October 13, 2020 — Open radio access networks may be the next big trend in mobile networks across the globe, with network deployment projected to take place throughout the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, and Brazil this year.
Open RAN promises to lower the cost of deploying 5G networks and drive competition in the telecom space, according to panelists participating at the 2020 Open RAN Forum on Tuesday.
Don’t miss the first event in “Broadband Breakfast’s ‘A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G’ Series,” on Wednesday, October 14, 2020, at 12 Noon ET: “The Hype and the Reality of 5G.”
The technology offers a new and interoperable model for building 5G networks in comparison to the tightly vertically-integrated model typically utilized to deploy both wired and wireless networks in the United States. Open RAN networks tout their disaggregated ability for multiple vendors to offer service.
“We wanted to embrace open RAN to drive the cost of deploying networks to a level that was unheard of,” said Tareq Amin, chief technology officer of Rakuten. According to Amin, competition spurred by open RAN propelled infrastructure building costs 47 percent lower than previously.
Amin updated audiences on Rakuten’s open RAN model, currently in the early stages of being deployed in Tokyo, Japan, saying the company has “invested enormously in automation” to enable the network to be installed using cloud-based technology.
Open RAN also gaining global prominence
Open RAN networks are being implemented globally, with Telefónica, a multinational telecom carrier, employing a host of hardware and software companies to advance O-RAN within their 4G and 5G wireless network. Yet challenges remain to scaling open RAN.
The panel discussed barriers currently inhibiting open RAN growth.
“Technology-wise, deploying open RAN is not complicated,” said Amin. “Rather, it is collaboration and creates an ecosystem that connects partners, which is difficult.”
In deploying multi-vendor networks, the classic carrier-vendor relationship takes a different form, and competitors sometimes have to roll up their sleeves and collaborate to deliver innovative new configurations.
“Collaboration is necessary in changing the industry ecosystem to support open RAN,” said Aaron Burnstein, director of connectivity ecosystems at Facebook.
“You have to help your partners or you will not succeed,” furthered John Baker, senior vice president of business development at Mavenir.
Facebook is promoting open RAN
Burnstein detailed Facebook’s collaboration efforts with open RAN stakeholders. The company recently joined the Telecom Infra Project, partnering with over 500 global technology and telecom leaders to help design and build new telecom technologies. In an attempt to increase connectivity, the company has been strategically locating data centers to further the deployment of open RAN.
On the topic of open RAN, Burnstein said Facebook focuses “on building the ‘muscles’ to build connectivity and lets operators decide what is best for consumers.”
Diane Rinaldo, executive director of the Open RAN Policy Coalition, called on the federal government to initiate the shift in the mobile industry.
“The government should get involved to help foster a vibrant supplier ecosystem,” said Rinaldo, saying the administration has the advantage of being able to pull the best of industry and federal employees to solve tough problems.
This summer, a bipartisan group of U.S. politicians, led by Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, proposed legislation that would require the Federal Communications Commission to channel at least $750 million into open RAN technologies.
The group argued the move would spur innovation in U.S. software companies and provide alternatives to Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE.
The Tuesday event was hosted by RCR Wireless News.
5G Connected Traffic Structures Will Facilitate Safer, Environmentally Friendly Travel: Industry
The release of more spectrum will help move autonomous vehicles forward.
WASHINGTON, September 13, 2022 – 5G-connected street infrastructure, such as traffic lights, will make commuter travel environmentally friendly and safe, said a panel at a Punchbowl News event Thursday, and it can be facilitated by the release of more spectrum.
The move toward autonomous vehicles will require vehicles and road structures communicating with each other. Some vehicles on the road include sensors that detect objects to avoid collisions – but these vehicles still require someone behind the wheel.
Nick Ludlum, senior vice president and chief communications officer of the event’s sponsor, CTIA, spoke about the environmental benefits of autonomous transportation and said vehicles and road systems can “all work together…to make more efficient transit patterns…so people aren’t sitting and idling in cars with, [producing] all the emissions.”
But Ludlum noted that the Federal Communications Commission can facilitate such autonomous travel by auctioning off more spectrum. “More spectrum means better networks, and better networks means bigger innovations,” he said.
Joe Moye, CEO of autonomous transportation company Beep, said that his company’s specialty is autonomous shuttles – with capacities of 12–14 passengers.
“The vehicles have to interface with infrastructure like a human would,” said. Beep’s CEO argued that 5G-enabled real-time communication between vehicle and infrastructure is “absolutely critical to the safety and effectiveness of these types of vehicles.” Moye also explained that with 5G technology, Beep is developing systems by which a remote operator can take control of an autonomous vehicle and maneuver it out of an emergency.
Moye said he believes that adoption of autonomous mass transit could also significantly reduce commute-driven emissions.
“If we’re gonna really transform mobility as we know it,” Moye said, “we need to have a convenient, safe alternative to our personal vehicles.”
Open Radio Access Networks Can Save Energy, Say Panelists at Industry Summit
Broadband players in both the fiber marketplace and 5G space are pushing for energy-efficient networks.
September 8, 2022 – Open radio access networks allow administrators to utilize software that save energy, said Paul Challoner, vice president of Network Product Solutions for Ericsson, at Fierce Wireless’ Open RAN Summit on Wednesday.
Radio access networks connect personal devices – such as phones and computers – to core networks through radio waves. Open RANs’ components, unlike those of traditional RANs, are “interoperable” – a single network can function with pieces made by different manufacturers.
A crucial part of an Open RAN is the RAN Intelligent Control, a software component which enables users to obtain and run native as well as third-party software.
