Feb 9, 2021

5 nations: the race to build 6G

Paddy Smith
2 min
6G ‘arms race’
5G may be in its infancy, but five territories have already started researching 6G. Here’s a look at their progress...

5G is a remarkable technology, but there’s as much chance it will be remembered for firing the starting pistol into a global arms race to ‘own’ new technologies. Geopolitical rifts have seen some countries strip Chinese-made equipment from their 5G networks. And the next battle – to build 6G – has already begun. Here are the five nations and blocs leading the charge.

6G – China

China started research into 6G in 2018 and plans to launch it around 2029. In late 2020, it launched a satellite to test terahertz signal transmission. Huawei and ZTE are involved, the latter working with China Unicorn. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Chinese government has invited Australia to talks, insisting it will be the leader in 6G “like it or not”. That’s fighting talk.

6G – USA

Determined not to be caught on the back foot in this round, the US also started 6G research in 2018 with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opening up higher frequency spectrum for experimental use. A Next G Alliance was started in 2020, with companies on board including Apple, AT&T and Google.

6G – South Korea

Although South Korea started research later than China or the US, it is bullish about launch plans, citing 2026 as a ‘go’ date for 6G technology, three years before China. As with the US, Korea’s finest technologists have formed a development partnership. LG, Samsung and SK Telecom are all in the mix. The nation is investing $11.7 billion into developing a digital economy that includes 6G.

6G – Japan

Slightly later out of the blocks, Japan started researching 6G in 2020 but intends to launch the next-gen mobile data tech by 2030. As with South Korea, the government is putting in a $9.6 billion development pot (that covers other technologies including 6G). Sony, NTT and Intel are fighting in Japan’s corner.

6G – the EU

The EU’s 6G programme is less joined up that individual nation states, with Finland’s Nokia heading the official research into Hexa-X 6G in 2020. The University of Oulu, also in Finland, is devoting $300 million to the 6G programme. Meanwhile, in Germany a Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance launched a 6G research project in 2020. Government cash has also been promised. Outside the EU, but within Europe, the University of Surrey (UK) launched a 6G Innovation Centre in 2020 while Russia’s Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology has announced that it has created a device that could help develop 6G system components.

Source: Bloomberg

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Jun 16, 2021

SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data

British Army
SAS
3 min
Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM, explains the important role that SAS is playing in the British Army’s digital transformation

SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation. 

“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.

In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”

Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.

Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”

SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”

With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.

“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”

Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.

“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”

 

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