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IT Leadership // CIO Insights & Innovation
7/2/2018
09:00 AM
Kyle Malady, Chief Network Operations Officer and acting CTO, Verizon
Kyle Malady, Chief Network Operations Officer and acting CTO, Verizon
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5G: Powering Innovation

5G will usher in the fourth industrial revolution, enabling remote medicine and powering super connected cities. Delivering on this promise requires technical experience, dedicated partners and forward-thinking local communities.

5G, or fifth-generation wireless technology, will pave the way for an array of unprecedented innovations that will reshape cities, businesses and society as a whole. While the move from 3G to 4G was an incremental — albeit significant — network improvement, the jump from 4G to 5G will be transformative. To put a fine point on it, we believe 5G will usher in a fourth industrial revolution.

When we deploy 5G residential broadband services later this year, it will be the first demonstration of how 5G can shatter common assumptions of how and where high-speed broadband can be delivered – and the first of many use cases we’ll roll out in the next 18 months. That in turn will spark application and solutions developers to reimagine what they build, and how they deliver products, down the road.

Just as 5G will create a new way of delivering high-speed broadband into the home, it will also liberate applications that are currently restricted to a physical location using wired or Wi-Fi-based broadband connectivity. Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR) experiences will be untethered from both local high-speed broadband and hardware. Instead, Multi-access Edge Compute (MEC) technology will shift compute and storage capabilities from the core to the edge of the network. Suddenly, immersive experiences become ones that people can enjoy on-the-go using lightweight VR goggles or glasses.

 The blink of a human eye takes 400 milliseconds. 5G’s network latency will be just a few milliseconds. The applications enabled by this tremendous improvement over 4G latency will revolutionize society: remote telemedicine, advanced robotics, super connected cities, smart manufacturing, autonomous vehicles—and other applications we can’t even begin to think of today. 

At Verizon, we are spurring development of these radical technologies with our ecosystem partners, 5G incubator participants at Alley — based in New York City — and through unique partnerships. For example, earlier this year we teamed with the NBA to uncover new ways for fans to experience the game. While we’re working with some of the brightest minds in technology to reimagine the art of what’s possible with 5G, we’re also busy building out the network to support those ideas.   

Delivering on the promise of these technologies requires a network with deep fiber assets serving many small cell locations with baseband units sending signals over millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum. mmWave spectrum provides a huge pipe of hundreds of megahertz of bandwidth, allowing for up to one million devices to be connected per square kilometer, with up to 10 terabits of data being transmitted per second over the same area. These capabilities represent a three orders of magnitude improvement over 4G, and allow for the realization of the true potential of the Internet of Things.

Building such a network doesn’t happen overnight and cannot succeed without dedicated investment as well as a robust ecosystem of development partners — both within industry and academia. Further, it requires progressive community involvement and support. For 5G networks to enable the transformational leaps in society we predict, forward-thinking and civic-minded local leaders must take charge and help accelerate the delivery of these benefits to their citizens and businesses. Many of the legacy processes and policies that govern technology infrastructure were written in an era when wireless was a complementary service, not one that’s central to how communities operate. And with 5G, speed of deployment means everything when creating a platform for innovation and growth. Iterative progress and half measures won’t yield the outcome city planners dream of.  

What we’re building is exciting. The possibilities are vast. But we’re just at the beginning of our 5G journey. As our vision for 5G unfolds, it will further embolden great minds to rethink what’s possible and unlock the next industrial revolution and beyond.  

Kyle Malady is Chief Network Operations Officer and acting CTO with Verizon.

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