IEEE 5G summit comes to UK for the first time

IEEE 5G summit comes to UK for the first time

A global event where the world’s biggest technology companies gather to discuss the future of 5G is to come to the UK for the first time.

On 14 May, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers’ 5G Summit (IEEE 5G) will take place in Glasgow, Scotland. 

Strathclyde University will host the event, which is expected to attract delegates from industry, academia, and government. The aim is to “collaborate and exchange ideas around emerging 5G technologies and drive forward its potential”.

The future of 5G

While it is set to become the mobile internet standard in the next decade, some have criticised 5G for being too complex and expensive, creating new security challenges that demand greater scrutiny. Others have warned that 5G IoT deployments will be fundamentally insecure.

Nevertheless, the technology will underpin the expansion of large networks and Internet of Things (IoT) programmes. It will also be a critical requirement for autonomous vehicles, high-speed transport, and drone-based aerial communication platforms, according to the IEEE – despite all of these technologies existing on current communications standards.

Over the past few years, members of the IEEE have taken part in extensive discussions about the technology, services, and applications needed for 5G. At the 2018 summit, they’ll tackle the evolution of 5G standards and deployments in a mix of presentations and practical sessions.

The event’s organisers said the focus will be on “what this new technology can do” and “its application in such diverse industries as agriculture, healthcare, and IT networks”.

Keynote speeches are due from Cisco, Nokia and Qualcomm, among others, while Highlands and Islands Enterprise, FarrPoint, and the University of Strathclyde will present the local context for 5G. Parallel Wireless, WHP Telecom, Vodafone, DCMS, Ofcom, and the University of Surrey 5GIC will also host sessions.

Professor Bob Stewart, from the University of Strathclyde, said: “The first IEEE summit was held at Princeton University in the USA in 2015, and since then there have been a number successful summits all over the world, but this is the first in the UK and we are excited to be hosting it.

“Scotland has first-hand experience of the particular geographic challenges faced in taking new technologies to rural areas, and alongside a plenary session, the event will feature two focused tracks, one on 5G IoT and one on 5G Rural, considering not just the technology, but also the new business models that might be needed.” 

Plus: DSA Spectrum Alliance Global Summit

In related news, the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance (DSA) Global Summit 2018 kicked off this morning with opening keynotes from representatives from the UK’s House of Lords, Ofcom, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and Microsoft.

Philip Marnick, spectrum group director at Ofcom, said: “Managing spectrum efficiently is crucial to improving how we enjoy technology today, and to enabling the services of tomorrow. It demands a collaborative approach. This includes exploring options for greater sharing of spectrum amongst different users, and looking at new ways to ensure all industries can access the airwaves they need to unlock the full potential of future technology.”

Internet of Business says

The industry buzz about 5G has been building this year, with the UK in the vanguard of tests and experimental deployments in cities such as Bristol, which has emerged as an innovative high-tech hotspot. So IEEE 5G will be an opportunity for the UK – and for Scotland in particular – to shine.

But 2018 has presented a parallel narrative, too. This has raised concerns about 5G security, while also questioning many of the claims made for the standard. Some dissenting voices come from the industry itself.

For example, Huawei chairman Eric Xu said last month that while 5G may be faster and more reliable than 4G and its predecessors, consumers would find “no material difference between the two technologies”. He added that Huawei would continue to invest in 5G, but largely because failure to do so would be bad PR.

“If you are not good at 5G, customers won’t buy from you even for 4G,” he said. “If one [network operator] says, ‘I have a 5G-enabled network’, the rest really have to launch 5G, even if it’s just for branding or marketing purposes.”

So IEEE 5G will also present an opportunity for industry consolidation and renewal – in the last mile before public deployment.