CES 2019 -- the famed consumer electronics show -- took place earlier this month and brought techies from far and wide to Las Vegas to preview the newest gadgets. From cars to TVs to
smart toilets, we saw wonderful innovations (and some many would consider a bit strange) -- all designed to change how we live, work and play.
Among the useful, the questionable and the bizarre, I saw three major trends emerge -- connected devices for the home 5G or next-generation network apps and services and connected cars. And all of them depend on ubiquitous fiber to work well (and be profitable).
No. 1: Connected home devices
Unsurprisingly, much of CES focused on the Internet of Things (IoT) in our homes and the array of new connected devices that will change how we live. We saw several new 8K TVs promising next-level clarity; in fact, Samsung transformed its entire CES booth to show off its high-res displays. Electric Mirror's smart mirror, linked Nest, YouTube and other apps to your bathroom or hall mirror, while startup Miku introduced a smart baby monitor that measures a sleeping baby's breathing and vitals, and connects it to an app. And on the home-safety front, a smart lock -- Elecpro -- uses 3D facial recognition and an accompanying app for security monitoring. Increasingly, these at-home devices sync with Amazon's Alexa and Google Home, adding to a connected ecosystem of artificial intelligence. Our homes are about to get even smarter.
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall...
With Electric Mirror's smart mirror, consumers can use an array of integrated apps and tools to arrange their hair in the latest style, ensure their home-alarm system is secured and stay up-to-date with the news, for example.
No. 2: 5G
Beyond home electronics, CES also buzzed with conversations about 5G. Verizon's CEO called 5G a "quantum leap" and AT&T's CEO dubbed it a "game changer." Next-generation wireless, promising speeds up to 10 times faster than 4G networks, likely will roll out this year or next, but the industry wasted no time showcasing what is to come. Sprint made a successful 5G call and Verizon kicked off a "5G innovation challenge" to encourage 5G-app development.
On the hardware side, Samsung showed off a 5G phone prototype, and D-Link rolled out a 5G router for the home. Yes indeed, the tech world is ready and waiting for high-speed 5G wireless.
(From BBWN Editor Alison Diana: Visit Light Reading for all the latest 5G news.)
Beyond the quirky, CES demonstrated the deep synergy between 5G and future connected cars. Ford announced it will equip its 2022 models with cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) technology. This system, supported by wireless 5G networks, will enable cars to "talk" to each other about approaching hazards in the road, to "see" around corners, and to detect red lights or pedestrians. John Deere also introduced a self-driving tractor with autopilot capabilities and smart sensors that will benefit greatly from 5G.
No. 4: Fiber fuels all
While fiber was rarely mentioned at this year's CES, it will support nearly every innovation at the show. As we saw, the IoT is poised to grow in 2019 and beyond. In fact, Cisco predicts there will be more than 27 billion connected devices by 2022. Homes and businesses will require huge amounts of gigabits to support these connected systems -- and fiber broadband is best suited to supply this.
Fiber supports the highest quality wireless and broadband connections and is faster and more reliable than copper, cable, DSL or wireless. Likewise, the 5G networks showcased at CES will require fiber support. In fact, the architecture of 5G demands great amounts of fiber for both fronthaul (connecting cellular network architecture to remote standalone radio heads at cell sites) and backhaul of the networks. And autonomous vehicles running on 5G also will rely on fiber networks to operate.
The techies in Las Vegas showed us the next big gadgets, but they also confirmed we will need strong, fast, reliable fiber networks to support these innovations.
Businesses want to buy in to the increasingly popular and lucrative online world of e-sports, where people compete live from their homes in video games that demand ultra-fast, symmetrical access with low latency and high quality of service.
Fiber Broadband Association President Lisa Younger's new neighbor Amazon isn't the only one demanding high-speed fiber infrastructure as a prerequisite for anywhere it calls home (or HQ2), she writes in her newest blog. After all, the numbers don't add up any other way.
During the recent midterms, candidates from both side of the political aisle recognized the importance their constituents placed on broadband, writes Heather Gold, board member and former president of Fiber Broadband Association.
As Vice President of Global Healthcare at AT&T, Maria Lensing oversees the telecommunications operator's technology and professional services offerings across the spectrum of medical providers, from solo practitioners and walk-in clinics to giant hospital chains, medical-device vendors and consulting firms. Lensing also sees more interest from traditional service providers -- cable and telecom operators looking to expand or build relationships with their own medical communities, perhaps as an adjunct to smart-home successes or standalone.
Lensing, who took on this role almost a year ago in May 2018, oversees both the sales and technical teams responsible for developing growth initiatives for AT&T's Global Healthcare business -- including products, services and industry-specific solutions. She also very actively promotes business minority inclusion, education and female empowerment programs and has been recognized both within and outside AT&T. Some awards she's received include "Top 40 Under 40" and "Super Woman in Business" from the Memphis Business Journal.
Join Maria Lensing, VP of Global Healthcare at AT&T, on Tuesday, April 23 at 12:00 p.m. ET / 9:00 p.m. PT, when she's the guest on BBWN Radio, hosted by Broadband World News Editor Alison Diana. Register now!
So far, the agenda includes a discussion of technologies such as fiber and 5G; defining the needs and solutions for a widely diverse range of customers; partnering for success in a typically slow-moving, budget-constrained market; learning and dispersing best practices from other verticals and within other business groups; promoting diversity and female empowerment when so many say they're doing so but so little has changed; and what she hopes to accomplish in another year in this role.
Register and post your questions for Maria on BBWN Radio's easy-to-use chat board. We will get to as many questions as possible. Please post questions before and during the broadcast. Once you've registered, you will be led to the chat board page. Talk to you on April 23!
Tune in to Broadband World News Radio on February 14 at 11 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. PT / 4 p.m. UK when John Isch, Practice Director of the Network and Voice Center of Excellence at Orange Business Services, discusses use cases, ROI and misconceptions of software-defined wide-area networks, virtualization and cloud.
Just when you thought the answer to your next technology direction question was clear, the noise around multiple new technology options fills the Internet and airwaves. Multiple 5Gs are being deployed; there's CableLabs' 10G initiative; the ITU and IEEE are toiling around 50G PON – and we haven’t even talked about Wi-Fi6 yet! Is any of this real, do you have to pay attention or can you just let the dust settle and then decide?
Since waiting is often not the best option, let’s demystify technology options, their impact on your business, and how to prepare for whatever the future brings.
In this webinar, Service Providers will learn:
Current state of 5G and how it affects everyone, not only mobile network providers.
Latest technologies being developed and how they will benefit their networks and subscribers.
How to prepare their networks for the future – whatever it may hold.