Interview: Scott Magee, RFI Technology Solutions
Which technologies or innovations do you think will be game changers or reach maturity in 2019?
The advent of 4.9G/5G mobile technology brings with it capabilities that we have never had before. Some great innovations now have their platform for delivery so we see real change coming. The other area in which are seeing huge transformation is the energy space. Advances in energy storage technology over the last five years, and what’s coming in the next five, will really shake things up. The power demands of modern networks are a huge challenge for operators and everyone wants more data and more coverage, which of course requires more power.
How are AI, IoT and cyber threats changing your industry sector, and what is your business doing to move with the changes?
For AI the bigger issues come with commonality of platforms, data security, privacy and the like. There are similar issues with IoT. We have witnessed this in our business with machine-to-machine communications applications that our customers have been working on for many years. The difference today is the advent of high-capacity and high-coverage mobile networks that deliver these solutions on a mass scale. Equally, new technologies such as LoRaWAN and Sigfox are exciting alternatives and ones we are watching with interest; and then again the carrier and NB-IoT developments look compelling too. On cyber threats, we are always keeping an eye on these within our own business, but now with mobile technology taking this to every device… well, the threat just became bigger.
Which ICT innovations or disruptions are your customers telling you they are most worried or enthusiastic about in the year ahead?
Across the wireless sector our customers are seeing IoT and LTE and 5G as being great disruptors. Equally, how government radio networks now become part of the overall ICT mix is an intriguing challenge. Emergency services need security but also access to the high-speed data that LTE and 5G can provide. That’s the future for mobile radio.
What will be the biggest growth opportunities for your company and your customers in 2019, and why?
Government radio networks across the globe have many challenges but there are some great technology opportunities. How they balance voice and data between narrowband and broadband wireless networks is what we are working on with government agencies. IoT is huge, too. Taking wireless signals above ground and extending them underground into stadiums, shopping centres, carparks and road tunnels is a growing need. People expect to be connected all the time wherever they are.
What’s on your tech wish list from industry, regulators and innovators in 2019?
Advice to regulators and industry: Be sensible, don’t dabble unnecessarily. Collaborate. We all hear about smart cities, and governments at federal, state and local levels are talking it up. But we need to be sensible; not going after the one great idea only to find it was time and money wasted. It’s a real balancing act right now given the number of technology options we have at our disposal. We can clearly see the need for an IoT governance framework around devices and data and how they are used and controlled. Does there need to be a certified or trusted operating system or platform? Who would or should regulate that? How do we handle the legal and ethical challenges of IoT data collection and usage? These are big questions to be answered.
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