Saturday, 16 January 2021

Hexa-X: EU-funded research group to develop 6G roadmap

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Monday 07 December 20

The project features major players from throughout the telecoms industry, including Nokia, Ericsson, Orange, and Telefonica

5G may still be in its infancy, but you can never be too early when it comes to researching the next generation of technology. Today sees the announcement of the EU-funded wireless project, Hexa-X, a 6G-focussed research group aiming to develop an outline for exactly what this future-tech might look like.   The group features many of the industry&rsquo…

5G may still be in its infancy, but you can never be too early when it comes to researching the next generation of technology. Today sees the announcement of the EU-funded wireless project, Hexa-X, a 6G-focussed research group aiming to develop an outline for exactly what this future-tech might look like.
 
The group features many of the industry’s biggest names, including Ericsson, Orange, Telefonica, Intel and Siemans. Nokia will lead the group, which also includes many academic institutes including the University of Oulu and the University of Pisa.
 
If 5G is being touted as a transformative technology, 6G will take this transformation to the next level, expected to enable new technologies like real-time holographics as well as bridging the gap between man and machine – including with technology incorporated directly into the human body.
 
The new technology is not expected to be seen commercially until 2030, but some institutions have already begun their research in Europe as well as China.
 
But for now, the Hexa-X project will seek to bring the community together to create a more comprehensive path for research and development into this area.
 
“The main goal will be to develop the vision, the road map and the timeline,” said Devaki Chandramouli, one of Nokia’s engineers leading the Hexa-X group. “Then put together a timeline for the technology direction. And the third point is to facilitate the interaction with U.S. government agencies to fund the research and also provide the input for the technology development.”
 
The research will reportedly focus on six initial challenges: connected intelligence (focussing on AI and machine learning), network of networks (aggregating the digital ecosystem to create a single network), sustainability, global service coverage, extreme experience (enormous capacity, negligible latency), and trustworthiness.
 
It should be noted that for now at least, this working group contains no Chinese companies, a potentially concerning sign of industry divergence, considering one of this project’s main focusses is developing standards. 
 
The project is funded for 2.5 years, so we should begin to see the first major developments from the Hexa-X project some time in mid-2023.
 
 
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