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Qualcomm’s John Smee on 5G R&D: ‘If you build it, they will come’

Dr. John Smee, Qualcomm’s VP of engineering, says one of the things that sets Qualcomm apart from other tech companies is the ‘if you build it, they will come’ research mindset: trying to invent and build technologies that will support what future applications could be. emerging, trying to bring those applications to life in a holistic way through advanced prototyping on the research side: in smart factories, automotive applications for cellular, millimeter wave systems, 5G and augmented / virtual reality.

The company is trying to establish an end-to-end system for testing and bring applications on top of that, Smee said. “That enables us to find out where the bottlenecks are, where we need to improve further, either in the standard or in our implementation; and who else do we need to work with in the ecosystem to help bring these technologies into the hands of consumers or enable new industries to adopt 5G? he added.

In essence, Smee says, part of the reason that mobile networks are still being deployed and amassing billions in investment in upgrades is that there are ongoing improvements in coverage, latency and capacity, the latter of which comes especially sharply into 5G.

“Suppose you are trying to provide capacity to some AGVs, some ground robots in a factory,” he offers. “We literally built our own 5G smart factory, and then we start charging more devices there, and we’re starting to see what the overall effect is on the experience of one device in the presence of multiple other devices? … What part of the capacity can the system spend on that one link, in the presence of these other links? ”

Qualcomm’s smart factory environment is set up on the corporate campus in San Diego. Smee describes a large warehouse building with a footprint that has expanded over time for his 5G research, where Qualcomm has a series of robots, an industrial conveyor equipped with various devices and a series of robots with capabilities such as being able to detect and move items on the line. It is both a prototype space and a customer engagement space directly with other companies and industries that have expertise in that environment and are interested in how 5G, AI, time-sensitive networks and other technologies can be used. The chip company also has its own vehicles on the road, he says, showing communication with roadside systems and other vehicles, as well as cellular network connectivity.

Qualcomm has also installed a live 5G network site at its San Diego headquarters, both to showcase the latest cellular technology to visitors and to gain a deeper understanding of millimeter wave propagation indoors. The company has shared detailed test results of that environment with the rest of the industry, along with other data it has gathered from outdoor mobility tests that inform network deployments. It continues to weigh both the present and the future, in terms of optimizing 5G, participating in current standard work – and looking beyond.

The wireless industry cannot ignore or evolve 5G apart from cloud computing, smart transportation or industrial IoT or the myriad industries it wants to serve with 5G, Smee ways. “We work closely with [these ecosytems]because it helps us move forward. “Because Qualcomm’s research and testing work is way ahead of the standard and its own product roadmap, it needs a deep understanding of where the technology stands, how it can be improved, and which applications can benefit from such improvements. make sense in the real world to be deployed.

“We need to partner with those industries and include them in our network,” says Smee. “That’s an interesting conundrum, that we are trying to improve the basics of mobile, but we are also trying to improve the applicability of mobile in many of these new industries. So we also have that inherent two-pronged approach to our research test beds.

“The value we’re trying to bring is that one company can’t do itself anymore,” Smee said, adding, “The industry is bigger now and we have a responsibility to get it right. it also starts with opening our own eyes to more and more other companies, other industries, [and]the global landscape of some of these technology scenarios. “

Looking for more insights into how telecom and technology companies are using 5G, MEC and virtualization in their own businesses? Watch the RCR Wireless News editorial report and our accompanying webinar with Dell Technologies, Ericsson and Rogers.

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