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MWC 2024: The Rise of AI and the Future of Networks

Ian Fogg, Wei Yeang Toh

Mobile World Congress 2024 unveiled game-changing innovations that will redefine how we connect.  Think private mobile networks and AI that learns to optimize performance!

In this podcast, we unpack these exciting trends and explore the future of intelligent networks.  Join us to unlock the potential of tomorrow’s technology and embrace a world of possibilities.

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Our Guests: CCS Insight and Intel

Our guests this episode are Ian Fogg, Director of Networks at CCS Insight, and Wei Yeang Toh, General Manager of the Ecosystem Development Organization at Intel.

At CCS Insight, Ian focuses on network innovations, examining virtualization, Open RAN developments, and private mobile networks.

At Intel, Wei oversees ecosystem developments for 5G and edge computing, collaborating with the ecosystem to adopt new technologies and overcome challenges.

Podcast Topics

Ian and Wei answer our questions about:

  • 3:03 – Key network trends from Mobile World Congress
  • 8:25 – Advances and benefits AI brings to the network space
  • 15:06 – How these key trends and themes impact the industry
  • 21:23 – Importance of the hybrid model for intelligent networks
  • 24:14 – What’s on the horizon for 6G networks
  • 26:11 – Ecosystem partnerships for network modernization

Related Content

To learn more about key network trends, read MWC Insights Intelligent Network Trends and Innovations, Private Mobile Networks: Options for Scaling the Market, and MWC 2024: Private 5G Networks Take Center Stage. For the latest innovations from CCS Insight, follow them on X/Twitter at @ccsinsight and on LinkedIn. For the latest innovations from Intel, follow them on X/Twitter at @Intel and on LinkedIn.


Christina Cardoza: Hello, and welcome to the IoT Chat ,where we explore the latest technology trends and innovations. I’m your host, Christina Cardoza, Editorial Director of And today we’re going to be looking at the network landscape with Ian Fogg from CCS Insight and Wei Yeang Toh from Intel. But, as always, before we get started, let’s get to know our guests a bit more. Wei, I’ll start with you. What can you tell us about what you do at Intel?

Wei Yeang Toh: Hey, glad to be here. So, yeah, thanks for all the intros. Hey, my name is Wei Yeang. I run the ecosystem developments for 5G and edge computing for Intel. So, this function resides within the network and edge solution groups. The challenge is really working with the ecosystem, developing the market, making sure that the long tiers of the value chain will come together, working together to accomplish a common goal to address the challenges that the end user is looking for. And this cuts across a pretty broad market, right? So, we do need a broad set of ecosystem partnerships to cultivate these solutions driving towards a form of maturity and, at the end of the day, to solve our customer problem.

Christina Cardoza: Awesome. Looking forward to getting into that a little bit. At, the articles that we’re writing, there’s been this ongoing theme we’re seeing, “better together.” So, excited to get into that ecosystem a little bit more.

But before we get there, Ian, welcome back to the podcast. For anybody who hasn’t seen the recent episode that Ian did on predictions for the next year and beyond for the network landscape, which is—some of them we’ll get into probably today. But, Ian, what can you tell us about yourself?

Ian Fogg: So, I’m a Research Director at a company called CCS Insights. We are an advisory and research company. We track global trends in networks and a whole lot of other areas, including the circular economy on handsets—in terms of media, in terms of enterprise research. My coverage area is around what we call network innovation—that’s what the practice is that I lead.

So, a lot of focus at the moment around things like virtualization, the Open RAN developments, private mobile networks. There’s obviously still interest in things like non-terrestrial networks. And one of the big trends at the moment is around how AI is transforming different parts of the network and driving greater need to use cloud services within the telecom operator.

Christina Cardoza: Yeah. “AI everywhere” seems to be the big theme of 2024, especially in the network space. And since we’re talking about the network landscape and the different trends and predictions that we have, the Mobile World Congress event recently just ended, and there were a lot of themes going around private 5G—a lot of network things happening in that space.

So, Wei, I want to start the conversation there, since both you and Ian were at the event. What were you hearing on the show floor? What were the trends and the themes that you’ve observed? And how do you think those are going to push the industry or this space forward over the next couple of years?

