Photo credit: Hadis Malekie.
In this blog post series we will sneak into the future and how it will be affected by the arrival of the 6G technology that is already in the making in the vicinity of Kaira Clan – the City of Oulu, Finland. As opposed to the 5G technology, 6G will redefine networks infrastructure and IoT devices roles not simply by enabling much faster connectivity – again – but by changing the essential requirements as none of its predecessors did before. Join us in this blog posts series to discover the how’s and why’s but perhaps even more thrilling: the what if’s?
Table of Contents
Why you should be already working on your 6G strategy
The flabbergasting almost infinite 5G networks’ capabilities, with their associated devices and (real life) Use Cases, are just hitting the market and we should be thinking of being ready for the next generation? Seriously?
Well. Let me answer with a question: when do you think that the 5g winners of today started thinking about 5G?
We got 3G in the 2000s, 4G in 2010, and 5G in 2020. It takes 10 years between each standard generation. It is not that much if you think in terms of portfolio planning and Vision.
How are 6G and The Internet of Everything connected?
It is a non-obvious connection, one that can be easily overlooked because “The Internet of Everything” (IoE for friends) already made some shy headlines ages ago, see for instance this paper by CISCO form 2013. In another classical example of misaligned technologies the first hype around IoE never took off, and it will not bounce again, not in an obvious unarguably manner, until 6G reveals itself to the world in all its glory.
Luckily for you by reading, remembering and hopefully acting upon this article; you will be already sitting at the interaction of these technologies by the time they collide, changing the market landscape in such a way that for those unprepared it will feel like a tsunami or a Black Swan event.
How fast 6G will be?
Not only much faster but also radically different in ways 5G has not been any different from 4G.
Just a few months ago Trump, the former US president, tweeted about 6G and how magnificent it will be. Let’s be honest here: many people thought that he just misspelled it and we will not blame anyone for making fun of him. The guy certainly misses the geeky stereotype, to put it gently.
It turned out that, only a month after that tweet, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced a new category of experimental licenses for the use of frequencies between 95Ghz and 3Thz. That’s way higher above 5Gs spectrum, and by its looks it won’t be used for a 5G fork but for a legitimate new future mobile standard: the 6G. So maybe Trump got this one right, for once.
This new ultra high frequency will face even higher problems with range and penetration, compared to 5G millimeter waves, but wherever a technical challenge arises there is a motivated engineer thinking forward on how to solve it. This is the case of Professor Matti Latva-aho, director at the 6G Flagship research program from the University of Oulu, Finland.
As Mr. Larvae-aho pointed out, new architectures and computing solutions will emerge to address those challenges and turn them into opportunities.
“You are not answering my questions” – you could say now – “how fast 6G will be?”.
The geeky gossiping around 6G’s researchers is in the 1Tbps. Forget about downloading a Netflix movie in seconds. This will allow you to download 150 movies in a few seconds!
“Who needs that?” You would ask.
Nobody and everybody. 6G won’t simply turbocharged the currently emerging 5G Use Cases. The challenges around those ultra high frequencies will be – very likely – addressed with a radically different network topology. And this is where things start to get interesting.
The Internet of Everything (IoE)
As mentioned before: the first Internet of Things (IoT) hype took place years ago. The dust has settled and their real, financially viable, first applications with clear added value are undisputedly around IIoT (The Industrial Internet of Things), which are nothing more than sparks of the incoming Internet of Everything.
Today, IIoT and 5G just started their honeymoon to breed all those promises they made to us, and indeed they are growing stronger and shinier than we thought: Smart Factories, Unmanned Vehicles, remote surgery – you name it – they are falling into place right before our eyes.
Tomorrow, the 6G’s requirements will redefine the wireless architectures as we know them. This is something 5G has not changed, simply because it was not a technical requisite so there was no need for it. True there is a bit of hype around Edge Computing, but you should take like the IoT ’s first hype: we can see the Vision, but we can’t touch it, yet.
6G will enable Use Cases that look like pure Sci-Fi today. It sounds like a 5G ’s cliché but it is true and it will catch a lot off guard precisely because we all got our inputs a bit overloaded with the 5G media fanfare. 6G will not be shaped to satisfy the need for more data, latency or bandwidth – although it will take all those into their next level. 6G will be carved to make real the future technological breakthroughs that we can see, already from this present moment, that they are about to converge within the next few years.
Human to human interaction via shared thoughts.
Multisensory Extended Reality (which happens to be a 5G killer app).
Connected Robotics and Autonomous Systems (CRAS).
No worries if they don’t ring a bell. These are the bleeding edge 6G Use Cases that the researchers and organisations already working on the 6G standard are looking into. This is how our future market will look like. We will explore these breathtaking elements of the incoming 6G era in our following posts.
What does this mean? For starters: the end of an era. We are referring here to the end of base-station transmission architecture.
6G will require many more lower antennas closer to the users, sometimes even inside the users. Think of this mind-interfaces, but also of several healthtec applications.
This will change the World Wide Web, and all the connected or private intranets, as we know them today. Wireless systems will necessarily turn into a self-sustained, intelligent fabric.
6G Edge computing will eat the World
You probably know about Edge Computing, clouds, fogs and mists. You might even feel comfortable thinking that your strategy for those is sound and that, in due time, you will simply push your clients to renew their fleets, and upgrade their services. Not this time.
Portfolio wise it means that the entire IoT, IIoT and IoV constellations will become the de facto Word Wide Web. Let that sink in: each device, users, or physical entities will be doubled as antennas, courtesy of a new generation of transceivers.
We are talking about the total disruption of the infrastructure owners, connected device vendors, handset makers and possibly a nowadays unthinkable category of dummy products that will become assimilated by the Cambrian explosion of the Edge, an explosion sparked by the arrival of 6G.
This also means that 6G will redefine all the business models around data consumption because it will be not just a physical standard but also a virtual one providing new opportunities for innovative networks services in areas such as sensing, telemetry or imaging. This will also redefine the definition of paying customers who will be no longer divided into individuals or organizations…
Shaping up your 6G strategy
If by the time you are reading this you can feel butterflies in your belly is because we, the Kaira Clan Team, have a combined experience of more than 60 years in high and deep tech. We have witnessed and participated in several long term technological transitions, hence we understand where you are today and how it will affect where you will be tomorrow. We are painfully aware of how critical it is for you to not miss the unique time window opportunity that being several steps ahead provides. It also happens that Kaira Clan is based in the City of Oulu – Finland – the epicenter of 6G research and the home of some of the most disruptive deep tech companies in the world. So you can bet we already have one foot at the door of our neighbors, after all Finland – with less than six million people – is a tight and small community of good brains ; and the City of Oulu, with its vibrant and young citizenship is no exception: barely 250,000 souls who love to spend the long winter nights in the laboratory building the future others can only dream about.
As a reference the first two global summits on 6G already took place in the City of Oulu (2019 and 2020 editions), sponsored by the University of Oulu and its 6G Flagship initiative.
At Kaira Clan we are all die hard industry experts. We love technology because we love its power to drive abundance for all, which supports a better and more stable life to our entire world. We are the rare blend of business people, with a good nose for forecasting, and the push of a geeky kid on a Xmas morning.
We are dreamers, doers and builders and we literally live at the place where dreams come true.
Tervetuloa* to your future!
Bonus: the video below was published back in 2017, maybe it looked like too futuristic for some back in the day but perhaps, now and under the light of what we have shared here today with you, it might look less moonshooting and more like “this is actually coming!”.
* Finnish for “welcome”.