March, 2017


The Director Speaks - " 5G Will Accelerate Real-Time Business Processes"

Jerry PowerIt is with much glee that we watch the accelerating pace of 5G activity announcements.  Verizon is expanding their trial footprint.  AT&T has demonstrated 5G support of DirecTV.  Samsung and Nokia have announced program expansions.  China Mobile is accelerating their efforts.  GE, Nokia, and Intel have announced private network system 5G trial for IOT.  These are not technology trials, these are customer facing trials which demonstrate the service is rapidly approaching commercialization.  While it is true that the full 5G standard has not yet been ratified, these efforts show that there are some 5G configurations and some applications that could become generally available well before the standard driven ratification process.  It would not be unreasonable to start seeing flavors of 5G in the open market as early as 2018 even though the formal standards processes may drag into the year 2020.  We see these advance versions of 5G as good news for business and consumers.  The research we did with Professor El Sawy shows that we live in an on-demand culture and that everyone accepts that time is our most precious resource.   The speed/quality of the 5G network will serve to improve the customer experience and that is the metric that should underlie all other measures of success. 

Upcoming Events
  • March 3, E2-Conference  The Business of Entertainment Association is holding its Evolution of Entertainment Conference on Friday, March 3 at Town-and-Gown on the USC campus.  Topics being discussed at this year’s conference include the Future of Film, the Future of TV, and the Digital Experience.  Check-in starts at 9 am with the initial opening remarks kicking off at 9:30.  There is room for walk-ins so if you are interested in gaining a perspective on how business forces will share the entertainment industry, please join is.  You can check out E2-Conference if you would like additional information.  
  • May 1-5, Advanced Management Program (AMP). We have opened the May 1-5 CTM's AMP to the general public.  This program looks at trends that affect customers, employees, and technology as dynamic factors that shape our business efforts.  Leaders in such a dynamic and the constantly changing world have to be flexible and look at the complex ecosystems that surround us as uncertainties that need to be anticipated and embraced.  Successful leaders look outside their functional responsibilities in an effort to spot influential variables before their impact can be felt within their team.  The ability to look ahead, communicate the consequences, and counsel actions to defend or take advantage of the situation will define the leader's successful companies need. This program was developed to enhance the skills these leaders need so that they can take their company to the next level.  CTM has now opened the May 1-5 AMP registration website for CTM and non-CTM members alike.  Guest lecturers for the May AMP class include Peter Cardon, a business communication professor who specializes in intercultural communication, will speak on  the use of enterprise networks to promote innovation and collaboration; and Omar El Sawy, a data-science/operations professor who specializes in digital business strategies, will speak on the importance of real-time execution in a world where customer expectations are on the rise. For those not familiar with the program, please click here for more details. 
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5G trials are continuing to accelerating in the US and beyond.  Ubiquitous wireless means that many applications and configurations need to be tested before a full 5G system can be certified as the multifunctional tool it was designed to be.  The expectation should be that some targeted 5G use cases will deploy early in order to meet needs of the more demanding customers.  Verizon is planning 5G tests in 11 cities this year

The IEEE work on the next generation WiFi standard called 802.11ax is not expected to be completed in 2019, however, Qualcomm has already announced its 802.11ax chipsets which target a 4x improvement in the performance setting up an interesting dynamic between 5G and WiFi. Qualcomm Announces First End-to-End 802.11ax Wi-Fi Portfolio

GE, Nokia, and Qualcomm have developed a private LTE-based IOT networking system that runs on an unlicensed spectrum.  The key point may be that while WiFi is adequate for houses, IOT devices roam much more afield.  Unlicensed LTE provides one means to reduce the cost in a contained environment but undoubtedly others exist as well.  GE, Nokia and Qualcomm Unveil First Private LTE-based Trial Network Customized for Industrial IoT.  At the same time, the FCC has approved the first LTE-U devices to use the 5Ghz WiFi spectrum under rules intended to prevent interference.  FCC Approves LTE-U Devices


