World-first ideas unveiled at MWC 2023 by UK telecoms innovators

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Beams of light crossing the globe
  • The first wave of 5G saw a billion connections and world-changing innovation.
  • The telecoms industry is now setting its sights on the second wave.
  • At the upcoming Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, collaboration and convergence will be priorities.

In 2022 the first billionth 5G worldwide connection was made during the ‘first wave’ of 5G. According to the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA), organizer of the world’s most influential digital trade exhibition, Mobile World Congress Barcelona (MWC), the second wave of 5G rollout promises to “engage a diverse set of new audiences and markets” via world-changing, sustainable, and secure innovation.

The fact that the 2023 MWC, taking place in February, will be attended by more than 100 UK companies — the largest number to date — underpins the UK’s increasing commitment to advancing connectivity and telecoms innovation. It’s a long-term commitment characterized by diverse partners and growing investment. In 2022, the UK government announced a further £110 million boost to telecoms R&D.

“The UK has been at the forefront of digital innovation for decades,” said the professor Mike Short, who serves as chief scientific advisor at the UK’s Department for Business and Trade (DBT). “Think of the pioneering work in 2G or GSM Memorandum of Understanding we drafted in 1987; the UK was the first to launch SMS, GPRS, and the first mobile virtual network operator, as well as many other innovations through long standing competition. MWC is a ‘Digital World Congress’ that will see more worldwide digital innovation from the UK and across the world.”

This year’s MWC theme is “Velocity”, spanning 5G and 6G, AI, Open Networks, FinTech, and Industry 4.0. So what exactly will the UK showcase in 2023?

Convergence is key

Short predicts that convergent ideas will dominate: “It’s likely that we’ll see interesting forms of sector convergence – more Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), cloud-based services, and combined cellular mobile and satellite services to bridge coverage gaps,” he said. “These will support new services, more smart motorways, private networks, and driverless cars with more accurate navigation that will depend on satellite communications.”

HORIBA MIRA, a world leader in vehicle innovation, is supporting developers and supply chain providers through many challenges that center on the convergence of connectivity and automation. At MWC 2023 HORIBA MIRA will be showcasing its expertise in the testing and engineering of automotive vehicles, with a focus on the verification and validation of Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM) technologies to ensure they are safe, secure, and functionally robust.

UK-based Mpirical specializes in innovative learning solutions for telecoms professionals worldwide. Mpirical offers easy-to-access learning through its unique online platform, delivering a hybrid teaching environment spanning subjects from 5G to open architecture to the impact of 6G. “Cultural diversity is key to developing innovative products; it’s what sparks creativity and encourages new ways of thinking,” Morgan Oag, marketing manager at Mpirical, said. “Our team of innovators have backgrounds spanning the globe, including the USA, Indonesia, Greece, and the Middle East.”

Digital inclusion is driven by collaboration

Digitally inclusive ideas are also a theme of MWC 2023 and UK innovators are at the forefront of collaborations making a positive impact.

The Technology Partnership (TTP) is a UK-based company that collaborates with clients and partners across a wide range of sectors, including telecoms and space, delivering science and technology-driven innovation. A current focus for TTP is 5G Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTNs), improving connectivity by helping integrate satellite and terrestrial components, and extending the reach of service providers — for both IoT and broadband communications. Adrian Hiller, next-generation market lead at TTP, said the company “fundamentally believes in the power and importance of bringing together people with different mindsets and experiences to promote innovation … The fusion of differences in thinking and experience generates better ideas, and greater success.”

BlackDice, a UK innovator developing AI-led cybersecurity solutions, is founded on the principle of collaboration and diverse ideas. With big data predicted to be worth £412 billion by 2028, BlackDice COO Sarah Hague said the firm is committed to diversity that drives progress: “As a cyber start-up operating in the telecoms sector, our ambition is to build a diverse talent pipeline … Cyber threats are constantly evolving, and it is essential to have a diverse team with different perspectives and experiences.” BlackDice’s enterprise-grade cyber technology promises to make a significant impact at MWC 2023 by enabling all sizes of customers to access its innovation.

The combination of small and large-scale innovation is critical to a more digitally-inclusive world. Attocore, recently awarded a grant for accelerating Radio Access Network (RAN) intelligence, sits alongside mobile giants Ericsson and Samsung in advancing the security of UK mobile networks. In 2022, the UK Government announced a partnership with the Republic of Korea to increase R&D in Open RAN networks and diversify the UK’s telecoms R&D strategy. With 5G networks, an estimated £173 billion of incremental UK GDP will be added to the UK economy by 2030.

MWC and scaling UK technology

Mobile World Congress is also a great opportunity for big ideas to reach an even bigger audience. The UK Space Agency will be attending this year, following its announcement of £50 million in funding for satellite communications projects. The grant comes from the European Space Agency’s Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems program. “We are determined to invest in our world class satellite technology sector,” said UK Science Minister George Freeman when announcing the deal. The new funding, he said, would “drive both growth and wider UK economic resilience.” The satellite communications industry in the UK contributes £10.4 billion to the economy and the global market is expected to grow to $80.83 billion in 2026, according to the Satellite Communication Global Market Report 2022.

“DBT acts as the bridge between research and trade – we can help scale ideas internationally,” Short concluded. “Demonstrating your technology at MWC is a way to prove innovation, scale it up and ask: where else can we collaborate and share digital ideas?”

Find out more about what the UK has to offer and how the UK’s Department for Business and Trade can help your business.

This post was created by Insider Studios with DBT.

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