2/2017

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Nokia and Oulu are at the spearhead of 5G development

5G is around the corner, and everyone’s getting a little anxious to see how it will change the way we perceive connectivity and how we use it. With higher network capacities and speeds, 5G will enhance mobile broadband experience 10x compared to the existing LTE networks. In addition to conventional mobile broadband, 5G provides capability to support many use cases including massive machine communication and critical communication. Perhaps the biggest difference compared to the existing LTE networks is in 5G’s low latency. “We will see a huge disruption there. Low latency enables critical machine communication like connected cars and remote real-time use cases such as remote surgery”, says Rauno Jokelainen, who heads Smart Radio Development Unit in Nokia’s Mobile Networks business group.

Earlier this year, 5G commercial deployments were still estimated to take place only in 2020. Now, according to Jokelainen, we can expect the first phase of standardization of 5G technology to be completed by mid-2018. “Deployment of 5G technology will be accelerated so that the first commercial networks are expected to be launched already in 2019, ” he claims.

5G will open new business opportunities

The next generation wireless networks will need to support new demands from a wide variety of users, machines, industries, governments, and other organizations. The new networks will allow for totally new business possibilities and use cases, many of which are yet unknown.

For example, 5G networks will connect the factory of the future and help create a fully automated and flexible production systems. In the healthcare industry, hospitals will be able to arrange remote robotic surgeries as if the surgeon were physically present.

In Nokia Oulu we have opened a Garage lab which offers 5G connectivity platform for the industry engagement. The purpose of the lab is to offer a platform for developing new applications and services as well as to create a learning environment for the new technology. ”BusinessOulu has an important role in Oulu start-up activity boost and we would love to see more local start-ups exploring and creating new business opportunities with 5G together with Nokia.“ Jokelainen says.

The role of Oulu

Why a large part of 5G research and development comes from Oulu is no mystery to Jokelainen. “First, Oulu has  a decades-long history of developing radio technology, usually being the first in its field. This creates world-class experience, ” he says. Secondly, the Oulu University and technical schools in the city provide new talent to the pool. Jokelainen stresses the role of renewal: “This year, we’ve recruited more than 100 people for new positions in Nokia Oulu, and we’ve had 130 trainees. As the world and technology changes with an accelerated speed, it’s important to have young talent available to boost the renewal of the organization.”

“Oulu definitely is a spearhead in 5G radio development”, says Jokelainen. The innovation capability in Nokia’s Rusko campus is very high – the site applies for dozens of patents every year, and we have Bell Labs represented in our Oulu premises, enabling research for new technologies. “Every third of Nokia’s top 30 innovators comes from Oulu,” he states, smiling.