Wei Yeang Toh: Yeah, certainly. I’m pleased to see how things evolve, in fact, every year. Having attended Mobile World Congress for close to about a decade by now, things have been progressing. And there are a few pretty clear, noticeable key themes from this year that we have to discuss.

Number one, of course, AI is everywhere, right? Not only on the show floor, but as well in any of the customer meetings. Towards the end there’s always a question from the customer, “Tell me more about your AI strategy.” It’s kind of funny, getting ready for that question: “Oh, you’re not going to ask for AI?” So, yeah, AI is everywhere, and we see this is the beginning, right? The ecosystem is exploring how to leverage AI for different types of usage in the telco domain—because we’re talking about Mobile World Congress over here, right? So we’re talking about things like leveraging AI in the areas like network optimization, predictive maintenance, customer service, right? And many others, the possible use cases. And, again, it is at the beginning of looking at the form of AI-adoption journey for the telco community.

But then there are a few more topics that with dimensions, that surface up during these shows. And, again, it’s a progressive update, and telco API is another key topic that surfaces up—quite, quite big highlights during the show as well, right? And this is all about—hey, we all, as telco communities here, managed to accomplish quite a lot in 5G deployment, and then what next? And it’s really about—hey, CapEx is already invested, how do we speed up authority and monetization through edge application? And therefore telco API brings a set of standardizations, if you will, right? And it’s helping the community to look at how to capitalize any form of the emerging opportunity across multiple industries.

We really talk about cross-vertical industry over here, and telco API will open up a new era of how connectivity, how edge computing come together and are able to create a form of revenue generation—not only for telco, but at the same time for the edge and vertical-ecosystem partners to come together to utilize the API for a better services creation, better customer experience, and so on.

And then the third thing I want to mention real quick is the entire software-defined network transition is carry on, right? And we see vRAN (virtual RAN), Open RAN as a continuous—as the next major milestone to go and accomplish. We have done network-function virtualization for call networks, for OSS/BSS, and so on—the journey continues. And vRAN continues to make progress, and we see how much that we manage to accomplish together, staying up to date right now with our partners and telco operators, and the commitments remain there to modernize the infrastructure, to software-define the network infra. And through that we’re able to unlock the infrastructure constraint and get into truly cloud-native in the future. And AI will be there meeting at the junction to unlock the future’s capability.

And then lastly I’m excited about how the partners are talking more about collaboration. It’s all about synergizing the ecosystem as a catalyst to drive innovation and grow, right? And this is a very clear path always to accomplish success, because in this world right now—when we bring 5G, edge computing, AI—it is, like, across three domains, right? And we lived through the first—I shouldn’t say first—we lived through the past AI transformation for NFV, and that involved cloud layer, IT layer, and so on. And now we’re getting into more complex IT, CT, OT, AI—all the cross-domains. And this will require very strong ecosystem collaboration to get that.

So we are excited. We see the company reaching out. They would like to formulate a strategy collaboration towards a common goal. And it’s a very healthy sign, showing that the ecosystem partnership—how it should look like, towards a very clear, common goal.

Christina Cardoza: All exciting stuff. One thing that I love that you mentioned is this isn’t only happening in the telco space. This is impacting across the main, across vertical, across industry, and also bringing improvements to edge computing. I think that’s really important that a lot of these advancements, they’re not happening in silos. It’s really having a huge impact in all areas.

I want to go back to what you were talking about in the beginning of your response about AI. We opened up that AI is a theme going on everywhere. So I’m curious, how is AI coming to the networking space? We’ve written about on using AI in manufacturing for predictive maintenance, like you mentioned. But what are the advances that AI can bring to networking? And what did you see at the show within the Intel ecosystem? How were they showcasing some of their AI advancements?

Wei Yeang Toh: Yeah, yeah. The whole show is a big highlight, again, for sure about AI. And telco is at a different stage of the AI adoption journey. And what I mean is depending at which stage of this network modernization and monetization as well, the different telcos, they’re really at different stages right now. But regardless, what we are going to see across various of the objectives and intentions, it is still within the same objective of how do we harvest the best outcome of the AI, right?

