• Dean Anthony Gratton

Sustainability Through a Better 5G

I have worked within the R&D wireless and telecommunications industry for almost 30 years and, in that time, I have experienced the good, bad and the ugly.

The future of work and engagement

I’ve witnessed the many empty promises made with paperware – a frustrating process of plotting the future with a furtive, “This is what we can do” and “This is what we might achieve”. For me, the value in any future proposition is something that is tangible – you know, real – something you can take in your hands, hold, feel and use.

We have seen the countless press releases and articles surrounding the future of 5G – the next generation in cellular technology, which is destined to change the future of work and engagement for both consumers and businesses across the world. Naturally, there are many telecommunications companies jostling and flexing their respective muscles to position themselves as the dominant leader.

A smoother network evolution

Ultimately, to lead in this challenging arena, there needs to be an element of confidence coupled with integrity and, of course, underlying technological superiority. There are many vying for the top spot and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with healthy competition, as it allows for talent to shine and true achievements to be amplified through the white noise of those whose static promises are no more than whitewashed hyperbole.

There are some truly great innovators who are making the 5G promise a reality. One company which currently stands out for me, is Ericsson, in their ability to provide the support needed by the industry and to provide assurance and guidance in what many consider to be a minefield of new ways of working and, similarly, new protocols.

Using artificial intelligence is key

The Ericsson 5G platform is a progressive shift from an existing 4G infrastructure to 5G, in turn, providing a smoother network evolution, which will improve performance, along with precision. Ericsson’s Radio Access Network (RAN) technology provides a comprehensive ‘toolbox’ offering service providers a healthy set of features that allows effortless network growth whilst boosting network efficiency ensuring a continued and seamless user experience.

What’s more, to achieve the improvement in network performance and user experience, Ericsson has devised numerous algorithms to overcome its challenges. In particular, Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms are used to analyse traffic data and network load in real-time. Ulf Rydin, Head of Product Area 4G RAN at Ericsson explains, “[We are] developing advanced AI capabilities so service providers can improve network performance continuously and deliver an optimal user experience. AI is key to increasing speed and predicting traffic, in real-time.”

Hitting the ground running

These efficiencies lead to decreased energy consumption – you see, many telecommunication suppliers talk about increased speed, faster throughput and so on, but what about sustainability?

In today’s world there’s a clear need for all sectors of industry to pay attention to their environmental impact and play a conscious part in keeping their energy consumption and carbon footprint at a minimum. This shift should be a guided one, using solutions that, as I’ve previously mentioned, don’t just talk the talk, but actually walk the walk and allow you to hit the ground running in minutes rather than months!

It’s all about connectivity

For example, Ericsson talks about ‘breaking the energy curve’ by providing products and solutions that simply use less energy and are the practical choice for companies striving to make a sustainable shift in their digital transformation journey. Swapping old radio equipment with 5G-ready Ericsson Radio System equipment nationwide enables service providers to serve 5G use cases with a single software upgrade and can also save them up to 30 percent on their energy consumption . For some operators these savings equate to paying back the investment made on modernization within just three years – who says sustainability does not go together with business goals?

Looking to the future of work and travel post-coronavirus, it’s clear that our global mindset has shifted and that we can’t just go back to the way things were before. It’s all about connectivity, especially during these challenging times where keeping in touch with loved ones, essential services and businesses is more important than ever[MPA1] . The next era will witness technology not only serving our needs to stay connected but also enabling a more inclusive and sustainable world.

The most challenging of times

With a focus on real-time data built upon a framework of sustainability, Ericsson have successfully architected a 5G-aware traffic management solution with AI embedded in its RAN Compute software. As such, Ericsson has a solution that’s extremely energy efficient, with predictive Machine Learning (ML) being able to instantly detect low antenna use, whereby it can disable that antenna until it is needed.

It’s been a difficult time for most, if not all of us, and the promise of 5G has been unintentionally confused. As such, it’s never been so important for us all to stay connected, whilst growing and nurturing a resource-efficient society

It's all about maximising efficiency with sustainability being at the centre of the digital transformation strategy. We need to find a partner who understands these factors and proves themselves through providing such services as predictive monitoring, which not only saves on physical site visits, but provides the all-important data needed to keep the ‘wheels of industry turning’ during the most challenging of times.

A time of darkness

As a former software engineer and solution architect, I’m not one for unfounded promises and hidden agendas. I like to see a clear message – one that delivers to the end customer and leaves them wanting more. With that in mind, I’m not easily impressed and am considered to be something of a glass-half empty cynic.

Recent times have made me re-evaluate many aspects of the way I live and work and, at times, my confinement has been nothing short of an emotional learning curve. I’ve discovered a new-found appreciation for those who shine a light in what has been considered by many businesses to be a time of darkness. Yes, it seems my glass is slowly filling once again with renewed optimism for the future.

Walking the walk

If you’re thinking of making the 5G promise a reality for you, my advice is to do your homework, don’t be distracted by unnecessary ramblings and stick to the facts. The rest will come, I promise you.

5G has much more power to change our lives compared to 4G which gives us power to stream Netflix anywhere, to connect to our loved ones and organize global meaningful activism. While many use technologies for their own good, go look for those who create technology for a greater and more sustainable world. For this reason, Ericsson is walking the walk.


Read more about, "How to break the energy curve."

This is a sponsored post for Ericsson, authored by an Ericsson Ambassador!

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a technology influencer, analyst & futurist 

I dispel the rumours, gossip and hype surrounding new technology

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