5G or not 5G – that was the question

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I spent two days last week at the CW Future of Wireless International Conferencerun by our client Cambridge Wireless. It was held at the Emirates Stadium in London, a fitting venue for kicking around competing views on the future of the wireless industry.

In the first half, we listened to an impressive line-up of speakers on a range of topics. According to Tim Rundle, from Conran and Partners, we are going to want products that give us back control over our appetite for information and cure our nervous twitches as we watch for new notifications. But he believes that while technology has created the problem, technology is the only thing that can save us. That’s a relief. Jeffrey Ju from MediaTek talked about our desire for design and usability above all else and the challenges to deliver high performance with larger displays and slim designs and greater power efficiency with longer battery life. Plenty to keep the labs busy then.

In the second half, Mike Bell from Jaguar Land Rover gave a fascinating insight into the future of connected cars – but only if we can get the connectivity right. He illustrated the problem by showing the gaps in 3G and 4G coverage on a main route between London and Manchester. A bit worrying for autonomous driving.

And there’s the rub. The future of wireless is down to connectivity. You can’t do all this exciting new stuff without it. So maybe it was not surprising that the closing Cambridge Debate on whether we need 5G came down against the motion – at least for anytime soon. Like HS2, we need to invest in the future of our infrastructure but let’s get what we have right first and also make sure we are going in the right direction. What we need for streaming high speed live video is not the same as transmitting a few bytes every 60 seconds from a connected device – in the Internet of Things world.

So at full time, the result was clear but if they think it’s all over – it has a long to run yet.

In review – the event was a great success and we got some great coverage from attending press. You can download most of the presentations at http://www.cambridgewireless.co.uk/futureofwireless/Resources/