Interview with Sunghyun Choi SVP and Head of Advanced Communications Reasearch
[What’s Next in Communications Technology?] ① Paving the Way for a New World of Experiences
Redefining Next-Generation Communication System as We Know It
Samsung Electronics was among the first to realise the commercialisation of 5G. Now, the company is set to accelerate research for 6G with the vision of bringing the next generation of hyper-connected experiences to every corner of our lives in the future.
Wireless communications technology has developed from the first-generation analog communication, in which only voice calls were supported, to the ultra-fast 5G of today, and the generation change of this technology is now progressing even more rapidly.
When asked to define communications technology, Choi summed it up as “technology that offers the infrastructure needed to enable people and things (i.e., devices, places, etc.) to connect and interact with one another across physical and virtual spaces.” As Choi explained, “It is the basis for the foundation of a smarter age in which AI and robots will become a common part of our lives.”
Today, communications technology connects not just people but also devices and other things all together, and it will keep evolving so as to allow the exchange of content and ideas in new and exciting ways. “Compared to the previous generations, current communication technology can process more data in shorter time,” Choi explained. “Network equipment is also undergoing evolutions to handle more demanding requirements of this technical trend.” Eventually, the industry is heading towards automation that can adapt to the complexity of advancing communication technologies and their operations to be able to raise the quality of service provided.
“Advances of communications technology have gone beyond simply facilitating the exchange of information,” Choi continued. “Now, it’s about advancing this technology in consideration of what types of businesses and services it can provide.”
A Commitment to Innovation
From a peak data rate of 20 Gbps (i.e., ultra-high-speed) to an air latency of 1 ms (i.e., ultra-low latency) and a reliability of 99.999 percent (i.e. ultra-reliability), it seems nearly everything is becoming “ultra” in the 5G era. Indeed, you could say that we’re no longer talking about the evolution of wireless communications technology, but rather the beginning of a whole new world of “ultra” experiences.
This shift in perspective has been made possible thanks in large part to collaboration amongindustries, academia, and research institutions. Through its commercialisation of 5G, and through collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU–R), Samsung has played a key role in developing the standards that define this new era of “ultra” experiences.
“Samsung Electronics has always innovated with an eye toward the future, continuously preparing for the next generation,” said Choi. “Now, we are witnessing the results of our long-term investment in the development of wireless communications technology. Not only do we lead the smartphone market, because we also possess a comprehensive portfolio of communication technologies, including smartphones, network equipment, and semiconductor chipsets, we’ve been able to see the market from various angles.”
The Advanced Communications Research Center at Samsung Research is working tirelessly to chart a bold new future for wireless communications technology. One way that the center is achieving this, Choi explained, is by expanding its global capabilities. “Research centers in various regions across the globe are drawing from their strength of expertise to develop and standardise major core technologies.”
In order for Samsung to maintain its leadership in the development of communications technologies, he added, “The company must continue to nurture talents and take a long-term approach to the development of the next-generation communications technology.”
Going beyond 5G
Today, 5G technology is being applied to the core infrastructure of a wide range of industries, and is utilised to support everything from high-quality communications services to smart factories, vehicle-to-vehicle communication, and a raft of other new services. Looking ahead, Choi described how taking this technology to the next level will require a great deal of research and development.
The path to overcoming some of the current technological challenges facing communications technologies, Choi explained, lies in enriching software’s capabilities and advancing AI. Networks of the future will demand capabilities that can process enormous amounts of information, which means that more powerful network equipment will be required, and the softwarisation, which can make equipment more flexible and less costly, will become increasingly important. Furthermore, developing core technologies for 6G with long-term vision and driving global standardisation are important.
More information on Samsung’s efforts to usher in a new era of wireless communications technology may be found in the company’s official 6G white paper, which is set for release today. The white paper covers various aspects related to 6G, including technical and societal megatrends, new services, requirements, candidate technologies, and an expected timeline of standardisation.
Making the Impossible Possible
The communications industry is evolving faster than any other, and there is fierce competition to define the future of this technology. As Choi pointed out, however, the focus for researchers in this field should not be the competition, but the long-term goal. “It’s important to conduct research with a long-term view,” Choi explained, noting that several communications technologies that have changed life as we know it ultimately took decades to commercialise.
“We are currently conducting research on technology that may seem difficult to realise now, but may have potential in the future,” added Choi. “In particular, by focusing on services that have not yet been explored and that Samsung is uniquely qualified to deliver, we’re constantly thinking about the types of services that users of the future will need. As a global leader in wireless communications technology, we will continue to design technology that can contribute to the advancement of mankind.”
Choi has worked in this field for over 30 years, and has spent the last 17 years advancing communications technology in academia. Today, Choi remains as fascinated by this technology as he’s ever been. He’s pleased to work with experts at Samsung Research who share his passion, and he’s committed to nurturing the talents of his world-class team, having vowed to “continue to support the growth of our team members, who already rank among the best engineers in the world.”
The next 10 years, Choi continued, will be particularly exciting, as we will witness the “beginning of a world in which the impossible becomes possible.”
“Going forward, the future of communications technology will be defined by its ability to bring the next hyper-connected experience for all,” said Choi. “As we aspire to become the best in the industry, our world-class engineers will continue to strive to realise a world, where the impossible becomes possible.”