The mobile market is beginning to show signs of saturation with Samsung’s operating profit dropping 60% recently and Apple issuing warnings in Q4 2018. The mobile market contracted in 2017 to 1.462 billion units and in 2018 to 1.42 billion units, and is expected to return to minimal yet positive growth percentages at a CAGR of 2.5%. IDC estimated Apple will sell 242 million smartphones by 2022 up from 221 million in 2018. The most up to date number available from IDC is an anticipated decline of 0.8% in worldwide mobile sales in 2019, published on March 6th.
GSMA Discusses the Next Phase of the Mobile Market
In episode 5 of Tech Lightning Rounds,
you’ll hear how devices will evolve beyond the mobile devices we know today. We
interview Andrew Parker of the GSMA, an association of over 800 mobile
operators worldwide plus an additional 300 companies as members. The GSMA is in
the epicenter of global mobile trends, and Parker discusses how devices will go
beyond person-to-person communications and describes what we mean by IoT and
machine connections. Parker also discusses what we can expect on 5G and
5G Will Revive the Mobile Market – Qualcomm
Qualcomm was in the spotlight last month in
many regards. In our second lightning round, we had the opportunity to speak
with Ignacio Contreras, Director of 5G Marketing on this domain expertise.
Qualcomm helped commercialize the world’s first 5G mobile platform and in the
last few months, the 5G networks that were launched in the United States and
China were accessed with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 mobile platform and X50
modem. Contreras takes the opportunity to explain how 5G millimeter wave
technology will work in urban areas.
Graphene is a Newly Discovered Material for Mobile
We also interview Sian Fulton from the
Graphene Flagship, which is a research initiative for the material Graphene.
The properties of Graphene were discovered recently and can potentially replace
lithium batteries and even silicon. Graphene was isolated and stabilized by two
scientists who won the Nobel prize in 2010. Sian discusses why this material is
worthy of the Nobel including ground-breaking applications for this material.
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00:01 Speaker 1: This episode is brought to you by Intertrust Secure Systems.
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00:30 Beth Kindig: Welcome to Tech Lightning Rounds. I’m your host, Beth Kindig. This
podcast interviews key people with deep expertise on one topic for a 360-degree
view. One difference between this podcast and the other podcasts you listen to,
is that I hold short interviews called lightning rounds, with the goal of
getting you a lot of compelling information very quickly so you can get on with
00:57 BK: The mobile market has had an incredible run since the launch of the iPhone in 2007. Globally, however, we are starting to see signs of mobile saturation. In these lightning rounds, we go beyond the mobile market of today to look at the devices of the future. You’ll hear from the GSMA, which is an association of over 800 mobile operators worldwide on how to create a more efficient, smarter, mobile future.
01:23 Andrew Parker: By 2025 have about eight billion connections of people, but they’re
gonna be 25 billion connections of machines.
01:32 BK: We also speak of Qualcomm, who took the press by storm this month
and is a leader in future device hardware.
01:38 Ignacio Contreras: By 2035, over 12 trillion right of goods and services will be
somehow powered by 5G and enabled by 5G.
01:47 BK: Plus, you will hear from Graphene Flagship as we discuss the
material with high electronic mobility that is being scientifically developed
to some day replace lithium-ion batteries and Silicon.
01:58 Siân Fogden: Thinking about wearable devices. Graphene can be embedded into
fabrics so that you could change the way that you interact with your
surroundings, by having sensors actually either embedded in fabrics, or sensors
that you could actually place on your skin that could read your vital signs.
02:18 BK: In my first lightning round, I speak to Andrew Parker of the GSMA,
which is a trade body that counts over 800 mobile operators, plus an additional
300 companies as members. Due to this reach, the GSMA is at the epicenter of
global mobile trends. Andrew goes beyond person-to-person communications and
describes what we mean by IoT and machine connections.
02:42 BK: How will the word ‘mobile’ evolve into the future? As of now, it
primarily refers to smartphones. What will mobile, that word mean in 5-10 years
from now? What will it include?
02:52 AP: Mobile is broadening out. The platform is expanding and scaling up.
And as I said, the mobile platform was originally developed for people to talk
to each other and develop the telephone network. Now we’re looking at it as a
broadcast medium. We’re looking at it as a way of working, but way beyond that,
person-to-person communications are being eclipsed with what machines can do.
And we’re looking at creating a much efficient smarter future where the
machines communicate, and they’re gonna be the principal communicator on the
mobile network. So we’re looking at a future of by 2025 of about 8 billion
connections of people, but there’re gonna be 25 billion connections of
machines. So the machines will communicate and many more things. Everything
that will benefit from a connection will have a connection because 5G enables
connections on so may different levels and provides the right type of
communication for the right product.
04:01 BK: And give me a baseline. How many connections are there right now,
how many billions?
