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The future of 5G: symbiosis, ecosystem, industrial clusters

March 26, 2021|
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On March 24, at the "Global trends in the study and testing of 5G" expert session, industry experts discussed the most notable trends in the development of fifth generation communication technologies. The event was attended by representatives of the IT Department of Moscow Government, Moscow Agency of Innovation, multiple telecom companies, including Rostelecom, MTS, Beeline, Tele2 and vendors, including Kryptonite and Ericsson.

Among other things, the discussion showed that 5G requires unprecedented cooperation between companies from the telecom segment and other areas. Experts discussed the prospects for the development of the main global 5G trends in Russia and Moscow, in particular. Evgeny Novikov, Advisor to the Deputy Head of the IT Department of Moscow Government, named the key direction for the development of fifth-generation networks in the capital.

Symbiosis for development

The study of world experience in piloting solutions based on various 5G laboratory-type sites presented in the middle of last year showed a significant increase in the number of such sites in recent years. During the discussion, experts explained the reasons for this trend.

Firstly, the need to work out difficult complex projects with industrial customers. 5G is a network aimed not only at the mass segment, the communication standard was also developed for the critical services of industrial customers. Secondly, testing the capabilities of the equipment, including within the framework of the Open RAN concept. Finally, networks involve the use of a large number of different devices: wearable, consumer, industrial equipment, etc. The integration of the entire set of equipment requires laboratories.

Alesya Mamchur

 Director for Strategic Development, Rostelecom

The director of the Ericsson 5G Innovation Center, Mikhail Filimonchik, named two more reasons that require the opening of new laboratories, even in those countries where commercial 5G networks have already been launched: training telecom specialists, as well as testing various operating modes of equipment and testing its technical support.

Another trend discussed by experts is the interest of non-telecom companies in testing 5G technologies and opening appropriate laboratories and test zones. In the opinion of the participants in the discussion, there is nothing unusual in this process.

Fifth generation networks are no longer just about ordinary users, not just about bandwidth. They are more about services on top of infrastructure. In view of this, investments in this infrastructure are becoming a cornerstone issue, including for companies, service providers focused on corporate markets. In my opinion, they will ultimately be the 5G drivers.

Timofey Smelyansky

Head of Telecommunication Projects Department of Kryptonite

Michael Filimonchik from Ericsson reminded that the use of new communication technologies can allow large companies to develop their business.

If we talk about LTE, then with the help of these technologies large companies have moved in new directions. Such corporations are always on the lookout for new businesses that they want to develop in conjunction with new technologies. 5G can become an incentive for their development.

Mikhail Filimonchik

Director of the Ericsson 5G Innovation Center 


Alesya Mamchur from Rostelecom notes the other side of the issue: in her opinion, in the context of 5G, the telecom segment will not be able to cope with the development of the market alone. The fifth-generation communications segment is a very capacious investment and requires new competencies, and operators as well as all other market participants will need cooperation. According to her, a symbiosis of at least three players is needed: an industrial customer, a telecom operator and an equipment manufacturer.

Risk sharing within the ecosystem

Innovation and industrial parks (or innovation clusters) can become platforms for such symbiosis, as well as for obtaining the first real effects from them. There are not many examples of such sites in the world yet, but the participants of expert sessions, including representatives of telecom operators, consider them to be one of the most promising for 5G testing.

The advantages of industrial parks are the reduction of the bureaucratic burden on operators so that cases and hypotheses can be tested in a shorter period of time. And expanding the partner ecosystem. No one needs technology for technology's sake, and 5G will only be commercialized if there is a good ecosystem of partners that is formed as part of this activity.

Alexander Balyuk

Head of Beeline’s department for the introduction of new technologies 

Evgeny Lukyanchuk from MTS also sees the benefits of industrial parks in the fact that such sites allow to form an ecosystem with the participation of both the customer and the city. Among other things, the expert sees a benefit in the possibility of attracting several equipment manufacturers within one site.

If we talk about multi-vendor interoperability, we support this direction and we try to interact with all suppliers (Huawei, Ericsson, Nokia) in our laboratory. Each has its own characteristics, and interaction with them allows you to study the experience of vendors and take the best from each.

Evgeny Lukyanchuk

Head of the Department of Architecture of the Radio Access Network of MTS

In this context, the expert sees three main directions of development: the 5G market itself, private and corporate networks, as well as realizing the potential of 5G for future technologies (managed transport, advanced video surveillance systems, smart city, and so on).

According to Aleksey Krushinin from Tele2, Russia needs industrial parks like no other state for several reasons.

We still do not have a frequency resource. Also, a roadmap has now been developed, which assumes the use of domestic equipment, the standards of which have not yet been agreed upon. Accordingly, it would be right to gather operators and vendors together on the basis of such site in order to jointly study the requirements and develop solutions.Also, industrial parks will make it possible to understand business needs and test cases. We have not yet found a real killer offer in 5G, everything that is used can be implemented on 4G. Finally, an industrial park can become a simple and straightforward gateway for consumers of these services.

