Biggest Challenge of 5G will be the Transition
Voice and Data|November, 2019
Biggest Challenge of 5G will be the Transition
As the 5G fever picks up, we spoke to Donna Majcen, VP, Global Marketing, Keysight Technologies, on a range of issues. Her message was clear. 5G is a transformational technology, and if communications has to be the backbone for businesses, governments and consumers, 5G is the answer. Globally, organisations are gearing up to ride the 5G wave
Ibrahim Ahmad

What is your assessment about 5G? There are some countries and some operators who are saying that they will be having commercial launches, not very far away from now?

You know, 4G is still being put out, being developed and implemented, but people are already jumping to the next generation. As there is a financial impact, people have the right to say: I want to get my money’s worth, or, I want to get the best value out of the investments I’ve made in 4G, before I leap on to 5G. There’s an element of the market that’s saying that. But, the majority of the market is really starting to say, okay, how do we make this 5G leap? We know that the need for data is overwhelming the system.

How is the global picture looking like?

The data demand is just becoming a reality so much faster than we even anticipated. Globally, we see a lot of drive, in the USA, Korea, China, and in Tokyo, Japan, etc. We’re seeing major investments and lots of organizations saying their objective is to be there be in front and be first. People are putting these stakes in the ground, and say, I must be first. The Tokyo Olympics 2020, where we will have the first, real 5G network rolled out, is ready to go.

How is Keysight positioning itself for the 5G wave?

Keysight is one of the companies that is right at the beginning of the cycle. When investments were supposed to being made in 5G, we understood how important it is for the test aspects, and how would you test it? How are you going to validate? How are you going to make sure about the development work?

We need to partner very early in the alliances and the groups that are going to be working on the standards to really help make choices. Our goal is to say: how we can help any of them to get there? 5G is going to impact every aspect of the industry, whether the autonomous vehicles and the way cars are going to advance to the next stage, or, the medical industry, and where it’s going to be moving in the future, and the ability to have the access to material and the access to information.

All of these aspects are going to be impacted. It’s not just people saying I want to be first, but they’re actually seeing the reality of IoT, industrial IoT, medical, automotive, etc., that are playing together. That is kind of becoming the catalyst in many ways in the speed and the development of the next generation.

When we first started working with companies on 5G, it was more about: let’s make sure we’re working on it. Now, it’s just the speed has been so much quicker! Our introductions had a parallel R&D that we’ve had to do to say, okay, we can help you with the development stage. We can help you with the conformance testing, and we can help you with design validation.

We’ve had to really work quickly to develop the right solutions in parallel, in many cases, in our customers’ R&D labs. As they’re working on their 5G solutions, we’re working on creating the test platform that’s going to support their endeavor, and prove it. It’s been really a fun and challenging environment to work with our customers in this way.

How is Keysight organizing itself as the number of stakeholders you will have to work with goes up?

We really look at it as our goal is to support all the range of customers. When you think about it, you’ve got the chipset vendors. Do you have the right solutions to support them? Do you have the right solutions to support the device manufacturers, and the infrastructure?

We’re really working on making sure that as we’re developing our capabilities, we can support across those areas at the physical level, as well as moving up the stack and being able to do visibility testing, as well. We really want to look at the entire testing requirements around 5G, and not target on one particular area. That’s the important piece of really connecting all the dots across that platform base.

The other piece that we’ve done over the last couple of years is that, we have really changed a little bit of how we are as an organization or structure, and we’ve redesigned around industries. The reason we’ve done that is: how is 5G going to impact so many different industries? How is it implemented, and what are the needs that are going to change, as you think about each dynamic?

We’ve really built expertise around the automotive space, and talking to people there who ask what are the challenges and the benefits 5G will bring? How’s it going to change the automobile industry? How can we support capabilities in that case? We’ve looked at businesses within the IoT space, with very different power requirements, different feature capabilities, and levels of complexity.

Aerospace and defence are other big markets where we’ve got focused teams. We’ve really tried to tune our organization, to not just look at it across the entire communications business, but look across each one of the industries. How do you take all the solutions that we are developing, and really tune them to meet the requirements that are needed across each one of those areas.

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November, 2019