04:05 AP: There’s 5.1 billion connections at the moment of people, and about
a billion machines are connected. So, at the moment, machines are in the
minority. So it’s about 15%, but that’s changing all the time. In the US, last
year, they connected more cars than people, new cars. Because saturation point
has been reached in terms of people, but of course, there are many more
machines adding different types of value. A modern car will have at least three
04:38 BK: Is mobile hitting saturation, has mobile innovation hit a plateau?
We’ve seen Apple drastically reduce the forecast for iPhone sales. Samsung has
also been reporting softening mobile sales. So have we hit this plateau?
04:55 AP: I don’t think so, because it depends how you’re defining the market for mobile. So if you see the mobile market as the mobile phone market, making calls, connecting people, comms, yeah, you could argue it’s reached saturation point. The application for mobile in other fields is expanding hugely. We’re showing smart agriculture on the stand today in the Mobile World Congress. We’re showing, for example, a connected beehive. Now, we wouldn’t even have dreamed about that a couple of years ago. And to do a connected beehive, you need a connection which is very low-cost, very low power, and provides capacity.
05:40 AP: So the reason we’re connecting the beehive is about the health of
the bees. So the mobile module in the beehive measures temperature, humidity,
and location of the beehive, the health of the bees. And if we don’t look after
the bees, we’re in real trouble. And farmers want more bees to pollinate their
crops and grow more crops. So the farmer benefits, society benefits. But mobile
is playing a different role beyond comms.
06:05 BK: I asked Andrew two more questions on current trends, including 5G
and privacy, both of which require finding a balance as we build out future
06:15 BK: We’ve been hearing a lot about 5G for some time. And a lot of
people claim that 5G will be available in 2019, that that’s the year of 5G.
Some of the people I’ve interviewed in the past, they come from 5G products.
Considering that you’re unbiased, what is your opinion of 5G?
06:32 AP: Well, we’re seeing operators accelerating their launches. I believe
we’ll see a number of significant operators. So in 2019, you’ll see 10, 12
significant operators, particularly in the US, rolling out their 5G networks,
so they’re deploying faster than we imagined. And in 2020, it will become a
vast majority of all networks will use 5G. But I think that the big difference
here in 5G is the range of applications and the different types of uses for the
network from very high data to the connection of billions of devices, ’cause
you need a re-designed network to connect 25 billion devices, you can’t connect
25 billion devices on the existing networks. Capacity is key.
07:19 BK: As we move more into the era of intelligent machines, especially at
CES this year, there were a lot of AI-powered assistants, it was a really big
theme. Google and Amazon had their assistants Alexa and Google Assistant. With
AI’s learning speed, surpassing human capacity, how can we protect privacy when
the words we speak will be mined?
07:40 AP: I think this is entering an era where data is becoming so key, and
so therefore we need to have standards. And we need to have an understanding of
what’s happening with our data, and that’s something that the GSMA takes very
seriously. We have an authentication product called Mobile Connect, which
basically puts the person back in control of their own data, so when their
identity is used to purchase something to access it, your identity is looked
after, and operators will make sure that their privacy is taken care of.
08:20 BK: Qualcomm was in the spotlight this month on many regards, both with
the Apple settlement and with the launch of the first 5G networks in the United
States and China. I got to speak with Qualcomm’s Director of 5G marketing,
Ignacio Contreras, on his domain expertise, and he discusses what we can expect
between now and 2035.
08:40 BK: Qualcomm has recently said at the Snapdragon Tech Summit, that 5G
is one of the most significant transitions that we will have. Why is that?
08:48 IC: It’s very significant, because unlike any other transition that we
have had in terms of cellular technology, it’s designed from the ground up to
connect more than just phones. If you look at the transition from 2G to 3G,
that focus more on bringing data to phones, like sending pictures and multimedia
messages, to 4G, which brought mobile broadband to phones, so you can enjoy
high speeds and manage your apps and content on your phone, 5G has been
designed from the ground up, not just to make your phones faster and more
responsive, but to connect all kind of things. Going to your car, to your
laptop, to your gas meter, to the robot in the industrial factory. So the
interface and the whole network has been designed to be very flexible to be,
yes, it will be faster, it will bring multilevel speeds to phones and devices,
but also that the old two dimensions in terms of the technology has been
09:49 IC: Another one is to be able to support mission critical services,
things like vehicle to vehicle communication, or to reliability to manage indoor
processes, and again, robots and machinery in a manufacturing plant for
example, as well as support for massive number of things, the massive IoT. So
you can connect 1,000 times more devices versus what you can connect today with
10:15 BK: Let’s fast-forward three years or four years from now. What will I
be doing, not only on my mobile device, but what will be happening around me
that 5G will enable versus 4G today?
10:26 IC: Yes, excellent question. So we think that it will impact virtually
every industry, actually we commissioned some studies that found out that by
2035, over 12 trillion of goods and services will be somehow powered by 5G and
enabled by 5G. In the immediate term, some of the industry that you will see
compute, for example, we see the rise and more interest on always connected
PCs, and those are already seeing the benefits of 4G LTE connectivity. So that
clearly covers an area in which you see the benefits as well of bringing 5G
very quickly, again, estimation for mobile, but as for computer to be able to
access all these cloud services and not just rely on the computer and the power
that you have on your own device, but also access all this storage and
processing power you also have in the cloud.
