeking Alpha’s Colin Ferrian wrote, “5G will be the foundation for smart grids, virtual reality, autonomous driving, and every other category of the IoT…We believe this is still a long way from becoming a reality, but the foundation of this technology is already seeing plenty of action.”

In terms of that foundation, Ferrian called out fiber, which underlies wireless networks, small cell networks and millimeter wave spectrum, the high band, high capacity frequencies that bring major opportunities but challenging propagation characteristics.

Qualcomm Senior Vice President Raj Talluri, in a company blog, explained that data brings autonomy. “We’ll be aware of and able to interact with our surroundings to new levels — even with ‘things’  thousands of miles away — through very intelligent connected devices and sensors. These sensors will allow us to gather data continuously, to be proactive and, eventually, even allow our devices to act on our behalves. For example, smart home cameras will alert people when a package has been delivered to the front door, or when a stranger standing at the door. Or a baby camera will allow parents to see how well their baby is sleeping, or inform them about the baby’s sleep trends and monitor breathing and other vital signs for peace of mind during the night.”

 

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