Spectrum allocation, cybersecurity and the connected car at the centre of discussion at the 5G Huddle in Copenhagen this week. Security and privacy emerged as key concerns across sectors
The allocation of radio spectrum, new business models, cybersecurity and the connected car took centre stage at the 5GHuddle, organised by the Wireless World Research Forum (WWRF) in partnership with DI ITEK, the Danish technology trade association. Over 150 delegates including leading scientists, high-level industry and government representatives from Europe, North America and Asia discussed the disruptive nature of 5G technologies, with security and privacy emerging as the key challenges in delivering a sustainable 5G ecosystem.
Stuart Revell, former Chief Technology Officer of Tech UK , the organistion that represents over 850 UK-based technology companies, led the discussions on the main challenges for the 5G community by presenting the Wireless Test & Innovation Centre (WTIC) whitepaper. Ming Lei, Huawi presented the Chinese Government-backed IMT-2020 5G promotion group and the FuTURE Forum initiative, discussing their international co-operation projects and how to rethink mobile communications of the future in their 2020+ White Paper.
Spectrum allocation was identified as one of the main challenges to making the leap forward in 5G deployment. The debate over what spectrum should be made available for 5G will be, as Andrew Hudson, Policy Director of the Spectrum Group at UK telecoms regulator Ofcom, said, “uncomfortable”. Leaving too many bands under consideration could make a positive outcome less likely, he said, as "lots of people might have to give a little bit", adding that it's not regulators' job to "make everyone happy" but to "debate the important questions."
Chih-Lin I, Chief Scientist of Wireless Technologies at China Mobile, added to this, saying that in the short term, C-band would be the core spectrum of 5G: "we want it to become key piece of 5G architecture.”
Anders Bohlin, Senior Economist at the European Investment Bank, warned that “If governments auction 5G spectrum to fill their treasury coffers and then operators don't invest because there's no market, that won't be good for 5G”.
As Mischa Dohler, Head of Centre for Telecommunication Research in the Department of Informatics at Kings’ College, London, commented, business models may be the main shift in a 5G era, as the change to B2B could be attractive for the cellular industry.
For Pasi Kemppainedm, NNE Pharmaplan, this is the telecom industry's "last chance" to stretch its services to compete with big players like Google and Facebook. The disruptive part of 5G isn't the radio access part, but the services infrastructures. Facebook, Google and others will "eat your lunch" in future services if telcos don't deal with services infrastructure. Also, telecom companies shouldn't let 5G limit the start of service enablement. Services should be agnostic, and when 5G becomes ready, operators can move to better capability to provide those services.
Opening a session at the event that focused specifically on the potential of 5G in the automotive industry, Preben Mogensen, Principal Engineer at Nokia Network said: “We would like to see 5G as a framework to be optimised for the automotive industry”. Research challenges Nokia is working on for connected mobility include being able to support higher mobility, a lot of devices in a small space, ultra-reliability of networks, radio latency less than 1ms, network slicing and optimized service delivery for heterogeneous use cases. “As a telecom operator, our challenge is enabling a new generation of latency critical services. We are working on research to improve resilience to network failures,” he said.
Peter Vermaat, Principal ITS consultant at TRL, an independent research organisation, brought the road operator’s perspective to the 5G debate, agreeing that the connectivity requirements of vehicles are highly dependent on high network reliability and low latency, as well as co-operative services: “No single communication channel will be sufficient,” he said, “we don’t want the whole network to break down because a base station is running out of power.
“Without connectivity, research shows that, with the connected vehicle, safety goes down compared to a manually operated one. “Self-driving cars”, he said, “are a long, long way off.” Even Google cars, he said, are “fully autonomous, but not in all circumstances.”
Aside from the challenges faced in implementing 5G, come the concerns – in particular the risk posed by cyber crime. Focusing on these potential vulnerabilities of the IoT and 5G era, Zolten Precsenyi, Government Affairs Manager at Symantec, said explained that cybersecurity challenges arise not just from 5G in particular, but also from the connected world at large. Wearable devices, connected cars, e-health systems, smart grids are all vulnerable to attack. Current public policies for the telecoms, e-identification, network security and other areas “don't go far enough to protect against novel security issues. Self-regulation should be a credible alternative to government regulation,” he said.
“The business model this year has moved to the centre of the discussion and is not seen only from the telecom industry at large, but from the user’s point of view,” said Dr Nigel Jefferies, Huawei, Chair of WWRF, closing the 5G Huddle.