And we are talking about whether it is to orchestrate the intelligent network, or do we look at gaining more insight about the network? Or creating a new business opportunity? So most of the conversations that we run into, I could structure it down to probably threefold, to make it slightly simple to follow. Telco, they’re planning the AI-adoption journey based on maturity, based on the KPI they intend to accomplish, because any form of investment, it costs CapEx; it costs an OpEx. And there isn’t a lot of extra, excess, CapEx to spend with a lot of CapEx already invested in 5G. So therefore every single step will have to be well planned with a KPI in mind and the maturity of the certain use cases to get into production. All those in mind, right?

So we see three major areas that telco is looking at. One: across the board we see a lot of the discussion and showcasing around inserting AI into the network layer, right? And we’re talking about use cases like vRAN with AI coming in to help things like power management, wind farming, antenna selections, channel estimation, and so on. There are tons of other opportunities you could look at, but it is about making vRAN, TCO, look better compared with traditional RAN, right?

And Intel itself, we do take this opportunity to introduce the vRAN toolkits, AI toolkits that we’ve been working on for really a while. It’s great timing that we release it, announce it. It is, again, all about helping partners who already have the strong Intel install base with Intel vRAN platform, and helping partners to unlock the AI capability within the same platforms that they’re already using. Again, it’s a journey, right? So adopting AI, it will be a journey, don’t rush it. Look at the KPI and adopt based on the maturity. So we are doing that. That’s one—inserting the AI into the network layer.

And then we see the second thing is GenAI. Because of ChatGPT and so on, GenAI has become a big topic. But for a player that’s working on AI for a long time, AI is not all about GenAI, right? GenAI is one form. Yes, it’s very much needed technology; it could do good. But GenAI, it’s not the only part about AI. GenAI will bring benefit for different parts of the telco network, and if there’s a set of KPIs defined, the implementation could be done in more a cost effective way by enabling the GenAI capability at the right location and in a more sustainable way, because it will require their power consumption as well, right?

So we have a lot of conversations with the customer around, “How are you going to activate GenAI?” Is it all about consolidating, concentrating the centralized computing for GenAI? Or taking advantage of what we have learned through OpenAI right now, and being able to select the right language models and fit that into the location to do the job that’s required for what you need, rather than get into a big centralized AI, and get to know what to get out of it. It’s going to cost investment. So GenAI, we have a lot of discussions—how to get there, don’t rush. How to get there—we’re here to help you to unlock GenAI by phases.

And then the third piece of it is something not too new but it gets blended into cross-domain discussion, which is this telco-edge use case that talks about API and so on early on, as the deployment of 5G will need each use case to come along, we see telco is embracing itself as a channel and as a platform, telco as a platform to deliver the services to the vertical customer, enterprise customer, and all forms of service will require AI capability as well, right? And, again, AI capability will involve things like computer vision. We’re talking about a lot of cameras, installation out there, and all the video feed coming back. It will require a form of computer vision to do video analytics and so on. And telco is, they’re the data-network pipe.

In fact, video is some of the biggest traffic occupying the pipe, so telco has the right infrastructure to go and not only help the deployment but be able to look at a way to monetize it through the data analytics and so on. And then, plus GenAI. All in all, it becomes a more complete edge solution that require it. So, yeah, all those are three big areas: AI, inserting the networks, introducing GenAI within the telco different locations—new use cases, with different forms of AI, computer vision, machine learning, data analytics.

Christina Cardoza: Yeah. One thing that I love that you said was AI is a journey and not to rush and that this is still an early adoption for the telco space. I feel like we’ve been talking about AI so much and the benefits it can bring in all of these different areas, but it’s still early on in some instances, and not to rush that application of it, to be really strategic about how we want to involve it.

Ian, last time we spoke we were talking about how AI is coming to the network space, maybe bringing some self-healing capabilities to the networks. And you had some predictions there. You mentioned in the beginning that AI was actually one of the big themes you were seeing too. So, since you were at the event—curious from a research perspective and from CCS Insight—what themes and trends did you see? Do you want to touch on anything that Wei mentioned or add anything to that?

Ian Fogg: So, yeah. I mean I think Open Gateway was clearly one of the massive initiatives of the show, as Wei mentioned, particularly driven by the operator side. I think there was vendor support too, but really the operators were really the main drivers of that side of things.

