Monday, April 8, 2019

5G Pulling the Pack Ahead, Especially on the Edge

Final talk at #IEEETTM 2012 in Dresden;
photographer: Ralf Lippold
It was a bright sunny day in late spring of the year 2012. Several hundred tech experts, researchers and media folks began to flock the City of Dresden. One could immediately sense the international flair near the Hilton Hotel in downtown right in the middle of the Altstadt, yet the miracle was over soon enough. The city itself often is described as a "cultural pearl" with a historic legacy that can be still today be visited. That it could be a modern day technology hot spot probably is not that well-known (at least outside the tech community). The TU Dresden was just about to hand its application to Excellence Initiative which would make it later the one university in the Eastern part of Germany holding the title of an "Excellence University".

This was seven years ago. If you'd be interested in what it was like you can read my personal experiences from that event here. From here the story evolves in ways that might not be so obvious, even for the curious outside observer, even at a local basis.

With the right mindset, the right people, and the right amount of capital, anything is possible - so Peter H. Diamandis, founder of XPRIZE, Singularity University and co-founder of Planetary Resources

One thing that was mentioned by one of the co-organizers, Prof. Gerhard Fettweis, at his planetary talk was the "tactile internet", literally the real-time interaction via data communication. Back then and mostly still today is the latency time of signal travelling through fibre cables or via air. Listen to his visionary talk at the 2013 Johannesberg Summit. What was still missing was a technology that enables signals to move fast enough to almost create real-time situations (e.g. relevant for remote-control surgery or autonomous driving) even at short distances and not like space-related distances as SpaceX and PlanetaryResources had launched their operations earlier that year.

In 2014, just a year later, Dresden-based technology blogger Heiko Weckbrodt (aka Oiger) captured a live presentation on what was going to become the next generation in mobile communication. And roughly around the same at the Date 2014 the "Tactile Internet" found its way again into the conversation in Dresden, this time in connection with the cfaed (Center for Advanced Electronics Dresden - one of the funded excellence projects at the TU Dresden researching in the "electronics of tomorrow").

Two years later, the focus of the Hannover Messe 2016 was "Industrie 4.0" (a term coined in 2012 in order to establish a brand around the German efforts towards what is commonly known as "The 4th Industrial Revolutions". It was about to pull in local companies and research institutes in that area to the giant fairground (formerly base of the EXPO2000) in Hannover. Additionally, in early spring the  MP of the Free State of Saxony, Stanislaw Tillich, had initiated a local conference in Dresden on "Industry 4.0" (in German). Several hundred stakeholders flocked to the International Congress Center Dresden and a social media there can be still the spirit of that day be captured via the hashtag #SachsenIndustrie40. Industry 4.0 and real-time interaction with as little latency between connected machines certainly was in need for technology beyond cable or WiFi connectivity. Examples of the difference could be seen in Berlin during the 1st SUGermanySummit in May which was also attended by Saxons, namely the boundary spanning mind behind HTxA - HighTech x Agency. An overview of what happened during these two days in Berlin, seen from a Saxon perspective, has been captured here.

Even though the events over the years since 2012 look like single dots in history, a closer look certainly reveals an ongoing development and like patient upbringing of camellias (a flower originating in China and Japan which has a long, and lately rising, relevance in Saxony; famous examples are the "Pillnitzer Kamelie" at Pillnitz Castle or "Königsbrücker Kamelien" at Castle Königsbrück). Like a jigsaw puzzle, things only become visible only shortly before all the dots/pieces are connected and the "big picture" comes into view.

Press conference on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, #HM19;
photographer: Ralf Lippold
The latest highlight took place at the Hannover Messe 2019, just this week, where the City of Dresden held a press conference (live stream via Periscope from minute 59:00 onwards) together with several partners, e.g. Future Mobility Incubator of Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH (Transparent Factory), Airrays GmbH5G Lab Germany, Smart Systems Hub, T-Systems MMS GmbH, SQL Projekt AG led by Robert Weichert, WeichertMehner (furthest on the left)

More details on the press conference and adjacent activities around technology see the Dresden Convention website. The following conferences in Dresden touch on 5G-, telecommunication-technologies, as well as applications. Don't miss to take into account and in your travel plans.

  1. connect-ec: Germany's first telecommunications trade fair (German), May 2-5, 2019, connect-ec (open for the public), May 4-5, #connectec2019 (Twitter)
  2. IEEE 4th 5G Summit Dresden, October 1, 2019, @5g_lab
  3. IEEE 5G World Forum Dresden, September 30 - October 2, 2019 

.... as always, this could only be a small dip in the pool of amazing things ongoing in Dresden. Stay tuned for more, check on Twitter, and see recapture from personal experience and staying close to this years' Hannover Messe via our Twitter activities. 

Ralf Lippold 

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