The Magical Land of 5G

I want to go, please. Any content wherever i am. Seamless connectivity without geeky configuration. An end to buffer face and “service not available” pop ups. The nirvana of mobile connectivity that we have been waiting for since, er, well, since 3G didn’t live up to the hype.
Recent 5G presentations at Mobile World Congress painted a picture of mobile connectivity in the 2020ies that not only capture the true aspirations of users, but also appear to have some, or indeed most, of the technical answers ready at least at demo level. The fundamental challenges that undermined 3G and left it falling short of the hype and still plague 4G appear to have been built into the plans for 5G.
The two underlying problems are Spectrum and the physical availability of the network.  Most estimates predict that we will need 10x the spectrum to meet the data demands put on the network, together with 10x improvement in the amount of data carried by the spectrum and 10x improvement through network management improvements. The 5G proposals address the utilisation of the spectrum and the network but depend on more spectrum availability. while this presents challenges, the discussions are running and policy (at least in the UK) reflects the sociatorial need to some extent. While more spectrum is fundamental to 5G and regulators and policy makers have been planning to make more spectrum available the other magic ingredient is the ability to roll out a network. i have heard it claimed that for every Billion spent on 4G spectrum, Network Operators need to spend 10 Billion on infrastructure to fully exploit the investment. With markets approaching saturation in Europe and declining average return per user (ARPU), where will the money come from? Add in resistance to European scale operators growing from market consolidation – the natural process in a true single market, the challenge seems to grow and grow.

eMerge Americas

At eMerge Americas in Miami. This is the second outing of eMerg and my first time. Its exciting to be at an event that is driven by a founder who is passionate about the location and believes that Miami has a tech future. 

Its competitive out there though. With Silicon Valley, MIT, New York, Austin and Denver all strong as tech towns. How will Miami position itself? Is it enough to be the stepping of point to Latin America? How will the port services be used and is an airport, freight and cruise platform the start for a tech community without a core technology education platform?

They do have one thing that puts them at the top table. Money. No doubt about it Miami has funds. The challenge is to harness the investment funds and set the community on its feet.

Will i wear a smart watch?

Another iOS update and what did I gets? An app to sync my new iWatch. Great, thanks for the advertising but I have a watch. I also have a very accurate clock on my phone, laptop, in my car, In fact there is a timepiece just about everywhere I look. So maybe this should be called “why do I still wear a watch?”  

It’s not such a daft question since it’s clearly not about time keeping. I can think of two reasons. It’s one of the only universally acceptable pieces of male jewellery and the wrist is a great place to keep something useful and valuable.

So, jewellery. Most watches keep adequate time, good enough to get to work on time or police the naughty step. But as time devices? Few have alarms and very few change time zones or make summer and winter shifts. A good watch can be had for the price of a family cinema ticket or the average house, depending on branding. Women’s watches are like shoes, everything from the functional to crazy things that look great but sacrifice nearly all utility to be fabulous. So no argument then, it’s jewellery, and that means it appeals to us in a completely different way. Jewellery touches our sense of identity and our place in the world. It’s gifts, treasure, memories and heritage all rolled into one. We subconsciously invest a lot of emotional capital into these bands on our wrist

The pull of a brand is a subtle and subjective business loaded with emotive judgements. Whether a smart watch suppliers can convince me to ditch my current personal statement of masculine identity and buy into a set of brand values that come from a very different sense of design and tradition probably won’t be driven by apps, features or utility. So for the first time it’s not Apple v Nokia or Samsung, the competition is TAG, Breitling and Rolex and that’s a very different set of aspirations.