6G Flagship research white paper pinpoints drivers and challenges

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The 6G Flagship research programme has published what it claims is the world’s first 6G white paper, saying this “opens the floor for defining the 2030 wireless era”.

The Key Drivers and Research Challenges for 6G Ubiquitous Wireless Intelligence paper is based on input from 70 experts who attended a workshop at the first 6G Wireless Summit in Finnish Lapland in March.

The publication focuses on the key drivers, research requirements, challenges and questions for  6G.

Professor Matti Latva-aho, director of 6G Flagship at the University of Oulu, who edited the whitepaper with colleague, professor Kari Leppänen, said, “As 5G research is maturing and continues to support global standardisation, we must already engage in mapping what 6G can become at its boldest.”

“The bottom line of 6G is data. The way in which data is collected, processed, transmitted and consumed within the wireless network should drive 6G development,” he added.

The publication envisions that 6G will enable “ubiquitous services” which follow users seamlessly everywhere and wireless connectivity which is part of critical infrastructure.

The paper notes, “Intelligence will create context-aware smart services and applications for human and non-human users alike.”

No more smartphones?

According to the 6G whitepaper, the societal and business drivers for 6G will include the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

It states, “The move towards a data-sharing /data market economy will raise issues with data ownership and contractual policies that require special attention.

“The transition to ever higher frequencies with smaller radio ranges and the increasing role of indoor networks will boost network sharing in cities and indoor spaces, and – especially – drive the ‘local operator’ paradigm.

“Stakeholder roles in 6G will change compared to the current mobile business ecosystem and new roles will emerge.”

Superseding smartphones

The paper also finds that smartphones are likely to be replaced by pervasive ‘XR’ experiences through lightweight glasses which deliver unprecedented resolution, frame rates, and dynamic range.

According to the experts’ vision for 2030, “Telepresence will be made possible by high-resolution imaging and sensing, wearable displays, mobile robots and drones, specialised processors, and next-generation wireless networks.

“Autonomous vehicles for ecologically sustainable transport and logistics are made possible by advances in wireless networks and in distributed artificial intelligence (AI) and sensing.”

Joint effort

Latva-aho says he wants to make sure that 6G is a joint effort between traditional and new stakeholders.

“Company representatives, researchers, decision-makers, and other builders and members of smart society are invited to join our effort.

“Together we can try to make our share so that 6G visions and research directions would respond to United Nation’s sustainable development goals and societal challenges while creating true productivity through radically new technological enablers,” he said 

The second 6G Wireless Summit will take place on 17-20 March 2020.