Expert Speaks: Highlights from MWC 2019

  Mar 18, 2019 5:20:10 AM

This year, MWC saw more than 109,000 visitors from over 198 countries and territories. More than 2,400 companies showcased the latest technology, products and services at the spectacular Fira Gran Via in Barcelona. Foldable smartphones were the talk of the town! And 5G! But let’s talk about that later.

The Ooredoo self-flying aerial taxi and LIKU’s humanoid baby robot had a few people gasp in wonder. BMW revealed a new in-car dashboard system that maps the cockpit in 3D which can detect your exact hand and finger movements and where you are looking. You can use voice commands and point at the car’s music system, for example, to start/stop playing music or point at the window to lower/raise it. Microsoft’s HoloLens2, Nubia’s Nubia Alpha wearable device, Energizer’s Power Max 8100S foldable smartphone, and 1TB microSD cards by Micron and Western Digital also gathered a few appreciative nods.

Finally, 5G is here
The event, though, was clearly all about 5G. While 5G has been talked about at the previous editions of MWC, it seemed like it has finally arrived this year. Everyone was in 5G mode! From operators and device makers to network equipment manufacturers (NEMs) and Test & Measurement companies, all showcased their 5G capabilities. For example, SK Telecom has started to roll out radio access for 5G in multiple cell sites across South Korea in Sub-6 GHz spectrum with mmWave planned for later this year. NTT DoCoMo also plans to launch pre-commercial 5G services in September 2019 with commercial launch planned for next year to coincide with the Tokyo Olympics.

With its high bandwidth and low latency, this year we saw quite a few demonstrations on 5G use cases for the Automotive and Industrials spaces at MWC. For example, there was a demonstration of an industrial assembly line where a camera could detect defective parts, communicate with the cloud for inference, and instruct the robot arm to remove the defective piece – all within seconds. Several operators and NEMs all showcased open RAN architecture at the event.

At MWC this year, the visitors witnessed the world’s first 5G tele-monitored live surgery, in real-time. The project, titled Remote Surgeon, showed a 5G-enabled operating room where a specialist surgeon guides the operating surgeon without being physically present and in real-time. To me, this spoke volumes about the possibilities that 5G can help us achieve in the next few years.

Devices are changing, for good.
We cannot not talk about the devices at MWC 2019! I have listed down some of the best ones that caught my eye for either their 5G capability or an interesting feature:

  • Nokia 9 PureView – Five-lens camera setup that capture a photo at the same time but at different exposure levels and then stitch them together to produce one detailed picture
  • Huawei Mate X – A fold-in display that packs a blend of a smartphone and tablet
  • LG G8 – An interesting approach to multi-display with their gesture-driven interface where the phone’s front-facing 3D camera can detect hand motions to turn up/down the volume, take screenshots and skip tracks. LG also revealed the LG V50 ThinQ handset which is a clip on case that can also serve as an additional screen for the phone
  • Sony Xperia 1 – With a 21:9 aspect ratio, Sony’s latest aims to give viewers a proper movie watching experience
  • Samsung Galaxy Fold – While Samsung recently announced an array of smartphones, the Galaxy Fold’s fold-out display becomes one seamless screen upon opening while giving you another extra screen at the front upon closing
  • HTC 5G Hub – This is a 5G-enabled smart home hub that can connect all the home devices to 5G and perform functions like casting content, serving as a mobile hotspot, and monitoring data usage

Next-Gen Chipsets and Platforms
Riding on the 5G theme, Samsung, MediaTek, Qualcomm, and Huawei all displayed their 5G enabled chipsets at the event. Arm showcased the Cortex-A76AE, the world’s first autonomous-class processor with integrated safety and comes with Split-Lock capability which includes Dual Core Lock-Step (DCLS) – an advanced feature for increased fault tolerance designs.

Always Connected PCs and laptops are not far away. Qualcomm debuted Snapdragon 8cx 5G platform with artificial intelligence, high performance, long battery life and always-on connectivity.

Sasken at the helm of this evolution
With continuous investments in 5G, Blockchain, and IoT among other, Sasken is on the right roadmap focused on engineering, building, testing, and enhancing products that are compute and connectivity intense for customers in various verticals such as Semiconductor, Automotive, Industrials, Smart Devices, Satcom, and Transportation. In the last three decades of its existence, Sasken has built 200+ unique and world-class products for several marquee customers, many of whom are Fortune 500 companies.

Posted by:
Rahul Bagchi
Associate Vice President-Product Engineering Services, Sasken

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