AI was everywhere at the show. What struck me about many of the AI demos and stands was that not everything was new. A lot of the stuff I’d seen last year when there were demos on the stand, but AI wasn’t such a big thing. They didn’t have massive AI labels on it. So, for example, I saw a demo of RAN optimization orchestrating cells together to reduce energy uses in the RAN but still maintaining a good enough level of performance, and that demo I saw last year. This year I think it was actually a launch, and it had AI plastered all over it in big letters, but it was there last year, too.

So one of the things about AI is although it’s really high profile at the show this year, it’s built on kind of a long runway of foundations. This hasn’t happened overnight, it’s just that this year—because of what’s happened with ChatGPT and Anthropic and Cohere and Gemini and all the rest of it—it’s a lot more high profile than it was a year ago or two years ago.

There was also AI in different parts of the network. We toured the RAN-optimization piece. You know, you talk with the BSS/OSS people, and there are people there using AI tools for revenue optimization and maximizing revenue generation. There’s stuff happening in the operations domain; there’s stuff on the security domain.

One of the things that was new this year was GenAI, as Wei mentioned. And what is Generative AI? Well, descriptive API categorizing information like categorizing photos has been around for years. Generative AI doing things like large language models, creating photos, creating videos, creating fluid text interactive interfaces—that is a much newer trend. But where I saw the GenAI models being used was often to democratize knowledge. So it wasn’t doing ChatGPT and training on the whole of the internet; it was vendors taking GenAI models, training them on very defined data sets about, say, vendor tools or regulatory requirements, or whatever, and basically democratizing the information and making it something more accessible to more people than an organization.

So that particularly, that was happening in the security space, but not just that. It was also happening in the operations domain. It was happening in a whole load of different areas. And I think that was one of the really interesting things, was seeing that use of GenAI tools to democratize information.

I chaired a panel at the SecCon event at MWC this year. So, SecCon is a security event filled with CISOs. And AI was the key theme of that event-within-an-event. So it’s an event within MWC, and all the sessions were AI focused, and what was becoming very apparent was, from a security point of view, GenAI increases the velocity, the sophistication, and the quality of those security threats. Why does that matter on what we’re seeing on private mobile networks and IoT? Well, if you think about what are the main benefits of private mobile networks, it is that security element around it: that if you have a dedicated network, you have total control over how that behaves. If you go to a hybrid model, where you’re using the macro network as well, and you are tying that back into the enterprise security, again, a lot of the advantages—it’s not just about the performance and the reliability and the predictability; it’s about a security element too.

And you can see with those AI-based threats, security is becoming higher profile in the market. It’s also one of the other things we’re seeing in the private mobile network space; it isn’t just the growth of the hybrid model. It’s also the increasing use of 5G over older technologies for private mobile networks. And that’s important, because 5G is a more modern standard and it has more robust security than legacy mobile technology. So there’s a benefit there too, I think.

The other benefit of 5G is you can tap into things like REDCap, so, reduced capacity, lower-cost 5G devices. They’re still able to tap into the benefits of that 5G core network and are still able to use 5G-specific spectrum that isn’t available for 4G or 3G, but they’re much cheaper devices. And that’s something we can see coming down the pipe based on those 5G standalone rollouts, which, again, was one of the other things we saw momentum around at MWC this year, was this shift to a second wave of 5G—5G advanced, which requires a standalone network, not a non-standalone network. So it’s purely 5G. It’s not using the old 4G core network, what you have in a non-standalone world. You’re moving onto real 5G, complete 5G.

And I think that was one of the other trends we’re seeing. And that enables things like REDCap. And that will give us a greater momentum in having 5G IoT devices. 5G devices suitable for private 5G networks in all kinds of areas. You know, different form factors, different cost elements, different performance profiles. And that will cause an acceleration, I think, in the private 5G space.

