Future of All Things and the Creation of Time

The ongoing evolution of mobile telecommunications heralds a new era in which 5th generation (5G) mobile technology will significantly augment and enhance the world in which we live – more than any generation before.

A digital world, enabled and empowered by 5G networks will drive social and economic change through positive interventions across and between sectors and industries.The level of research, development, investment and implementation is now well advanced towards making this a reality.

The dialogue and strategic marketing of everything associated with a so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution is building and momentum is accelerating. The diversity of innovation will challenge and disrupt while brimming with high social and economic utility – and substantially underpinned by the infrastructure, products, applications and services supplied by the mobile telecommunications industry.

So it’s refreshing and timely to hear insights that extend beyond how the connected fridge and IoT will transform our lives. There is a deeper, more humanistic side to what a 5G empowered world can mean; one which totally acknowledges the positive contribution of the technological / human partnership within a commercial context. To this end 5G will be unquestionably industrial and socially transformative.

This week in Sydney, AMTA and UTS hosted a networking forum focused on this new era. Front and centre was an insightful presentation from Marcus Weldon - the President and Corporate Chief Technology Officer of Nokia Bell Labs. Weldon is responsible for coordinating the technical strategy across the company and driving technological and architectural innovations into the portfolio. He is considered one of the luminaries in the telecommunications industry in terms of the clarity, depth and breadth of his vision, and he has a phenomenal track record in terms of identifying technological disruptions and opportunities, from vectoring in Access, to the evolution to LTE overlay and Small Cells, to the emergence of virtualisation and SDN as profound industry changing forces.

Drawing on his industrial and research experience, Weldon described how our lives will be shaped by the digitisation and connection of everything and everyone, and what this means for business, new markets and a new phase of our technological existence. His book:  The Future X Network - A Bell Labs Perspective, discusses the transformation of human existence via digitisation and connection.

Attended by senior members of the telecommunications industry, government and research institutions, Weldon had the audience captivated with his analysis and observations of where industry is taking technology and how it reflects the current stage of human development. This was not a product or service pitch, but an insightful view that placed emphasis on the social and cultural relevance of digital technologies. The positive intervention of science and its application to address human need and desire was obvious and supported - including reference to Maslow’s famous hierarchy of human needs.

For Weldon the nexus between technology and its ability to create time (meaningful time) was eloquently described. As he noted, we (humans) have continuously created tools to augment our physical abilities … and save time. By decreasing distance and increasing knowledge, humans have successfully created time by designing and harnessing technology to execute those tasks and activities that are best serviced through hardware, software and the networks that frame them.

From the wheel, to the jet airliner, to automated manufacturing equipment and satellite communications, Weldon convincingly depicted how VR, AR, M2M and IoT etc, collectively represent the next stage of tool development which help to augment the physical abilities of humans.

Some of his key points are disarmingly obvious, yet grounded through the rigour of research thinking and technological literacy:

  • We have continuously created tools to augment our physical abilities … and save time
  • We have created tools to increase discovery by decreasing distance to save time
  • Need to interface digital & physical realms…to decrease distance and waste, and create time
  • Need to augment our mental abilities…to increase knowledge and save time

To some, Weldon may have come across as a historian or philosopher of science and technology, however to those who understand the economic and cultural role of technology, his insights make complete commercial sense. Indeed, Weldon’s ability to articulate the wider benefits of the coming 5G based technology revolution are compelling.

His insights tell us that the increasing automation of things and processes through digital interfaces and data analytics will deliver a degree of connectivity, utility and engagement that will be unprecedented … while impacting the Future of All Things and the Creation of Time.

For more information about Marcus Weldon and his work, visit the Nokia Bell Labs website.  For a copy of his presentation contact John Gertsakis at AMTA:  john.gertsakis@amta.org.au

Photo:  Marcus Weldon speaking at the UTS-AMTA Industry forum on 10 April 2017 at UTS, Sydney Australia.

12 April 2017



AMTA welcomes deployment regulation amendments

The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) welcomes the announcement today from the Minister for Communications and the Arts, Mitch Fifield, regarding the progression of 10 reforms to the regulations governing the deployment of wireless and mobile networks in Australia; as well as further consultation on 11 other proposed reforms. In welcoming the announcement, AMTA Chief Executive, Chris Althaus noted the Government’s reform package will go some way towards enabling the deployment of the next generation 5G mobile networks which are expected to bring significant improvements in speed, quality and capacity for Australia’s data hungry consumers.  But he also noted there was still more to do. “This is a welcome and very important first step - in what we hope will be an ongoing engagement with government and stakeholders to develop a dynamic regulatory framework to meet the deployment challenges of next generation networks.

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5G gains momentum in 2018

AMTA is confident that the Government's 5G priorities will add momentum to our ongoing efforts to engage with industry verticals and the respective government departments outside of the communications portfolio with regard to the broader economic and social benefits of 5G.

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AMTA Annual Report 2017

In 2017, the strong demand for mobile services continues to have an impact on our economy and society as the industry shifts its focus in preparation for 5G, the next generation of mobile technology. AMTA’s latest Annual Report includes the following highlights: As industry prepares for 5G the need for regulatory reform in spectrum management and network infrastructure deployment is increasingly urgent. 5G Mobile – Enabling Businesses and Economic Growth Report by Deloitte Access Economics found that 5G is expected to further drive Australia’s digital economy. It will add to the already significant (and growing) $34 billion in long-term productivity benefits from mobile; and annual network spend from mobile providers is expected to reach $5.7 billion in FY2017-18. The MCF has focused on an agenda of legislative reform to support the efficient and flexible deployment of network infrastructure.


How will 5G improve network performance

While the technical standards for 5G are still being developed, experts agree that 5G will offer: Latency of less than 1ms; Ability to deliver speeds of up to 10 Gbps and beyond; Energy efficiency in running 1000s of devices; and Improved network capacity by enabling millions of low bandwidth devices to connect simultaneously. Where 4G focussed on providing improved speed and capacity for individual mobile phone users, 5G will enable more industrial applications, and could be a major technological driver in industrial digitalisation. For more information about 5G read our latest report from Deloitte Access Economics. Download the complete report.