The conference experience began with the Workshop on M2M Communications: Challenges, Solutions and Applications, which was driven by the EIT DIGITAL collaborative project EXAM: Energy-Efficient XHAUL and M2M. We delivered a dynamic afternoon together with partners from Nokia, Ericsson and Aalto University; presentations covered topics on M2M spanning from data aggregation, coverage analysis and cognitive M2M communications. Moreover, a second session was focused on LTE-based M2M Communications. It was interesting to see how the discussions around M2M communication are beginning to loose the sense of naivety, since every presentation was focused on specific solutions for specific scenarios and conditions; adding to the increased level of maturity in the area at the academic and commercial levels.
On the first conference day, the panel on “5G: Opportunities and Challenges in Air Interface, Media Access and Resource Allocation” opened with a loud and clear statement from the moderator: “have you tried voice over WIFI? it sucks! you actually get what you payed for.” Of course, such a statement prepared a comfortable arena for a cellular-inclined panel, remarking on the fact that in many cases WIFI is considered as provided by municipalities, since the technologies are not actually suitable for roaming agreements and subscriptions…
Moving on to the second conference day, during the opening keynote the presentation was about disruptive technologies. A descriptive talk highlighting the importance of IoT in 5G, the relevance of WIFI for indoor scenarios and the unsuitability of WSN compared to the emerging proprietary technologies like SigFox, Cycleo, On-Ramp, and Neul. Interestingly, the presentation included the need to match disruptive technologies with novel business thinking, where there might be an industry shift with vendors dealing directly with industrial customers and then procuring the best operator to provide the connectivity services. This would come hand in hand with a recent trend in the industry to engage with industrial customers, talking to stakeholders to figure out want they need for the next communication systems.
I would like to close with the final remark given at the panel on European Activities on 5G, Looking at Vertical Markets, when the moderator asked a very simple question: what will NOT be on 5G? Two clear answers were given by the panelists: 1) cognitive radio because it is too difficult to ensure QoS and 2) 1ms delay…. Considered to be way beyond 5G. I find it quite difficult to disagree with Prof. Hamid Aghvami on the latter.