How Qualcomm Views Opportunity at the Edge

Leaders from across a diverse range of industries assembled in San Diego this week to attend Qualcomm’s 5G Summit and discuss the opportunities and challenges presented by 5G technology. Sessions on the first day covered a range of topics, including announcements from Qualcomm president and CEO Cristiano Amon regarding the company’s plans to power the intelligent connected edge, how 5G can enable new solutions and growth for retail businesses, enterprises and industries, the role of 5G in enabling the hybrid workforce of the future, and the role of 5G connectivity in the automotive space.

Amon delivered the opening keynote address, laying out his vision of the 5G landscape and Qualcomm’s role in it. In this vision, Qualcomm is perfectly positioned to bring its technology and solutions to a whole range of devices at the edge, expanding beyond the smartphone to everything from connected PCs for the hybrid workforce to utility sensors in smart cities to robots in connected factories to connected cars. In a world where everything can be connected using the massive capacity of 5G, Qualcomm will provide the technology to connect those devices and the computational power and intelligence to unlock new use cases and efficiencies.

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There were several major announcements made during the keynote that support this claim, including Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon X70 5G modem and its entry into the robotics market with the RB6 platform. Here are some of the key takeaways from the event:

Despite all the chatter surrounding Verizon and AT&T’s mid-band network buildouts in the US, Qualcomm still sees mmWave as the future of 5G

  • Qualcomm’s new X70 5G modem is the first of its kind to connect to standalone mmWave networks, enabling network flexibility for operators and download speeds of up to 8 Gbps for users.
  • MmWave deployment is more economical than other alternatives in most cities, especially in hotspots like stadiums, airports and campuses.
  • The capacity, low latency and bandwidth will be necessary to enable smart cities, smart factories, and more.
  • The X70 5G modem is expected to be launched in late 2022.

AI solutions are vital to improving 5G user experience and overcoming challenges posed by mmWave range

  • Qualcomm’s 5G AI Suite improved mmWave range by 20% with AI beam management, while Sub6 throughput improved by 73% at cell edge with AI-based channel state feedback and optimization.

Mobile edge compute is key to enabling real-time applications

  • Bringing computing closer to the end consumer reduces latency, which is key for real-time applications.
  • Strong mobile edge compute will be central to emerging use cases like AR, VR and the Metaverse, which require extremely low latency for the best user experience.

5G is a key last-mile broadband solution

  • There are some locations where fiber cannot be laid, either due to cost constraints or due to the terrain. 5G is a useful last-mile alternative that can bring gigabit speeds to homes fiber cannot reach.
  • FWA has taken off in the US with T-Mobile reaching over 1 million subscribers. Operators in other countries will watch closely as they plan their own FWA services.
  • The number of manufacturers of CPE devices is increasing fast as operators look for devices that help them deliver FWA services that are as flexible as today’s workforce.

Qualcomm announced its RB6 platform for robotics, a development kit that will help connect robots to networks in industries from manufacturing to logistics to healthcare

  • Qualcomm hopes to expand its partnerships with robotics companies as intelligent robots hold strong promise across the manufacturing, logistics, healthcare, agriculture and other industries.
  • The RB6 platform can support up to 7 concurrent cameras or 24 simultaneous video-streaming cameras using Qualcomm’s AI Engine and deliver 70-200 TOPS while still being low power.
  • Provides Sub6 and mmWave connectivity and supports 3GPP Release 15, 16, 17 and 18 features.
  • The platform, now available for pre-sale, is geared towards autonomous mobile robots, delivery robots, manufacturing robots and urban air mobility aircraft.

Snapdragon-powered connected PCs are key to the mobility needs of the hybrid workforce

  • Fast, secure and reliable connection for a more mobile workforce that works at the office, home, café and beyond.
  • As more employees work in a hybrid environment, the security of those connections is vital to protect the company’s data.

Amon’s keynote address had the themes that connected the entire summit. As 5G becomes available worldwide and continues to evolve with new releases, there are abundant opportunities for businesses and consumers to use its massive capacity, ultra-low latency and impressive bandwidth to connect nearly anything in real time. Qualcomm’s modems and RFFE solutions, as well as its compute power, are well-positioned in this changing environment to connect nearly anything to the network, and power new actionable insights that result in real efficiencies. Whether it is improving the production capacity of factories through connected sensors, the jump shots of NBA players using intelligent cameras, or the work performance of an employee’s laptop no matter where he/she chooses to work, Qualcomm has the acumen in connectivity and compute to power these developments.