Foreword: Geoff Hollingworth, CMO, Rakuten Symphony
The past few months have seen some really exciting telecom news from India. India is leading the introduction of large-scale country digitalization with the ambition of equality and balance between society, business, and government, something not achieved in other countries. India is focusing on the importance of digital inclusion across all 1.6 billion citizens, urban and rural alike. It is an exciting time to be in India and be Indian. We had the recent chance to participate in IMC 2022 when the Honorable Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, launched nationwide 5G as part of the Digital Bharat initiative [ref].
In addition, Ankur Chauhan, Director of R&D, Rakuten Symphony participated in Global Talent Exchange’s Technology Game Changers Series. Please see below his learned words and shared experiences.
I had the chance to present during a virtual roundtable discussion as part of the Global Talent Exchange’s Technology Game Changers Series. During the panel “The 5G Roll-out: Expediting India’s Dream for Digital Transformation,” I had the chance to share my thoughts on the growing India ecosystem for 5G network. The session covered the aspects related to benefits to the industry and to the people at large, along with an important point of how the 5G R&D efforts in other countries can be used to benefit India.
India is among the fastest growing economies in the world. The country has witnessed exponential data traffic growth in the past few years and traffic demand is still strong and growing. 5G will be the key enabler for the digital transformation to modernize the industrial processes, education, digital payment systems, healthcare, agriculture and other sectors. 5G is set to enable large scale machine to machine communication, allowing for a reduction in human errors and increases in automated processes. 5G can truly connect currently unconnected sectors because it provides high throughput and low latency which delivers the required Quality of Services. As I mentioned during the session:
“5G technology can provide uniformity if that technology can be provided at a sustainable rate.”
India is a country of diversity, but even so, it will benefit from ubiquitous wireless connectivity provided by 5G. And the population at large in India will also benefit from the 5G driven investments and economic growth. Industry and services sectors are the major contributors to the GDP of modern India, and these would be the first ones to reap the benefits of 5G. On the other hand, the agriculture sector, where most Indians are employed, would seek India-specific adaptation of the agricultural services/use cases built around 5G to work best in small farms and hybrid mode of farming in India.
“I can see things are changing drastically within India in the two to three years. There are certain models which be replicated in urban areas quite fast.”
A very important aspect of 5G, in association with technologies like cloud and MEC, is to support low latency services that can be specifically leveraged for use cases like cloud gaming, XR, heath care, drone, V2X, etc. Rakuten Mobile has demonstrated the benefits of cloud and software-centric networks not only in providing a better user experience and lower latency to its customers, but also in the operational benefits, quicker deployment, automation and faster upgrades. In India, we can leverage these benefits by providing 5G to most of the population with a very quick deployment.
Open RAN hardware is another area in which we can benefit from the R&D efforts done in other countries. Innovative hardware products like Rakuten Symphony Symware™ enables MultiRAT support, cabinet free design with passive cooling, along with the integrated hardware acceleration support. Also, it runs on open-source Linux OS and provides support for open radio interfaces. Open hardware platforms are the foundation for innovation and cost reduction.
The start-up ecosystem and the emerging technologies like AI/ML, data analytics and robotics have seen exponential growth in recent years. 5G is going to further strengthen this ecosystem and create more job opportunities in these areas.
As a proud Indian, I am looking forward to faster and wide-spread 5G deployments in India to see the wonders this technology can bring to people’s lives.