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After the first two (and a half) days, much has been abuzz at Mobile World Congress 2016. Essentially all of the new product announcements, demos, and keynotes highlight either mobile devices (obviously), IoT solutions, or 5G. Several of the leading IoT & embedded hardware players are out in force, showcasing new levels of performance, connectivity, integration, and software support. The following are some highlights from my time with various vendors so far:
Intel’s focus this year is on pushing 5G forward and enabling IoT-optimized connectivity. First, it launched 5 new IoT modems supporting emerging wireless technologies including NB-IOT, LTE-Advanced, LTE Category M, and 3G. These new technologies enable the development of more cost effective and spectrum efficient solutions. In the 5G realm, Intel is collaborating with Ericsson, Verizon, and other operators on new technology solutions as well as other organizations such as KT in new trials being implemented in 2018, LG Electronics for 5G telematics in future cars, Nokia for radio, and Verizon for wireless field trials. Intel’s new developments for next-generation connectivity are a further indictment on the growing influence leading semiconductor technology providers have on the ecosystem.
Dell has taken its rugged talents into smaller embedded systems with its newly launched embedded PC products – the Dell Embedded Box PC 3000, featuring an Atom processor, and 5000 series which is powered by a Core processor. The new box PCs are designed for extended operation in harsh environments. The company is also providing a flexible buying program supporting the sale of a single or thousands of systems at competitive price points with incumbent players. Further, the products are supporting by Dell’s long-term deployment services for extended lifecycles of five years. The Dell Edge Gateway 5000, launched in October 2015, was featured in a couple of booths throughout the show floor such as at the booth of Ubuntu, where it was supporting Snappy Ubuntu Core and its image-based systems management capabilities. Dell’s growing support from the embedded community will help bridge its strengths in high-performance integrated systems further down the IoT solution stack and developing more complete solutions.
With Cavium Networks, the company’s many-core processing hardware for servers is just the tip of the iceberg. Cavium is committed to delivering a processing solution that is scalable, optimized for specific workloads and system size, and most up-to-date with current 64-bit ISAs. As a result, Cavium is looking to drive down the TCO of leading high-performance enterprise and datacenter infrastructure. At this year’s MWC, Cavium was showcasing several technologies for SDN, NFV, and C-RAN targeting advanced 4G and 5G networks. Cavium also announced it has expanded its partnership with Argela, a service provider and developer of telecom operator solutions, to include the availability of ProgRAN on Cavium’s OCTEON Fusion-M and ThunderX processors.
Qualcomm hosted a roundtable discussion with analysts exploring various aspects of 5G. We discussed emerging next-generation technologies, such as LTE-Advanced Pro, OFDM-based waveforms, MIMO, beamforming, mmWave, and mesh networking. Its vision of the future for communications will be a blend of 5G, 4G, and Wi-Fi for spectrum use and technical capability. The company has learned from the shortcomings of LTE-Direct (which had added cost and lacked business use cases) and fully supports the OFDM scheme for multi-carrier modulation – a unified architecture. Qualcomm is also providing end-to-end prototypes for its customers to build and test upon these new technologies. Qualcomm with its processing solutions for communications applications ranging from consumer wearables to small cells and leadership in standardization – including the newly-launched MulteFire Alliance – have placed it at the front of potentially many new socket opportunities in the long-term 5G transition.
There is plenty more to come as this is just the first of a series of blogs looking back at our time at MWC2016. We traveled many miles traversing the 8 halls and an avalanche of new announcements have been made this week. Stay tuned.