Second life had a vision of a virtual world that could be explored from a PC screen, a screen that acted as a window into a virtual world.  High Fidelity is next generation virtual world that can be explored with VR headsets so instead of peering through a window, you can put yourself into the virtual world.  Add some haptics and maybe we dispense with the need for reality completely (LOL). Beyond Second Life: Philip Rosedale’s Gutsy Plan for a New Virtual-Reality Empire

The Smartbe stroller is interesting in that it blurs the line between robotics and IOT.  It’s a great concept; innovative tech applied to the changing needs of a very targeted demographic. Proper market segmentation which allows you to present and defend a unique value proposition is hard to beat. New Revolutionary Concept 

The Void is working with Sony to push past VR in order to make a complete virtual entertainment experience.  The Void stands out because they are not thinking about VR as a technology; they are thinking about the customer experience and VR is but one of the tools that allows them to achieve their goal.  What Is The Void?

Leap Motion and Qualcomm are making high-quality VR that includes hand-tracking for a higher level of VR immersion. Other have said that VR gloves are transformative to making VR feel natural.  Leap Motion is taking that idea to the next step to eliminate the need for gloves. The Future of VR is Here: Qualcomm and Leap Motion Work Together to Demonstrate Natural Interaction for Mobile VR

Business and Economics

A lot of attention is focused on increasing programmer efficiencies through better use of tools but perhaps it is even more interesting to think about tools that allow us to skip over the programming step and directly train robots in how to do manual chores. Rethink Robotics rethinks its software

Caterpillar has taken a very measured approach to IOT.  Initial goals are to identify the little things that are done a lot and then forecasting so these tasks can be scheduled and accomplished more efficiently.  With enough little things providing the ROI needed to justify the technology, the benefits from the larger programs can almost be had for free.  IoT And Big Data At Caterpillar: How Predictive Maintenance Saves Millions Of Dollars

The idea of bringing manufacturing jobs back to America was once an impossible dream but as robotics technology has matured it has become realizable.  We tend to forget the robot revolution originally started in 1961 and has slowly accelerated over the last 60 years.  However, the wrinkle to the story is that a robotic manufacturing job is not the same thing as a manual factory job and these workers have different training/education needs. Will Robotics Save the Manufacturing Industry?

Verizon announced Exponent, a broad-reaching carrier in a box solution; an example of a career helping other international carriers compete. Historically these kinds of services have not faired too well but Verizon does have their LTE in Rural America program which makes this interesting. Verizon launches Exponent, a new technology and business venture designed to accelerate growth for global carriers 

Smart Transportation

Qualcomm and LG are working to transform the connected car by increasing connectivity speed/responsiveness via 5G. This is noteworthy because the pace at which 5G is being placed on other platforms has advanced significantly when compared to LTE programs. Qualcomm and LG Bring 5G and Cellular-V2X Communications Into Vehicles

As cars become intelligent and eventually autonomous, they will be redefined from being transport system to being much more.  They will become entertainment/advertising platforms and sharing technology will redefine our understanding of the sharing economy, taxis, the family car, and neighborhood ride-sharing.   It will also drive a need to rebuild the infrastructure that allows cars to interact with their environment.  The future of mobility: What's next?   People want smart cars but generally expect these features to be built into the cars as a standard feature.  This will result in a situation where consumers are using the level of intelligence included in the car as a point of model differentiation.  It also implies the ability to upgrade software features of the cars will become a consideration.  The race to autonomous driving

Attention to autonomous transportation goes beyond smart cars to include autonomous (robotic) container ships that are poised to redefine supply chain logistics increasing transport efficiency.  Imagine a world where automated ships, automated trucks and automate ports deliver merchandise where and when it is needed. Forget Autonomous Cars—Autonomous Ships Are Almost Here


Get a Research Idea?

CTM’s research programs continue to make progress and are on schedule to be complete in the June-July time frame. That may sound like a long way off but the reality is that it is coming up fast.  The CTM team is already starting to look forward and building a menu of possible research topics for potential inclusion under next year’s program.  If you have suggestions or idea you wish to put on the table, now it the time to speak up.  By all means, send any ideas to us at

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