Q&A - Marc Vancoppenolle
1.Nokia has recently combined with Alcatel Lucent. The press release suggested that the new company, working under the brand name of Nokia, would lay the foundation for 'the next wave of technological change'. What is Nokia's vision?
Nokia's vision is to expand the human possibilities of the connected world. This is a new world where everyone and everything becomes connected including through data from billions of sensors everywhere. This gives us the chance to make the world more productive, efficient, safe, healthy, smart, and sustainable. Going forward, new technologies like 5G, Cloud and the Internet of Things will have a huge impact on the competitiveness and innovation capacity of all economic actors. As Nokia, we have the ambition to execute on this and Bell Labs, our research and innovation team, is renowned for its profound influence on the evolution of telecommunications and information technologies.
2. Many commentators have talked of 5G but it is unclear to many what 5G actually is. What are for you the key features of 5G and their benefits for citizens and the industry?
In fact 5G defines a new era of broadband and is an opportunity for the entire telecom industry to revisit and rethink many aspects of telecommunications, such as usage and application trends as well as evolutions in technology and network architectures.
You could see 5G as ensuring 'unlimited' capacity and ultra-reliability in both connecting people and things. We are experiencing an ever increasing amount of mobile traffic, which necessitates more capacity and lower latency. 5G will offer an expected peak data rate higher than 10 Gbit/s compared to the 450 Mbit/s LTE can offer today, combined with virtually zero latency, meaning that the radio interface will not be the bottleneck Even for the most challenging use cases. But 5G also involves technology (r)evolutions deeper in the network from a hardware and software perspective.
All in all, the 5G network architecture is being designed to address a variety of use cases including human-to-machine and machine-to-machine communication ensuring service flexibility, optimized operational costs and optimized energy consumption. Energy efficiency is an integral part of the design paradigm of 5G, not an afterthought. 5G will also mean stepping away from best effort towards communication with highly increased reliability for mission-critical wireless control and automation tasks in the field of self- driving cars, industry automation and innovative health care services.
3. What are according to you some key policy challenges related to making the 'Internet of Things' happen ?
To make IoT happen a variety of policy and regulatory challenges need to be addressed. Next to connectivity and spectrum, standardization is crucial for ensuring interoperability between devices and applications across sectors. IoT devices & services should be able to connect seamlessly and on a plug-and-play basis anywhere, and scale up across borders. We also need balanced Net-Neutrality rules, e.g an open internet and allowing a 'quality of service' differentiation. Discrimination should not be allowed, but differentiation should to enable use- cases like connected driving or e-health. Regarding dataprotection, also here a delicate balance needs to be found to effectively protect consumers while promoting new digital services and business models. Not forgetting security which is getting increasingly challenged as IoT dramatically increases the number of connections and vendors entering the market.
4. 5G is looming and Europe (where you are based) is debating the Digital Single Market – why is the DSM critical for Europe and what are key DSM actions for you ?
There is no doubt that a flourishing European digital economy requires a most modern digital infrastructure combining ultrafast broadband access and agile IP based core networks. Huge investments in 4G and forthcoming 5G as well as in a dense fiber grid are therefore needed. However, the current level of investment is insufficient to keep Europe on track when it comes to the modernization of the digital infrastructures. Factors that contribute to the current problem of the telecom sector in Europe include the declining revenues of telecommunication companies, the fragmentation in national markets, and the lack of achieving economies of scale.
Europe needs a more investment friendly climate for telecoms, with less regulatory involvement, in order to trigger and reward risky investments needed for 5G and Ultra-Broadband deployments to achieve the Digital Agenda objectives and more.
Together with industry, we are deeply involved in the discussions with the European institutions to ensure a timely implementation of the Digital Single Market measures including the review of the telecom regulation. This is essential to establish the right environment for innovation, investment, fair competition and leveled playing field.
In addition to the DSM, fostering operator consolidation within the EU, in-market and beyond national boundaries, would power dynamic effects and generate efficiency dividends to step up the investment envelope for telecom operators.
5. You have been great supporters of the IIC over the years and will be working with us for the Conference to be held in Bangkok in October. What is the 'hot topic' you hope will be discussed and, in your view, how does the IIC approach these differently from other organisations?
We are at critical moment in our industry where all stakeholders are redefining their positions and future business models to help us all reap the benefits of the connected world. I am really pleased that the annual IIC conference is held in Asia this year as it is a region deeply involved in addressing the various challenges associated to this evolution.
At Nokia, we especially appreciate the format, bringing together the relevant stakeholders from all over the world, as well as the open and frank discussions. Nice thing is people usually come back, so we can progress on discussions and capitalize on the knowledge and conclusions from the previous editions.
- Wednesday, 22 June 2016