LIVE FROM TIP FYUZ23, MADRID: Nvidia executive Elad Blatt (pictured, far right) urged the telecoms industry to stop dallying over network evolution, explaining if they do not have skin in the game by 2025 they will be all-but shut out of the latest developments.

During a panel session on AI, Blatt noted ambitions to overhaul how networks are designed and operated are on the money, but argued the timelines offered by much of the industry are the stuff of beautiful dreams.

“The time for innovation is now”, Blatt said, noting simply talking about how networks evolve is no longer enough.

He said if operators “don’t take this opportunity and make it real now, in 2025 there will be other players making this reality”.

Blatt was responding to a vision of future networks offered by Meryem Simsek, head of network architecture research lab at Nokia Bell Labs (pictured, second from right).

Simsek detailed longer-term goals around how networks could evolve which involves them becoming so ubiquitous they effectively disappear.

This would be the next step in an evolution from hardware-focused 3G networks, some software-defined components with 4G and cloud-developments for 5G.

AI by design
Looking beyond the 2030 timeline many are targeting for commercial deployment of 6G, Simsek noted the dream network is one which provides seamless connectivity and compute in a set-up which “should be able to grasp and sense the need of individuals through data” provided by the environment people are in “and act upon the individual needs”.

It is a goal which “requires AI”, a pure, “innovative design, operation” and management of networks, Simsek said.

Victor Bahl, technical fellow and CTO of Azure for operators at Microsoft (pictured, second from left), offered insight from the perspective of a company which had made the change from selling software on discs to a cloud-based infrastructure.

He believes “dreaming is necessary for success”, as without a clear vision “of where you’re going”, a business can end up directionless.

But he acknowledged a change of approach is needed when designing networks, explaining that Microsoft was “dependent on network providers” to shift operations to the cloud, a move he said the company quickly came to realise was a massive undertaking.