Christina Cardoza: Great. You know, I’m not surprised that you mentioned at the event AI was obviously very prominent all over the show floor, but a lot of things that you were seeing were demos that you saw last year, or weren’t necessarily new things. I think this industry—you guys probably both have experienced it throughout your years in technology—we love our buzzwords, and AI is one of the biggest buzzwords right now. But I think what makes it different from all the other buzzwords we may have seen is just all the benefits you were just mentioning. It’s real, it’s not going anywhere, it’s more than just a buzzword. So, excited to see how it continues to progress. Like you said, it’s not happening overnight, so we’re going to continue to see more of these advancements and changes.

But talking out a little bit outside of AI, you mentioned a second wave of 5G and other things. I’m curious, because I know at the event, CCS Insight was also talking about the private mobile networks report that you guys recently put out, which is available on I’ll make sure to provide a link for any of our listeners who want to dig deeper into that. But what were some of the findings that came out of that report, and were you seeing any of those on the show floor actually in real life, in real time?

Ian Fogg: Yeah, sure. So, we were seeing that momentum around the hybrid model. That was very, very noticeable, I think, at the show. I think one of the other things that was striking at the show in the private mobile network space was we’ve still got a very large number of vendors in the private mobile network space. But there’s still consolidation happening, there’s pressures happening, and I think there’s a kind of momentum around bigger players in the space. I think that’s one of the other dynamics we’re seeing.

I don’t think it’s necessarily flowing through yet into the numbers behind the report, but I think it’s something that was very apparent at the show. And what’s happened just after the show is this shift of consolidation, this shift to greater scale in some of the vendors coming through. This hybrid model is very important, too, because historically, private networks were just dedicated. You put in your core, you’d put in your equipment, you’d have some spectrum, you’d have your devices connecting to it, and that’s what it would be. And it would be in a factory, on a port, on a logistics facility.

The hybrid model—what that does is potentially extend a lot of the benefits to private network onto a macro network. Now that could be dedicated spectrum, say 450 megahertz or something. Or it could be a network slice on the macro 5G network. Now, what a network slice is, is a way for an existing mobile operator or mobile carrier to have an end-to-end quality of service managed experience that’s segregated from other traffic on the network. So it has a security segregation as well as different quality-performance metrics. That’s a characteristic that’s possible with 5G once you have this 5G standalone network.

And as we’re seeing operators finally deploying standalone networks, finally having 5G calls, we see increasing opportunity for this hybrid model. Now, where that’s useful is, say, take that logistics situation for a second. You have your logistic hubs, you have maybe lorry drivers or couriers or something going outside of that—maybe you want them to stay connected to your network with many of the security benefits of that, but you can’t have your private dedicated network everywhere around the country.

So what you can do is have your dedicated network in the logistics hub in that facility, but when those transportation workers leave that they could be on a network slice on the macro network, on the main mobile-operators network infrastructure. And that’s something that we’re seeing that momentum around standalone. We’re seeing that momentum in our data already around the hybrid model alongside the dedicated model. It’s one of the big growth areas at the moment. And we can see these 5G technologies enabling that opportunity. So that will open up some different dynamics in the private mobile network space.

Christina Cardoza: So still no 6G yet out there.

Ian Fogg: Plenty of things happening on 6G at the moment. It’s just, you know, these things all happen in parallel. The 6G work is all happening behind the scenes. We had the WRC last autumn talking about spectrum usage of 6G. The R & D guys are all working on it. I think one of the things that’s interesting about the 6G discussion—which is relevant back to this—is a lot of the efforts are to have a 6G standard that is simpler than 5G. Because one of the things that I think everyone’s noticed on the vendor community around 5G is that there has been this non-standalone-access rollout of 5G, which is sort of—it’s kind of hybrid 5G and 4G, but it’s being called 5G by all the operators. And a lot of complexity around that, and it’s slowed down the availability of real 5G features where you need that standalone experience.

So one of the things that that’s hitting around when you talk to people about 6G is a general consensus to keep 6G simple, and to only have a standalone version of 6G. Because I think everyone in the industry in the technology space has been frustrated by how long non-standalone access hung around on 5G, and probably the damage it’s done to people’s perceptions of what 5G technology can do. So the focus on 6G is we’re just going to do standalone.

Christina Cardoza: Great, yeah, I agree. I think with all these technologies and advancements coming out everybody sees how it can make their lives a little bit more simple. So that is going to be interesting how it goes and impacts some of the technologies and standards that are going to come out to make it more simple, to make it easier for people to adopt or to access.