For instance, to eliminate energy waste during periods of light traffic, these sophisticated controls employ artificial intelligence software to direct signals to designated base stations only . This allows other base stations to hibernate. Traditional RANs lack the software capacity of O-RANs and therefore must run all base stations at all times.
Energy initiatives across telecom industry
Elsewhere in the telecom industry, broadband players are pushing for energy-efficient networks as well. Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Geoffrey Starks regularly calls for sustainable, net-zero carbon emissions. “We must continue to find ways to do more while using less,” he said in June.
Additionally, the Fiber Broadband Association recently released a report that found that fiber to the home technology creates less CO2 than either DSL or cable broadband. What’s more, the report found that since FTTH users are disproportionately likely to work from home, FTTH also results in less commute-driven CO2 emissions.
O-RAN as a 5G player
Many believe that open RAN technology will play a substantial role in creating an alternative to proprietary telecommunications equipment. As concerns mount about Chinese telecom manufacturer Huawei – including its connections to the Chinese Communist Party –O-RAN has emerged as a viable alternative to provide 5G coverage.
To safeguard O-RAN networks, networks must employ a bottom-to-top approach to cybersecurity, said Douglas Gardner, chief technologist for the Analog Devices’ CTO Office Security Center of Excellence, at Wednesday’s Open RAN Summit. Gardner argued that every part of the network – down to the chip level – must be constructed with potential cyberthreats in mind.
Ultimately, Gardner believes that expensive up-front investments in cybersecurity prevent far more expensive breaches down the road: “Good security costs vendors money. Get over it.”
David Flower: 5G and Hyper-Personalization: Too Much of a Good Thing?
5G, IoT and edge computing are giving companies the opportunity to make hyper-personalization even more ‘hyper’.
It’s very easy for personalization to backfire and subtract value instead of add it.
Consider the troubling fact that we may be arriving at a moment in hyper-personalization’s journey where the most hyper-personalized offer is no offer at all. Nobody likes to be constantly bombarded by content, personalized or not.
And that’s the paradox of hyper-personalization: if everyone’s doing it, then, in a sense, nobody is.
5G and related technologies such as IoT and edge computing are giving companies the opportunity to make hyper-personalization even more “hyper” via broader bandwidths and the faster processing of higher volumes of data.
This means we’re at a very interesting inflection point: where do we stop? If the promise of 5G is more data, better data, and faster data, and the result is knowing our customers even better to bug them even more, albeit in a “personal” way, when, where, and why do we say, “hold on—maybe this is going too far.”?
How do you do hyper-personalization well in a world where everyone else is doing it and where customers are becoming increasingly jaded about it and worried about how companies are using their data?
Let’s first look at what’s going wrong.
Hyper-personalization and bad data
Hyper-personalization is very easy to mess up, and when you do mess it up it has the exact opposite of its intended effect: it drives customers away instead of keeping them there.
Consider an online ad for a product that pops up for you on a website a couple days after you already bought the thing being advertised for. This is what I call “noise”. It’s simply a nuisance, and the company placing that ad—or rather, the data platform they’re using to generate the algorithms for the ads—should already know that the person has already bought this item and hence present not a “repeat offer” but an upsell or cross-sell offer.
This sounds rudimentary in the year 2022 but it’s still all too common, and you’re probably nodding your head right now because you’ve experienced this issue.
Noise usually comes from what’s known as bad data, or dirty data. Whatever you want to call it—it pretty much ruins the customer experience.
Hyper-personalization and slow data
The second major issue is slow data, which is any data being used way too slowly to be valuable, which usually includes data that has to the trip to the data warehouse before it can be incorporated into any decisions.
Slow data is one of the main reasons edge computing was invented: to be able to process data as closely to where it’s ingested as possible in order to use it before it loses any value.
Slow data produces not-so-fun customer experiences such as walking half a mile to your departure gate at the airport, only to find that the gate has been changed, and then, after you’ve walked the half mile back to where you came from, getting a text message on your phone from the airline saying your gate has been changed.
Again, whatever you want to call it—latency, slow data, annoying—the end result is a bad customer experience.
How to fix the hyper-personalization paradox
I have no doubt that the people who invented hyper-personalization had great intentions: make things as personal as possible so that your customers pay attention, stay happy, and stay loyal.
And for a lot of companies, for a long time, it worked. Then came the data deluge. And the regulations. And the jaded customers. We’re now at a stage where we need to rethink how we do personalization because the old ways are no longer effective.
It’s easy—and correct—to blame legacy technology for all of this. But the solution goes deeper than just ripping and replacing. Companies need to think holistically about all sides of their tech stacks to figure out the simplest way to get as much data as possible from A to B.
The faster you can process your data the better. But it’s not all just about speed. You also need to be able to provide quick contextual intelligence to your data so that every packet is informed by all of the packets that came before it. In this sense, your tech stack should be a little like a great storyteller: someone who knows what the customer needs and is feeling at any given moment, because it knows what’s happened up to this point and how it will affect customer decisions moving forward.
Let’s start thinking of our customer experiences as stories and our tech stacks as the storytellers—or maybe, story generators. Maybe then our personalization efforts will become truly ‘hyper-personal’— i.e., relevant, in-the-moment experiences that are a source of delight instead of annoyance.
David Flower brings more than 28 years of experience within the IT industry to the role of CEO of Volt Active Data. Flower has a track record of building significant shareholder value across multiple software sectors on a global scale through the development and execution of focused strategic plans, organizational development and product leadership. This piece is exclusive to Broadband Breakfast.
Broadband Breakfast accepts commentary from informed observers of the broadband scene. Please send pieces to firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed in Expert Opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Broadband Breakfast and Breakfast Media LLC.
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