The term network reality, which is introduced in this tech trends article, refers to a reality in which the boundary between the virtual and physical worlds has disappeared. While it may be difficult for many of us to imagine how this could be possible, experts predict that it will likely happen within the next decade. Networked reality will be built using a combination of advanced Extended Reality (XR) technologies and unlimited connectivity delivered through highly advanced and ultra-reliable wireless networks.
Rather than being something that we experience using only our eyes and ears through screens and headphones, cyberspace will become a global overlay on top of our physical reality that we can experience with all of our senses. In networked reality, we will be able to travel through space and time, seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling everything around us as if we were there physically. It will have a revolutionary effect on everything from travel and entertainment to education, employment and healthcare.
In the new vision we unveiled earlier this year, Ericsson envisions a world in which unlimited connectivity improves lives, redefines business and paves the way for a sustainable future. To make the vision more concrete, we have also developed and published a set of vision stories that highlight the profound impact that unlimited connectivity will have in four key areas: education, business, entertainment and l climate action.
A reliable, secure and high-quality mobile network infrastructure is essential to make each of these vision stories a reality. While the 5G platform is a vital part of the future digital society represented by our vision stories, the impressive capabilities of existing 5G networks are just the beginning. Mobile has become the world’s fastest growing technology, and innovation in 5G is continuous, with increments every six months or so, and brand new features and functions released every year. New and improved user equipment – phones, IoT devices, AR glasses, VR headsets, etc. – are also appearing on the market at an unprecedented rate.
Go from 5G to 6G using our technology pathways
At Ericsson Research, an essential part of our job is to forecast the needs of our customers and our customers’ customers at least 10 years into the future. When we strive to invent a new generation of mobile technology, we are doing so to meet new and emerging needs that current technology cannot meet. To do this, we must find the best technologies capable of fully covering the new requirements. We need to take into account the entire application and developer ecosystem and consider the maturity of everything from chipset development to investment cycles. That’s why it usually takes around 10 years to develop and release a whole new generation.
2030 is the time when we expect 6G to emerge as a smart grid platform designed to support networked reality. To guide our research agenda on the way forward, we’ve defined a set of eight technology pathways that summarize our vision for how technology will evolve through 2030.
Four of these journeys focus on future use cases, detailing the demanding requirements they will place on the network platform and offering new capabilities to meet them. The other four – unlimited connectivity, trustworthy systems, cognitive network, and network computational structure – focus on the evolution of the smart grid platform itself.
6G is fundamental for network reality
Ericsson’s primary role in creating networked reality is to build and orchestrate smart grids that can support the types of advanced XR technologies required by the Internet of Sense, smart connected machines, and others. digital solutions of the future. It will be a big part of 6G. Future networks must be able to connect multiple experiences across a wide range of devices and locations, where service assurance is guaranteed, no matter what is required to make the experience optimal.
Future networks will also need to be able to handle extreme performance demands – data rates, end-to-end latency, reliability and energy efficiency – as well as have the ability to transfer and understand vast ranges of data. They must always be open to ever smarter solutions, including flexible use of spectrum and multiple frequencies. Finally, the network itself must become smarter, able to act as a sensor and use AI-based decision making to adapt to its environment and ensure optimal performance.
Tech trends 2021 – the path to 6G
The five trends that Erik highlights in this year’s trending article – digital representation, adaptable unlimited connectivity, trustworthy system integrity, federated cognitive networks, and unified network computing fabric – are all critical to the development of 6G and the creation of networked reality. Technological advances in all these areas will be necessary for the future network to support the convergence of the physical and digital worlds.
Listen to the podcast
Hear Erik Ekudden, CTO of Ericsson, talk about the network trends shaping the future and heralding the start of the 6G era.
Looking at our first articles on tech trends, it’s gratifying to see how much of what we predicted 6-7 years ago has become a reality today with 5G. As the pace of technological change continues to accelerate, we believe that it is more important than ever for companies that wish to establish or maintain market leadership positions to stay at the forefront of emerging technologies that may have an impact. impact on their activities over the next decade. I believe our tech journeys, vision stories, and trend articles can help you do just that.
At Ericsson, we understand that the transition to network reality will be a long-term journey for everyone involved: consumers, businesses, app makers, governments, and more. This is why it is so important that we are all aware of what lies ahead, so that we can plan ahead, share our ideas and, ideally, even work together on joint research projects. To make the unimaginable possible and be truly ready to capitalize on the business realities of tomorrow, we need to dare to collaborate on all kinds of potential future use cases – perhaps especially ones that look fantastically futuristic today.
Read our 6G white paper.
Learn more about 6G and the trip there.
Welcome to a world of immersive experiences with XR.