11:21 BK: Qualcomm helped commercialize the world’s first 5G mobile platform,
and in the last few months, the 5G networks that were launched in the United
States and China, were accessed with Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 mobile platform,
and X50 modem. I take the opportunity to ask an expert how 5G Millimeter wave
technology will work in urban areas.
11:42 BK: What will 5G do to metro areas? What will it look like in 10 years
from now, because of 5G?
11:48 IC: It will look with much more faster speed, more capacity overall.
Again, particularly in this dense urban areas, which lead to high-level
capacity to be able to serve all the connectivity needs of people living there.
That’s why one of the key developments with 5G has been the ability to use
millimeter wave spectrum, which is very high frequencies on 28GHz or 39GHz,
that are very effective in creating more capacity for networks, but very hard
to manage in terms of technology because of the penetration characteristics of
those high frequencies. They don’t penetrate concrete very well, and they don’t
penetrate trees or any obstructions very well. So we have had to work on some
key breakthrough technologies to be able to solve those kind of challenges. One
of them is called beamforming, in which you are able to focus the energy of the
RF transmissions into one very specific direction. So you can point out to the
base station directly or point out to one particular reflection with a wall or
something that allows you to maintain the connectivity with the 5G base station
using millimeter wave.
13:02 BK: In the third lightning round I talk with Siân Fogden from the
Graphene Flagship, which is a research initiative for the material graphene.
This promising material was discovered fairly recently and can potentially
replace lithium batteries and even silicon.
13:16 BK: What will graphene replace, or how will it be used?
13:19 SF: So, there are many, many applications for graphene. You can think
about it in terms of, for instance, in terms of the phone of the future. You
could imagine how graphene could enable a fully flexible mobile phone by
enabling flexible batteries, flexible screens, and flexible circuits. Thinking
about wearable devices, graphene can be embedded into fabrics so that you could
change the way that you interact with your surroundings by having sensors
actually either embedded in fabrics, or sensors that you could actually place
on your skin that could read your vital signs, for instance.
14:03 SF: And something that I think is really important for the future of
graphene is the high-speed internet connectivity. So at the moment, our whole
society wants higher speeds, faster speeds, broader band speeds, if you will.
And what graphene can do is really enable that.
14:27 BK: Can you go over the qualities of graphene again and just what is it
improving as far as versus lithium or what is it improving versus other materials
on the market today?
14:38 SF: So do you want me to talk about batteries specifically or kind of
14:45 BK: Both.
14:45 SF: So the batteries specifically, if you look at lithium-ion
batteries, what you can do is by adding graphene to both the cathode and the
anode… Graphene is this layer of carbon atoms that has this amazingly high
surface area. By increasing the surface area you can increase the area of which
charge can actually be retained, therefore increasing the amount of charge you
can put in a battery. Because graphene is also flexible, you can also create
15:18 BK: Where do you mine graphene? Where’s graphene coming from?
15:23 SF: Okay, so graphene… That is a very good question, by the way.
There are different ways of making graphene. Graphene is a single layer of
graphite. So every time you write with a pencil, the reason a pencil writes on
a page is ’cause the layers of graphene slide over one another and you leave
some on the page as you write. What the scientists have done is isolated a
single layer of graphene. The scientists have isolated a single layer of
graphite, and that is graphene. So you can mine graphite and actually turn it
16:00 BK: Graphene was isolated and stabilized by two scientists who won the
Nobel Prize in 2010. Siân discusses why this material is worthy of the Nobel,
including ground-breaking applications for this material.
16:12 BK: A couple years ago, I think it was a decade ago, there was a Nobel
Prize given out in regards to graphene. Can you go over what that prize was and
why it was awarded to the scientists with graphene discovery?
16:25 SF: Yes. In fact, I think it was the 2010 Nobel Prize. I’m trying to
remember now. But the discovery actually happened in 2004. And it was just…
So graphene was first isolated by two scientists who work now for the Graphene
Flagship. And it was that first isolation of graphene that won them the Nobel
Prize, because before they showed that graphene could be isolated, graphene
being this single layer of graphite, people thought, scientists thought, it
would have exciting properties, but they weren’t sure that it would ever really
be stable. And what the two scientists who won the Nobel Prize showed, is that
you could isolate it and it could be stable. And they did the first ever
experiments on single-layer graphene, which is just one atom thick.
17:19 SF: I guess just really that graphene is going to be the future of our
material science. It can be used in so many different ways: Embedding it in
concrete, using it in concrete to replace steel, for instance. So it’s really
high-tech applications, things like deep brain implants or implants on the
surface of the brain. You could imagine graphene being able to give people back
speech for people who’ve lost speech, like the… I think the biomedical
applications of graphene are going to be really important.
18:00 BK: Thank you for listening to Tech Lightning Rounds. Please support
the production of this podcast by subscribing on iTunes and leaving a review.
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