Beltway innovation for 2016

It’s not just the presidential election that is making 2016 a game-changer.  For those following the news coming out of technology-focused events like SXSW, Mobile World Congress, and CES, it’s clear that the Internet of Things (IoT) is here and the next generation of wireless networks will be a key enabler for IoT.  The world has changed, and the U.S. needs wireless networks that support these latest innovations – not only because they are critical for mobile phone use, but also for the success of IoT growth and integration.

Every decade, the U.S. deploys networks based on the next generation of mobile data standards.  If U.S. lawmakers and regulators support the new standards with corresponding regulatory decisions, we could efficiently bring the transformative potential of this technology into our daily lives.  More importantly, we could ensure America’s continued leadership in IoT. 

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As millions of Americans know, Samsung helped usher the ‘Fourth Generation’ (4G) environment into society at the beginning of this decade.  And for the past several years, we have been working to build the next generation wireless network also known as ‘Fifth Generation’ (5G). 

In the coming decade 5G will be of profound importance to Samsung’s millions of American customers and will help create new jobs in the IoT economy enabled by 5G performance.  This network will provide the necessary large-scale connectivity to catalyze the emerging ‘connected’ industries in transportation, healthcare, and energy, among others.  For example, 5G will allow patients to receive health care from home, as doctors confidently monitor heart rates and rhythms and provide care remotely in real time.  Additionally, rural and disenfranchised American populations will have the ability to connect to new technologies and opportunities at faster rates.  With so much on the line, we’ve been working hard to get it right.

Samsung has been leading the development of 5G technology because its advanced speed, bandwidth and resiliency are needed to support the next advances in mobile and IoT; however, we recognize that our efforts will need support of political leadership on and around Capitol Hill in order to truly empower the networks of tomorrow.

This month, Samsung was honored to participate in the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) Spectrum Frontiers Workshop.  During the day-long symposium, engineers from our global R&D HQ in Seoul and our Texas-based SRA (Samsung Research America) R&D facility had the opportunity to demonstrate Samsung technology to better inform the Commission’s proposed rulemaking for deployment of 5G networks in the millimeter wave bands.  

This workshop is an example of how the Commission has been a valuable partner to industry and its collective efforts to develop 5G.  Recently Chairman Wheeler explained the FCC’s position on the future of mobile networks in this way: “In recognizing the importance of 5G to every sector in our economy, we are in accord with the rest of the world.  In recognizing 5G as a national priority for the United States, we set our challenge: we must lead the world.”

Samsung agrees with the chairman and urges the Commission to continue this momentum towards a regulatory framework for the 28, 37, and 39 GHz bands.  Time is of the essence.  Exciting new advances in connected homes, wearable technology, ultra high definition video and virtual reality/telepresence, such as those innovated by Samsung engineers will require a stable ecosystem with ubiquitous availability of 5G to both delight consumers and benefit society.

New levels of connectivity mean new frontiers for IoT design and development.  5G infrastructure will be essential for America to continue leading globally in innovation, talent and products.  Other nations, from China to the Netherlands, are upgrading their telecommunications infrastructure in anticipation of this rapid growth and economic potential.  South Korea will launch a 5G trial network by 2017, in time for hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics.  And while we’ve been working to aggressively implement this technology within Korea, the opportunities and benefits for consumers and industry pale in comparison to those that we believe can be achieved for the U.S. 

As we know, Moore’s law and the accelerating pace of technology will present a unique challenge for Washington to take a nimble approach to the adaptation and development of a successful regulatory framework for new technologies.  5G is a prime example.  The benefits of early adoption of 5G to the U.S. economy and maintaining American leadership in global technological advances is clear and requires both industry and government to expedite this collaborative but focused process.  Together, those in and outside the Beltway need to take swift action to stay ahead. 

Kim is executive vice president of Samsung Electronics America. 

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