Over the last thirty years, Qualcomm have driven advancements in mobile technology that changed everything about the phone. Using their innovative solutions, they have been at the forefront of 3G and 4G technologies which have ultimately enabled us all to be able to put a smartphone in our pockets. At CES 2017 in Las Vegas, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf delivered his keynote speech in which he outlined how the company was leading the world to 5G - a world described as a technological revolution that will have a dramatic impact on our lives. So, what exactly can we expect from 5G?
In a truly engaging, insightful and thought provoking keynote speech, Qualcomm's charismatic CEO had the audience captivated as he spoke about how not only did 5G represent the future, but how Qualcomm's technologies and solutions towards enabling that 5G future would completely transform the way we live, work and communicate with each other.
Mollenkopf addressed the packed audience which was made up of industry exhibitors, attendees and members of the media by discussing how Qualcomm's technologies and solutions would lead to a future unlike anything humankind has ever seen.
"It's an exhilarating moment, not just for the technology industry but for everyone. We're incredibly excited about what new technology can do for us. But this isn't about today, it's about the future - the 5G future and what it will mean to just about everything. 5G isn't just an incremental improvement to connectivity or even just a new generation of mobile - 5G will be a new kind of network supporting a vast diversity of devices with unprecedented scale, speed and complexity - and that new network will change the way we live, the way we work and even the way we relate to each other."
We've been hearing about 5G for quite some time, but nobody has really clearly outlined the social and economic benefit the impact of its implementation will have - as the world gets ready to be revolutionized by 5G - until now. Qualcomm CEO revealed that we are set to embark upon an era he and his team are calling the ‘invention revolution'.
"Today, billions of mobile devices with extraordinary power are uniting with advancements in robotics, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, NANO technology and so much more.
Together, they will create what we at Qualcomm call the ‘invention revolution'. In scope and scale, the invention revolution will be unlike anything humankind has ever seen, the world around us, our homes, cars, cities, manufacturing and healthcare will become more intelligent, automated and interconnected. Entire industries will change and emerge as data speeds go up and data costs go down. Changes won't just come with faster speed; 5G will be the tipping point that builds on an LTE foundation and truly enables the internet of things. Every part of our lives will benefit from the steady flow of critical information gathered by billions of intelligent connected sensors."
Mollenkopf waxed lyrically about the benefits 5G will have for businesses and consumers alike. According to the Qualcomm CEO, as devices get smarter we can let them act on our behalf. He further pointed out that this increased intelligence among devices would create new opportunities to do new things - or do old things in new, improved and better ways.
Qualcomm recognize the growth of the smartphone market has slowed down, but it hasn't stopped which is a misconception and belief held by some. Qualcomm will not take their focus of their core business, but is exploring other key verticals in areas such as autonomous driving and AR/VR augmented reality experiences.
However, one truly striking admission made by Mollenkopf during the key note was the disclosure that Qualcomm had conducted an independent research aptly named the '5G Economy Study'. He disclosed some remarkable results from the study that really highlighted the enormous transformation 5G will have on society as we know it. Mollenkopf compared the impact of 5G to that of the introduction of electricity or the automobile.
Mollenkopf continued: "I'm excited to share with you for the first time today some of the results of the 5G economy study. This is a landmark project that Qualcomm commissioned from independent researchers with the goal of understanding the global, economic and social impacts of 5G. The results of the study confirm what we long believed that 5G will make mobile even more essential than it already is today. 5G will have an impact similar to the introduction of electricity or the automobile affecting entire economies and benefitting entire societies."
In 2035, when 5G's full economic benefits should be realized across the globe - a broad range of industries, from retail to education, transportation to entertainment and everything in between could produce up to $12 trillion worth of goods and services enabled by 5G. To help put this in context it's nearly as much as all consumers in the US spent in 2016, and more than the combined consumer spending of China, Japan, France, Germany and the UK last year.
According to Mollenkopf, the 5G value chain alone could generate up to $3.5 trillion dollars in revenue in 2035 and support up to 22 million jobs. To give you a sense of how significant that is, that's more than the population of Beijing. Overtime the total contribution of 5G to the global GDP growth is expected to be the equivalent to a country of the size of India.
Qualcomm CEO continued: "5G will also make it possible to trust your mobile connection in all the moments when failure is not an option. Whether you're a doctor remotely monitoring a patient's status or a commuter relying on an autonomous vehicle, you'll need your connection to be secure, private and reliable. That's what you can expect from 5G. As our devices become more intelligent, the speed and responsiveness of 5G will create vast new opportunities for the consumers and companies ready to take advantage."
