A Powerful 5G Team Taking Shape

Carl Weinschenk
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2016 Business Communications: Changing the Way We Work

5G is a massive effort that requires players to cooperate on a number of levels. This week, AT&T said that it is talking with powerful companies about working together on the technology. Computerworld says that Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei, Qualcomm, Intel, Samsung and LG are among the possible stablemates. Others, including China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, KDDI, NTT DoCoMo, Telstra and Vodafone, may get in the mix in the future.

It is common for big players to band together during a promising new technology’s formative stages, for two main reasons: The short-term goal is to keep progress moving as quickly as possible. In the longer term, such cooperation makes it more likely that the companies’ plans become part of the eventual standard.

In what clearly doesn’t constitute a surprise, AT&T competitor Verizon is not one of the companies.


Big Growth Ahead for Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

IDC has provided some insight into how it thinks the augmented reality/virtual reality (AR and VR) segment will evolve.

The company said this week that it expects spending on the category to hit $500 billion next year. Hardware will account for more than half of the forecast revenues during the period. Software services will grow more than 200 percent this year compared to last. During the middle years of the forecast period, however, IDC says software will be overtaken by services revenue.

Globally, IDC believes that VR will outshine AR revenues in 2016 and 2017, but that AR revenues will pass VR after 2017.

Broadband Grants to Louisville, Raleigh and Austin

Louisville, Kentucky; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Austin, Texas each will receive $30,000 grants to help in their efforts to set up high-speed broadband networks.

According to The Louisville Courier-Journal, the non-profit Next Century Cities selected the cities to receive the first Charles Benton Next Generation Engagement Awards. The award is funded by the Democracy Fund and the Benton Foundation.

Louisville plans to use the funding to provide gigabit service to a community center in West Louisville, though the precise location has not yet been determined. The grant will be used to establish InVision Raleigh, which the story says will promote “visioning” and planning with the local government. Officials in Austin are developing the Smart Work, Learn and Play program. It is aimed at public housing residents.

SDN, NFV Leading to Reduced Capex for AT&T

This week, Cisco announced significant workforce reductions. The move was caused by the growth of software-defined networks and network functions virtualization (SDN and NFV).

SDNs and NFVs will also have a chilling effect on capital expenditures (capex). This week, AT&T Chief Technology Officer and AT&T Labs’ President Andre Fuetsch said at Nomura’s 2016 Media, Telecom and Internet Conference that the new approaches will cut costs for the carrier in the long run. The idea is that over time, the flexibility that SDN and NFV allow and the ability for systems to run on commodity hardware will mean that less expensive equipment will be needed.

Fuetsch’s statement, quoted at WirelessWeek, is a sign that the strategy is working:

’As we deploy more and more virtual functions, and as the hardware that we’re running those virtual functions, as that becomes more commoditized, all those efficiencies we gain back,’ Fuetsch explained. ‘We have the option of turning those investments back into the network or keeping those. So I would say, again, it’s hard to speculate here, but definitely a downward trajectory is what we’re looking at.’

Fuetsch didn’t provide percentages on the capex reduction.

Big Data, IoT Pushing M&A Market

The catchphrase “follow the money” is especially true when it comes to technology merger and acquisition (M&A) activity. This week, Ernst & Young said that in the second quarter, there were 28 deals of $1 billion or more in value, the most deals of such sort in history. The previous high was 20 deals, which was set in the fourth quarter of last year.

The report points to Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT) as the leaders. IoT deals enjoyed 28 percent and 26 percent increases in total number of billion-dollar deals during the year-over-year and to-date calendar year periods, respectively. Big Data rose 13 percent year over year and 29 percent for the year to date.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at cweinsch@optonline.net and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.

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