MWC 2023 – The evolution of connectivity

MWC 2023 in Barcelona takes place once again from 27 February – 2 March and we are, as always, very much looking forward to attending. Having first visited the event as a company in 2013, we have seen some pretty dramatic advances in the industry over the years. This year’s event will spotlight five key themes: 5G Acceleration, Reality+, OpenNet, Digital Everything, and FinTech. These themes will provide attendees with a comprehensive look at the future of mobile technology and the ways in which it is transforming various sectors. A good example of this is the way in which 5G mmWave-based commercial private networks are transforming the high-speed transport sector.

5G is still a big focus at MWC

With mainstream attention on 5G having so far been focused predominantly on B2C in the 3GPP market (e.g. high end consumer mobile devices), we have still yet to see significant progress in the vertical markets. This is an area where companies that operate outside of 3GPP (like Blu Wireless) are making a major impact, particularly in the transportation sectors, where massive data upload (MDU) is revolutionising data collection and processing in sectors such as aviation and railways.

What about 6G?

6G will be the subject of a number of discussions due to be held at MWC 2023 and we have our own take on what this will mean for business. 6G for us is all about the rapid transfer of terabytes of data utilising the high frequency capability offered by mmWave technology. With 5G, data transfer speed is in single digit gigabits per second but with 6G these numbers are multiplied ten-fold. Using the transport sector example; in the case of aircraft systems monitoring and management, when an aircraft lands there is currently no way to access the huge amount of data captured by the sensors during the flight. A few hundred megabytes at best. But by using a commercial private 6G network running at speeds in 10s and 20s of gigabits, the entire dataset can be downloaded during the brief aircraft turnaround window, supplying engineers with the entire contents of the aircraft’s data storage.

It is very exciting news that this year the UK government is providing funding for 6G projects. Blu Wireless is looking to be involved and we will be attending the UK IET HQ seminar where we will learn a lot more about these opportunities.

Open RAN

Open Ran (O-RAN) was founded on the idea of making the components of a Radio Access Network (RAN) compatible and uniform, so that both hardware and software elements are not tied to a specific vendor. Reflecting the increasing implementation of O-RAN ecosystems, this year’s MWC will feature O-RAN briefings and debates as well as a large number of demonstrations of O-RAN technology and solutions. The trend is set to increase, largely driven by global macro-trends in geopolitics and a shift away from Chinese suppliers.

Beyond MWC 2023

While still on the subject of geopolitics, we certainly foresee an increased emphasis on the defence sector which is also influencing Blu Wireless’ product development activities. This is being driven by the re-emergence of electronic warfare as a military priority in the West and we are doing a great deal of work at the leading edge of tactical communications, driven by Macy Summers, President of Blu Wireless Inc., our US subsidiary.

Naturally, we will also continue to focus on a broad section of industries with the requirement for private networks that our mmWave technology enables.

We’re very much looking forward to engaging with peers, thought leaders, fellow industry experts and prospects at this year’s MWC. If you would like to meet in person, please drop us a line.