Technology has permeated every element of business for decades, either incrementally or what seems like overnight. In all cases, these changes were iterations of existing systems and were designed to adapt ways of doing things. Post-pandemic life, however, brings about a change that not only improves, but fundamentally reinvents the tools and technologies available to us. Society’s hyper-connectivity is at the heart of this change, as we enter the all-powerful era of 6G – a technology that has the potential to be ubiquitous in almost unimaginable ways.
About the Author
Joe Baguley, vice president and chief technical officer for EMEA, VMware.
While we only scratch the surface of its capabilities, how to capitalize on its projected market value of $1,773.09 billion by 2035 is on the agenda of every government and business around the world. The ultimate goal of 6G is to unlock its potential by 2030 to solve issues such as green and energy efficiency, digital inclusiveness and adaptability of sectors such as health and safety. But to grasp the enormity of where 6G is headed from a business perspective, it’s important to understand where we are now and what the future implications of the 6G boom are for society.
Connectivity could become as abundant as air
The progress made with 5G cannot be underestimated. It was the first to be born in the cloud, is programmable, open and allowed the IoT to progress. But the changing demands of science and technology, combined with human vision and the need to push boundaries, demand more. Some experts believe that 6G networks could one day allow users to reach surfing speeds of one terabit per second on one device.
To put that into perspective, that’s a thousand times faster than most 5G networks can deliver, at a maximum of one gigabit per second. This near-instantaneous wireless connectivity will open the doors to applications including smart devices, edge devices, and holographic communication, to name a few. When connectivity becomes as limitless, abundant and discreet as the air we breathe, these visions will become reality.
Stay in line with the laws of carbon neutrality
Previous generations of wireless technologies have been a key driver of network performance towards higher bandwidth, lower latency, and greater reliability. On the contrary, 6G is seen as a platform for computing innovations spanning artificial intelligence (AI), connectivity, sensors and virtualization. The sustainability challenge is at the heart of this change, as 6G is designed to keep pace with demands for improved global coverage, spectral efficiency and reduced carbon footprint, while strengthening the fairness and trust.
The more permanent hybrid working trend illustrates the role that the IoT must play in this change. Video conferencing and AR/VR collaboration solutions will further help keep carbon emissions in check, but these changes require more innovation to better support remote interaction. 6G is essential to unleash the full potential of these technologies, but the traditional means of developing these new systems will become useless. Not only does this require an iterative base, but one that can evolve as more data from various components is generated. This requires a globally connected and self-improving playground.
Preparing the ground for sustainable 6G
The path to 6G will be very different from previous wireless networks. This will require a complete re-architecture of the internet to an open grid if it is to support applications such as control systems for next-generation applications and autonomous vehicles, to name a few. True cross-collaboration between the wireless, cloud, and networking industries will also support the effort.
The Open Grid Alliance (OGA) is an industry consortium formed to define the architecture for the next generation of the Internet, especially at the edge. OGA’s mission is to set the framework for global automation and unlock inclusive, cross-industry, and multidimensional thinking driven by the evolution of the Internet. It’s a big step toward a new world of digital equity — without any technical disparity — where thinkers are empowered to tackle seemingly intractable problems. Greater collaborative international research helps visionaries define the international 6G roadmap and vision, keeping societal, sustainability and economic needs in mind.
What’s next for 6G?
6G isn’t just an upgrade in wireless, cloud, or internet technology. Rather, it is a fusion of these underlying technologies to reinvent fully automated life and form a continuum of evolution. This continuum is how people and technology evolve and how society responds. Over the next decade, 6G will introduce robots, drones, connected vehicles and more that will generate vast volumes of digital information to help humans thrive with technology in ways people want. . By accepting the fact that 6G will deal with more complex applications, we realize that 6G is not just a digital revolution, but a societal revolution.
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