Alexey Krushinin

Technical director of the Moscow macroregion, Tele2

Three stages of development of Russian "hardware"

During the discussion, one of the listeners asked Timofey Smelyansky, a representative of Kryptonite, about whether there are manufacturers of the corresponding telecom equipment in Russia. The expert spoke about the three stages of the implementation of the state project for the creation of domestic equipment.

Do we have manufacturers? Surprisingly, we have, but a few. I'm talking about those who know and can create equipment, or at least understand how to produce carrier-grade equipment, with the support of the necessary algorithms. Finding them is quite problematic, but they exist.

As part of the first stage of the state 5G project, which is being implemented by Rostec to develop equipment, we conducted an audit of domestic companies, traveled almost all over Russia and studied about 40 companies. Not all of them have been audited, not even half, but we have chosen a pool of companies to work with. We understand how they need to be combined in order to get a carrier-grade product exercising centralized control.

At the next stage, we are developing a technological map of the product line, drawing up technical requirements for each product, coordinating the technical map with telecom operators so that their requirements are satisfied.

And at the third stage, these products will go into development by the forces of centralized cooperation.

Alesya Mamchur, a representative of Rostelecom, says the company believes in developing the concept of similar test sites in the country.

 To create real cases, you need to work not as a traveling salesman, when you take and build one base station, but  to work in a permanent format, by sharing risks and competencies between us and the industry. We believe that in this format it will be possible to realize the potential of the fifth generation communication networks. We are negotiating with a large number of industrial customers, the relevant initiatives are laid down in the roadmap.  

Alesya Mamchur

Director for Strategic Development, Rostelecom

During the discussion, Timofey Smelyansky said that within the framework of the agreement between Rostec and Rostelecom, it is planned to create a centralized laboratory aimed at creating and testing equipment. In particular, it will allow telecom operators to demonstrate the capabilities of an integrated solution assembled from equipment from different vendors.

Moscow's next step in 5G

The creation of such sites, where a large number of companies from different industries can come to jointly test various technologies and cases, is a priority for Moscow as well. During the discussion, Evgeny Novikov, Advisor to the Deputy Head of the IT Department of Moscow Government said that the next stage in piloting fifth-generation communications in the capital would be the creation of an industrial cluster.

The creation of pilot 5G zones in Moscow is the first step in building new generation communication networks. We actively supported all telecom operators in this work. MTS, for example, recently launched several pilot zones in Moscow. The next stage of development is the creation of 5G industrial sites. These are not yet pre-commercial networks, but already large-scale, cross-industry clusters on real industrial customers, where various business models and digital services based on 5G technologies will develop. We are discussing the creation of such a cluster in Moscow with one of the telecom operators.

Evgeny Novikov

Advisor to the Deputy Head of the IT Department of Moscow Government

The representative of IT Department of Moscow Government said that the capital is working on three conventional directions in the field of 5G. This is removing barriers for business, creating new growth points and conditions for optimizing business, as well as caring for citizens, beauty and aesthetics. Moscow is simultaneously implementing several projects to develop fifth-generation communications, including research work on the impact of 5G.

Experiments and research studies have shown that it is possible to safely raise the current level of maximum permissible radiation from 10 mW to 40 mW. This is not 100 mW, as in Europe, but it will make life much easier for telecom operators, while maintaining an acceptable level of electromagnetic radiation, so that residents can be sure that 5G communications will be safe.

Evgeny Novikov

Advisor to the Deputy Head of the IT Department of Moscow Government

Another project is focused on the telecom business: a project is currently being developed that will simplify and automate the process of obtaining permits from Rospotrebnadzor for the construction of base stations, which will greatly simplify the commissioning of 5G equipment before large-scale deployment of new generation commercial networks.

Ekaterina Brazhnikova, Deputy General Director of the Moscow Innovation Agency, in turn, spoke about projects using fifth generation communication technologies that will be tested in the 5G Demo Center, which opened in the Smart City pavilion at VDNH at the end of October. In April, for example, piloting of several projects will begin. These projects include AR and MR platforms, which will allow working with BIM projects at the construction site; face recognition systems with built-in temperature modules; aviation monitoring systems and wireless laser communication devices.

The value of the innovative solutions pilot testing program based on the 5G Demo Center for the technology business consists in dialogue with a potential customer, assistance in promoting the product on the market, confirming the effectiveness and competitiveness of the solution or finalizing the product on request and testing solutions in real urban conditions. And for our partners in the 5G Demo Center, this is an opportunity to get quick access to a large pool of solutions in different industries, as well as to communicate with other organizations that have already tested these solutions on their own.

Ekaterina Brazhnikova

Deputy General Director of the Moscow Innovation Agency

Original (in Russian)

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