So many trends, so many opportunities. August saw big questions and even bigger predictions. The questions came thick and fast: What’s the future for wireline when fixed voice is relentlessly declining? What future video standards will we need? What’s the future of machine learning in mobile networks? What’s the future for ePayment services when we can already pay in so many different ways?
The predictions had an even greater urgency—a future accelerating toward us. On current estimates, the take-up of 5G is predicted to reach 1 billion subscribers in five years, faster than experts thought only a short while ago, and certainly faster than previous technology generations. It will be part of a mix of global economic change. Asia will dominate in the coming years, said predictors, but some questioned if Africa will miss the opportunities of the next generation.
Data is key. How we collect and use data in all of its forms is at the heart of both questions and predictions: Will we see a “data downpour” as smarter transportation systems loom? Will gaming push boundaries in cloud architectures? Will smart cities become even smarter with ultra–low latency exchange? Can mass data collection by mobile revolutionize our ideas in mHealth?
Infrastructure will be critical in all of this too. This month we questioned if 5G will force new ideas in network infrastructures, and saw South East Asian stakeholders mull the future of their tower assets. New channels of connectivity are being opened up in new areas. The month saw serious plans for the Arctic regions and new subsea cable deployments promising broadband opportunity.
In the Pacific, major projects continue to roll out everywhere and especially enabling possibilities for those most remote. American Samoa, boosted by Hawaiki subsea cable connectivity, unveiled a new broadband strategy and expects 4G services more or less right now. In Guam and the Mariana Islands, VoLTE services went live. The 4700km Coral Sea Cable has reached Australian coastal waters in its final stages of construction. The Manatua cable system is scheduled for Pacific deployment next year.
Overhead, satellite experts saw big questions and predictions too: junk management in orbit, the delivery of SmallSat ecosystems, prospects for a future lunar economy, and the emergence of security issues in space. Slightly nearer to earth, we saw discussions on high altitude platforms (HAPS) for community connectivity, an impressive opportunity in an ICT world replete – it seems – with questions, predictions, and data possibilities for everyone.