XLabs wireless, Huawei’s X-Factor
At XLabs Wireless, one gets a peek into the very near 5G-future that oozes of hopeful promises for the society-at-large, and next level of performance for industries.
Walking into Huawei’s 5G innovation and application incubation in Shanghai would give an exhilarating high to any technology geek, and the XLabs Wireless did just this for the participating media at the tour organized at the sides of the 2017 GSMA Mobile World Congress Shanghai.
Freshly set up just six months ago, the XLabs (in Shanghai) is part of Huawei’s ambitious global initiative to establish test beds to explore the working applications in various scenarios when 5G networks roll out in 2020.
“Riding on the mantra Building 5G Ecosystems, all four of Huawei’s XLabs (China, Europe, USA and Japan) will,” as Dr. Peter Zhou Yuefeng, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) for Huawei’s Wireless Solution says, “be an ..open platform to work with different partners to stimulate thinking and innovation about new user cases across all relevant industries”.
In the comfort of a large, air conditioned room within the Shanghai MBB Executive Briefing Center at Pudong Shangai, XLabs proudly showcases the actual workings of consumer device and robotic machinery, fitted up to both 4G and 5G networks.
Dashboard monitors hooked up to the prototypes clearly show the visitor the difference and great improvements from 5G speeds (of 10Gbps to 40Gbps), capacity (1 million connections/ km² and reduced latency (of as low as 1ms), and how this enables better performance in Smart Manufacturing Facilities, Robot-to-Robot collaboration, VR/ AR imagery (for home entertainment and drone vision) and much more.
XLabs also has working prototypes that showcase exactly how 5G networks enable the dream of autonomous driving with the same, or even better security and safety features, for the automobile industry.
For the visitor who’s maybe a user or planner from a telco carrier, there is a dedicated XLabs section that provides a holistic illustration of how the combination of Huawei’s flagship CloudRAN and CloudAir works to protect the legacy 3G and 4G investments while still allowing for upgrade to a full-fledged 5G carrier infrastructure.
XLabs Shanghai dedicates the most prominent portion of its show room at the very front, to its showcase of Connected Drones, which incorporate Artificial Intelligence, for better and comprehensive remote-control for industrial site inspections usage (stadium or powerline maintenance, building security, etc)
The 5G network promise and potential for the social aspect is illustrated via the XLabs working exhibition of how drones can now function to enable AR Holoportation (ie. hologram + teleportation) for job interviews and far-flung office discussions, or when connected to a sound-enabled bicycle-like helmet works as personal guide for the thousands of blind citizens in the place of guide dogs.
At the media conference, Zhou shared more details in the four areas of XLabs Shanghai’s focus:-
Connected Drones: Whereby R&D and user cases focus on infrastructure, media, inspections, safety and logistics in the usage of AI-incorporated drones. solutions. XLabs estimates that the addressable market of drone-powered solutions valued at USD127Billion in 2015, and focuses on developing 3D coverage imagery and 99.999% reliability in connection under 5G networks.
Wireless Robotics: This area of 5G development is targeted for use in building Smart factories, Smart Healthcare, Home Services whereby an elastic network is crucial, and depends heavily on 5Gs low latency.
Cloud VR/AR: XLabs innovation in this area is to cater to the anticipated huge demand from the entertainment market whereby users will experience richer user experience with the 9.4 Gbps rate (connection) speeds and 5ms latency availed by 5G.
Connected Vehicles: By 2022, the global connected cars market is valued at USD150B and facilitating this would be 5Gs network latency of <4ms.
Zhou says, “Currently Huawei’s XLabs Wireless has 186 industry partners and working on some 45 projects, while building relations world wide with educational organizations, private sector and global bodies including GSMA and China Mobiles 5G Innovation Center”.
Walking through Huawei’s XLabs gives one a huge feeling of hope that advancements in ICT can improve our world; and of great realization that we are all at a point in time when the world is just at all the brink of an revolutionary 5G network future.