Snapdragon 835 Processor
One of Qualcomm's Technologies biggest and most exciting announcements at CES was the introduction of the company's newest premium-tier mobile platform, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor with X16 LTE. It's the first mobile platform to be commercially manufactured using the 10nm FinFET process node, according to Qualcomm, allowing for breakthrough performance and superior power efficiency.
Key components of the Snapdragon 835 processor include an integrated X16 LTE modem for Gigabit Class LTE connectivity, integrated 2x2 802.11ac Wave 2 WiFi and Bluetooth 5, and optional 802.11ad for Multi-gigabit connectivity, according to Qualcomm.
Improved processing power and performance is supported with the new Qualcomm Kryo 280 CPU and Qualcomm Hexagon 682 DSP, which includes support for TensorFlow for machine learning and Halide for image processing.
The Snapdragon 835 also includes substantial enhancements to the Qualcomm Adreno visual processing subsystem, including the new Adreno 540 GPU and Qualcomm Spectra 180 image sensor processor (ISP) for next generation camera capabilities. Also new in Snapdragon 835 is the Qualcomm Haven security platform with enhanced security for biometrics and device attestation.
"Our new flagship Snapdragon processor is designed to meet the demanding requirements of mobile virtual reality and ubiquitous connectivity while supporting a variety of thin and light mobile designs," said Cristiano Amon, executive vice president, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and president, QCT. "The Snapdragon 835 has an unprecedented level of technology integration that supports superior battery life, improved multimedia and exceptional photography with gigabit class speeds for fast, immersive experiences."
A recurring theme throughout Qualcomm's daily briefings and press conferences at CES was the company's view that mobile technology is not going into traditional desktop uses, but more into VR and AR. It's clear that all of the components in the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 are specifically designed around tasks associated with AR and VR such as surround sound, eye tracking, a better GPU, depth-perceiving cameras and high speed LTE streaming.
Keith Kressin, SVP and lead for Mobile Compute, said: "AR is in constant use. The vision is that AR devices would be on literally all day. So in that case I need better battery life, I need a superb display, I need higher frame-rates and I need better audio. All of these requirements are what's driving the next generation of mobile devices."
Qualcomm also unveiled a new variant of its connected car reference platform using the flagship Gigabit Class Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 LTE modem to help car manufacturers deliver high speed, high quality and reliable connectivity required for advanced connected vehicle services, supporting peak download speeds up to 1Gbps.
This latest development builds on the company's leadership supplying 3G/4G LTE modems for automobiles. The reference platform is designed to allow carmakers to quickly and easily integrate the broad range of additional wireless and networking technologies required in today's vehicles, including WiFi, Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy and Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) with optional support for DSRC and Cellular -V2X. The platform also includes a module reference design for the Snapdragon X16 LTE modem to help automotive suppliers accelerate development and improve time-to-commercialization.
Patrick Little, SVP and lead for Auto, said: "Connected cars are becoming intelligent sensors on the road not only using data for consumer use cases such as WiFi hotspots and video streaming, but also collecting and transmitting critical, rich real-time information about road conditions, map updates and driver status. As a leader in car connectivity, Qualcomm Technologies is well positioned to address the tremendous data demand, helping automakers integrate the broad set of technologies required by a new generation of connected vehicles."
The new connected car reference platform using a snapdragon X16 LTE modem, including its corresponding reference module, is expected to be available in the first half of 2017.
Qualcomm announced that they had partnered with Dutch technology company Philips (PHG) on connected medical devices that can track a patient's condition, measure certain vitals and transfer that data to a cloud-based data collection system.
The keynote speech featured a number of guest speakers, including CEO of NextVr, David Cole, who lavished Qualcomm with praise. He said: "Qualcomm Technologies is a leader in delivering technology to enable mobile devices to display virtual reality content. This new technology levels the playing field for mobile VR by putting flagship phones featuring the Snapdragon processor ahead of the best currently available mobile VR devices."
Another guest speaker was Volkswagen's executive director of electrics, Volkmar Tanneberger, who revealed that the German automotive giants are working with Qualcomm to develop connected car technology, integrating its modems into the German automaker's infotainment system. He said that the cars equipped with Qualcomm modems will be commercially available in 2019.
Mollenkopf closed out his CES keynote address by further expanding on the chipmaker's involvement in connected cars, declaring that connectivity technology has caused the auto industry to reach a ‘major inflection point'.
Mollenkopf concluded by saying: "Volkswagen is one of the leading automakers making connected future a reality. A future that will be built using Qualcomm Technology: to do this will require a ‘connect to everything' strategy. Just as we were in 3G and 4G, Qualcomm will be at the core of 5G. It's going to be an exciting few years; we've got a lot of work to do and so do you because we're going to need your help to build this future. Get dreaming, get working, get innovating, most of all get ready for what comes next, welcome to the inventive revolution."