Fourteen high-level industry executives met Sunday with senior ITU management for the eighth invitation-only CTO Meeting, which was held in Bangkok, Thailand on the eve of the annual ITU Telecom World event.
Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) and other top executives from companies such as Cisco Systems, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Huawei, Nokia, NEC, ZTE, KT, NTT, DoCoMo and NICT first heard an update from ITU management on the results of the recently concluded quadrennial World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-16) in Hammamet, Tunisia.
CTOs then delved into strategic issues surrounding the development and deployment of smart 5G systems. They discussed how best to include a wide and growing range of stakeholders in order to draft 5G standards that will balance various needs, including those of mobile broadband, critical machine communications and massive machine communications.
Convergence of industry verticals
The participants discussed the importance of integrating different industry verticals – such as automotive, healthcare and energy – in discussions surrounding 5G standards work.
Chaesub Lee, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB), mentioned Hyundai Motors’ new ITU membership as well as the keen interest of other automobile companies that are increasingly reliant on ICTs. One key area of action between ITU and automakers could be on over-the-top networks, it was suggested.
CTOs recognized that standards, harmonized at a global level, would facilitate collaboration between the ICT sector and other industry sectors, enabling the development and roll-out of end-to-end solutions for multiple industries on a common network platform.
New solutions for a new era
Several participants presented different ways to structure 5G systems, including reports on the progress of other standards development organizations (SDOs) working to develop 5G standards that satisfy emerging demands for “edge computing”, virtualization/softwarization, and fixed-mobile convergence.
Some participants recommended that ITU deepen research efforts on emerging edge computing solutions, such as ‘fog’ and ‘mobile edge’ computing. They said edge computing will be crucial to meeting the demands of IoT devices, Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR), and gaming. Edge computing, they said, will be important for providing the necessary flexibility and scalability, as well as helping to lower latency and save on operational and capital expenditures, which will be important as ICT products and services continue to be commoditized.
CTOs also highlighted that a consolidated end-to-end network management standard covering both wireless and wireline networks, and an integrated control, orchestration and management platform, would constitute stepping stones towards true fixed-mobile convergence, an important goal for future 5G systems.
“With 5G, there will not be any difference between wireless and wireline,” said Dong-myun Lee, CTO of KT.
Calls to collaborate on interoperability
Participants in the meeting also stressed the need for a review of user and device authentication mechanisms, including harmonized security-by-design frameworks, with a view to reducing fragmentation and discouraging unauthenticated access technologies.
CTOs were of the opinion that organizations working on 5G system architecture standards should strengthen collaboration to foster a coherent set of 5G-relevant standards, and encouraged ITU-T to ensure interoperability in a multi-vendor environment, e.g., by defining critical network interfaces. The meeting agreed that standards and open-source software make complementary contributions to the development of 5G systems, and that more effort should be made to facilitate the exchange of work between these communities.
“We have been very successful in our industry, because we’ve had standardization,” said Jan Färjh, VP and Head of Standardization and Industry for Ericsson. “That has meant that our business has grown very much.”
Yet, he cautioned: “We should not standardize more than necessary. We must have a flexible environment.”
The next CTO meeting was tentatively scheduled for 24 September 2017 in Busan, Republic of Korea, the venue of ITU Telecom World 2017.