I want to change the conversation a little bit. We’ve been talking about all the benefits that we can get from these core technologies and from the network going forward, but I think it’s interesting to talk about how we actually get to those benefits. We talked about the collaboration aspects, we’ve alluded a little bit to the Intel ecosystem. So, Wei, I am curious, how can companies partner together and partner with Intel to take advantage of some of these latest innovations and to really be able to get to network modernization, edge monetization, and these AI advancements we keep talking about?

Wei Yeang Toh: We believe it’s better together in the journey of creating the connected world—we need the different players across industries to come together. And this has been at the heart of our ecosystem program, like the network builders program that’s been running for close to a decade, as well as the newly introduced Intel solution builder just this week in software, doing embedded work. And the idea is really to bring the cross-domain ecosystem partners to come together, right? So, I think a couple examples.

For a network space, it’s a perfect opportunity for the cross-industry to look at a way to upscale themselves by working with their partners, and at the same time through the collaboration help to upscale their workforce to understand the cross-domain knowledge, right? Bring the technology in, adopt the technology, and be able to hire and retrain the workforce so that it will blend in the technology into the respective domains. And it will look and feel and emit the right KPI as well within their own domain. You cannot just look at the solutions, the cross-domain, try to take it and stab into it and make sure that it works. It might be the beginning, but across different phases you have to blend into your own needs.

So we see a couple things happening, and Intel’s been cultivating pushing this forward, supporting the ecosystem, making sure that it happens, right? I point back to what Ian said—earlier example for private 5G. This is how we see a pretty strong maturity of private 5G software. Our partners from US, from Europe, from India, from AsiaPac—they’re different pockets of partners, right? They come with a pretty wide selection. So this no longer is just big equipment vendors like classic Ericsson, Nokia, Juniper, and so on. The playing field, right? It is a market that, because the technologies of the entry barrier are lower, we see a lot of the innovators coming in, and over past few years we see this solution getting into a form of maturity.

So I’m amazed when I stopped by and with my partner we both looked at the out-of-the-box experience, the different capacity of the private 5G. It’s just getting better and better right now. You have this radio-distributed 5G call, network blending, right? And of course they were plus AI, as Ian mentioned. It looks the same as last year—now plus AI. But I was amazed by the maturity of a different set of solutions that will help the respective vertical market player to lower down their barriers to entry because it speaks the same language. Some of the players, they’re more tuned towards one vertical than the other, and it’s really to help to unlock the adoption rate of private mobility as a form of connectivity, just like Wi-Fi over the password into the system itself.

So we see that happen; it’s coming together, right? This year is way more mature than last, and every year we’re just getting better and better. So we see that happen, and we need this side of the ecosystem to continue to come up with a solution to help the industry move forward. One example: we see ecosystem partners stepping in as well, stepping up and stepping in as well to offer, like, telco API gateway. So we have a couple partners coming up from Europe, US, and India—particularly three pockets of the country. They’re offering an interesting solution, it’s a form of API gateway.

And from the edge perspective, we see interesting things happening as well. We see some of the edgeverticals, their ecosystem—they participate at MWC. They’re not classic telco, but they come here because we see the trend of the edge or IoT verticals. They are enterprise verticals, they are at the middle of digitizing their solution, right? Software-defined. And by de-coupling the different layers of the solution, it is the same journey that we are going through with telco as well—how to put it back together, right? And by putting that together—when you take it out and put it back together—there’s opportunity to insert the right solution they want into the software-defined.

So we’re talking about, again, connectivity, right? Private 5G now has an opportunity to insert into the software-defined environment. We see security, right? Cross-domain collaboration—they’re reaching out to Intel, asking about the software-defined security solution that can insert into the stack, right? And then the players figure out how to integrate that all together, and it’s a better solution. It’s an evolved solution from the previous one. And we see those trends happening in retail, manufacturing, healthcare, media, entertainment, and so on. It’s exciting, right?

So, working with the right leader in the industry is important because the leader will bring you the rest of the ecosystem, right? And Intel is one of the leaders here. Yeah, we’re proud about it. And I would love to share more when partners, say, are getting into these journeys. And we always welcome more partners. Come and knock on the door: “Hey, we need help.”

