5G will digitise everyone and everything, says Alcatel-Lucent CTO (video)

13 Mar 2015

Marcus Weldon, CTO of Alcatel-Lucent and president of Bell Labs

The key enabling technology that will connect everyone and everything as part of the internet of things (IoT) revolution will be 5G, the CTO of Alcatel-Lucent Marcus Weldon said this week.

Weldon, who is also the president of Bell Labs, explained that 5G will be the glue that will make the internet of things stick.

“In the past we invented mobile technologies starting from the technology up, this time we are starting in the exact opposite direction.

“Our simplest statement is we are trying to enable the digitalisation of everything and and everyone. Machines are the everything and people are the everyone and we are trying to do that in a way that makes them feel like they have infinite capacity, at least apparently.

“Each application and person gets what they need.

“That’s how we define 5G and from there the technology flows in terms of beam forming, millimeter wave and using a seamless control plane using all the radios at once.”

Weldon was in Dublin this week at the Bell Labs Ireland Future X Day at the company’s R&D facility.

Net neutrality

Following the FCC vote to pursue Net Neutrality Weldon said that the telecoms industry will find ways to derive value from its investment in infrastructure.

“We clearly see the network as the next big thing. As you connect all these machines and people to apps that run in the cloud, you will need a massively scalable and dynamic network to enable this.

“In terms of net neutrality we think the idea that we can’t do paid prioritization is a bit of a limitation, but on the other hand specialised services are allowed, reasonable network management and edge cloud hosting techniques where the cloud moves into the network are allowed. So I think there are enough degrees of freedom there that will allow everyone to get what they want.”

He said money and value will flow in the direction of services that solve constraint problems.

“It’s back to economics, if you solve the constraint problem the value should flow into that domain and we have the mechanisms to allow that to happen.”

In terms of R&D and the future networks being built by Alcatel-Lucent, Weldon said that Ireland is playing a leadership role.

“Ireland does analytics, it does small cell architecture and bringing that together in a whole end-to-end value proposition.

“Ireland is at the centre of our vision for the industry and it is working on the key technologies for us. There is a lot of talent, a lot of creativity and Ireland is working on the right topics.”

Intelligent broadband plan

Weldon also praised the Irish Government’s €512m National Broadband Plan to connect 600,000 homes and 100,000 businesses currently unserved with broadband as an “intelligent plan.”

“What I’m seeing is a very intelligent approach of running fibre as deep as you can and then re-using copper where you can as well. That’s the right answer.

“I think a very intelligent plan is being built in Ireland and it will be an enabler of a new digital society.

“This isn’t just broadband for homes. If you go into that vision of the future where we are digitising everything, it is the enabler of the digital society and Ireland is going to lead the way because of the plan it has in place.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years