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Powering connected devices in the 5G era
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Powering connected devices in the 5G era

An interview with Alex Katouzian

Alex Katouzian, SVP & GM MCI at Qualcomm Technologies

Just as the power of the PC fueled the early leaps of the tech revolution and the accessibility of the web built on that, the smartphone and 5G networking technology will reshape our world with blazingly fast connected devices. Leading that charge is 5G, the high-speed next generation of mobile wireless connectivity that will connect virtually everyone and everything, including machines, objects and devices.

We wanted to get a sense of how 5G will advance the mobile ecosystem, open the door to new industries and dramatically improve the user experience.

So we spoke with Alex Katouzian, senior vice president and general manager of the Mobile, Compute and Infrastructure business unit at Qualcomm Technologies, which is one of the leaders in 5G and produces the Snapdragon chips that are at the heart of so many mobile devices such as smartphones, laptops, VR headsets, AR glasses, smartwatches, cars and more that will enable the cloud-fueled digital future.

Why is 5G such a game-changer?

Think about the massive amounts of data going through all of our smart devices today. And not just between the devices but also up to the cloud and across the networks — all that bandwidth is increasingly brought to us through 5G. Now consider all of the functionality and opportunity that come with those smart devices, including quicker communication, better photos, better videos and speech-to-text, speech-to-speech translation. This powerful combination of new capability and speed leads to massive innovation. And much of that now begins with smartphones, which are increasingly connected by 5G. The phone will be the centerpiece but over time more and more smart devices will be connected and operate seamlessly with each other over 5G.

What does all this mean for consumers and businesses?

We're no longer simply talking about a smart device, but a smart platform that is part of a broader ecosystem. So you'll be automatically connected to essential services no matter where you are or what you're using. This will happen in a heterogeneous computing environment that shares visual and audio capabilities. Your phone will connect with your car, your TV, a Bluetooth-enabled watch that's connected to your headset, which in turn interface with screens in your home. The devices are contextually aware of each other. They'll interact. Think of all the intelligence that comes with this added functionality. Better photos and videos, a virtual personal assistant that helps with speech-to-text and speech-to-speech translation. It all adds up to a combination of innovations unlike anything we've seen. And it's coming in the next three to five years.

We're no longer simply talking about a smart device, but a smart platform that is part of a broader ecosystem. So you'll be automatically connected to essential services no matter where you are or what you're using.

AI capabilities are spread across many different devices to impact many facets of our life and how we interact with each other. The cloud, too, will be an essential part of this equation as the information gets transferred back and forth. So imagine you have all sorts of intelligence that is being applied across many kinds of devices to interact with the least amount of latency due to 5G. A great user experience is at the center of it all.

What about use cases? Where will we see this first?

We'll see a lot of early use on multiplayer gaming on smart devices. Those environments are graphics-heavy, with people communicating rapidly in an active social environment. Latency issues and bandwidth issues are so key to making it a real-time and fun experience. Another application will be social media involving real-time video recording and sharing between your friends and family. Recording, streaming and downloading all require this kind of functionality. These capabilities will touch many different aspects of our world. As autonomous driving starts to become more prevalent, you will have multiple networks that pass information to the cars so that they are safer and we have fewer accidents. On the factory floor, in an industrial environment working with 5G, every machine will now know exactly what to do with the right timing.

Your Snapdragon chips power a very large ecosystem of mobile devices. What's next?

Our Snapdragon platforms will continue to pack leading computing and connectivity technologies to deliver premium experiences across devices segments. We are investing more into the Snapdragon brand and recently created a new fan community called Snapdragon Insiders to bring the latest Snapdragon product news to tech enthusiasts globally. Tune in to our annual Snapdragon Tech Summit on Nov. 30 to hear the latest updates.