Christina Cardoza: Yeah, it’s always so powerful to see that ecosystem and see how partners can work together and can work with Intel. We’ve been talking about a lot of different advancements and solutions going on in this space. And I think it’s clear that no one partner organization can be the expert in all of these different in innovations. So it’s great to see them leverage on Intel and leverage other partners to really connect the dots and to bring a bigger solution together and to market and to help with some of these advancements that we see going.

I know we are running out of time, but before we go I just want to hear from each of you again if there’s any final thoughts or key takeaways you want to leave our attendees with, or where you guys anticipate the next significant focus of the network space or the next challenge to be over the next couple of years. So, Ian, I’ll start with you.

Ian Fogg: Sure. So I think there’s a whole lot of things here. I think many of these buzzwords that we hear, all these technologies, we’re still really at the start. So, Open RAN, virtualization RAN, is still really quite early. ATT made that massive announcement in December. Vodafone in Europe has got some Open RAN stuff. In Japan it’s called Open RAN, but really it’s really right at the early stages of that. There’s a lot of runway ahead of us, a lot of opportunity for growth in that. As you virtualize the RAN, you alter the hardware infrastructure, you order the software play. The vendors can change. Lots of things happening there. AI is still very early in the RAN and in the core and everywhere else as well.

I think the takeaway I’d have on AI is that AI has fundamental benefits, which is why it’s been worked on for so long before this hype kind of rose. And I think the key thing I’d say there is that if and when—probably more like when—there is this collapse in perception of AI, don’t stop working on AI. It is something that’s going to be important, it’s going to stay important, it’s going to be fundamental to many different areas for the future. And I think that’s one of the big takeaways from this.

And then how do you choose to use AI in your networks or in your solutions is also important. It’s not always clear where the best way and how to best to apply it is. So it’s going to be around long term, even if sentiment moves against it—you know, the bubble collapses.

Christina Cardoza: I’m excited to see that evolution and how we’ll get there. And then what will be the next big thing we’ll be talking about, or how AI will sort of go behind the scenes. Wei, is there anything else that you wanted to add or any final thoughts or key takeaways you have for us?

Wei Yeang Toh: I’ll probably just hit three tricky points. I say a lot just now, right? And to Ian’s point, vRAN is making progress. Continues to—it will continue to make progress. And it’s a part of the network modernization that will happen. But then execute in a more sustainable way as well, because of power consumption—the carbon footprint will be still top in mind, in everyone’s head that we have to collectively make it happen, right? So, vRAN continues to make progress, but executes the network modernization in a more sustainable way, right? And therefore, whenever every step, plan it ahead in terms of adoption rate.

Second. Starting to unlock the 5G business value. I have a couple conversations with the telcos that some of telcos, they’ve been telling me that, “Hey, if we can’t unlock the 5G, there will not be 6G. It’s going to run out of cash, right?” So it is in all the best interests among the telco community to unlock the business values for 5G faster. And telco API, It represents the opportunity to speed it up in terms of the path to monetization. So, start with that, right?

And then the third thing is the telco AI-adoption journey. The reason I use the words “telco AI-adoption journey” is because it is a journey, right? And it is a journey that is helping telco in becoming a techco, right? Telco has been talking about it for quite a while, becoming a techco by combining the network modernization, monetization, and AI—it will help the telcos that are transforming, becoming techco, and it’s going to be an adoption journey.

Christina Cardoza: Great. Well, I want to thank you both again for joining the conversation. I urge our listeners to get in contact with Intel. See how you can partner together. And also take a look at some of the reports out of CCS Insight, like I mentioned the recent private mobile networks report that just came out. Because we’ve talked a lot in this conversation, but I feel like we’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s going on and what’s still to come. So dive deeper into some of those reports to see what other innovations and trends are happening. And, again, thank you both for joining us. So, until next time, this has been the IoT Chat.

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This transcript was edited by Erin Noble, copy editor.

About the Host

Christina Cardoza is an Editorial Director for Previously, she was the News Editor of the software development magazine SD Times and IT operations online publication ITOps Times. She received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Stony Brook University, and has been writing about software development and technology throughout her entire career.

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