By Steve Costello

Intel talks up 5G strengths; hails it as media game changer

Intel used its 5G Summit on the eve of MWC Americas to outline its position in the 5G ecosystem, and showcase how the technology has the potential to transform the media industry.

Sandra Rivera, SVP and general manager of the networks platform group at Intel, proclaimed the company is “powering the first wave of 5G networks”, highlighting work with Ericsson and Nokia on trials and pilots.

“We’ve worked collaboratively with our customers to offer a broad portfolio of capabilities, from the client to the access, to the edge, to the core, and to the cloud,” she said.

Intel’s end-to-end technology proposition formed a core theme at the event. Rivera (pictured) said: “Starting with our 5G NR modems, we are building a portfolio of capabilities that builds on the foundations of the hundreds of millions of modem devices that we have shipped successfully to the network for 4G devices.”

Rivera noted Intel has a “broad portfolio” of silicon CPU products across the network and data centre which “address the broad scalability, power, footprint and performance requirements across the entire spectrum of the network.” She added: “This allows us to take advantage of server volume economics, and a broad toolchain we have made available to the biggest ecosystem in the industry.”

Media Transformation

Intel’s event featured participation from a number of media companies, who shared their visions of how technology will impact their industries.

Vicky Colf, CTO at Warner Bros., said: “We’re engaging with 5G because we recognise 5G is clearly going to impact how our fans and consumers engage and interact with our content. But not just that: if you look at our production and distribution operation, it’s going to change fundamentally how those work as well – it’s going to improve how our creatives and employees function on a day-to-day basis.”

These two themes echoed comments from other industry executives, who focused on a trial of 5G technology at the US Open golf tournament, which saw Intel, Ericsson, AT&T and Fox Sports working together.

Mike Davis, SVP of technical and field operations at Fox Sports, described golf as “a tremendously inefficient sport to cover”, due to the need to deploy multiple cameras at each hole to capture the action. The high speed and low latency of the 5G network meant wireless cameras could operate alongside fixed, and “you really couldn’t tell from our normal 4K cameras and those on 5G”.

Robert Powers, executive director of global business and tech strategy at Fox Innovation Lab, said: “One of the things I am most interested in is the intelligence, the idea that eventually we will be able to sensor everything, so everything is taking in and giving out data.” This data could then be used to power personalised and immersive experiences, using technology such as AR.

Igal Elbaz, SVP of wireless network architecture and design at AT&T, said the key to making the promise of 5G a reality lies in “how we take trials and learnings and make them consumable products”.