Using 6G to Maximize IoT
6G could offer enhanced sensing capabilities — facilitating amplified situational awareness for augmented reality and virtual reality applications to provide potentially jaw-dropping user experiences.
For example, says Byrne, “At the airport right now, I could see someone on a screen telling me about the customs process. With 6G, it could be an actual hologram. For videoconferencing, we could have a simulated conference room where you’re looking at holograms of the people rather than a screen with their faces on it."
By applying data analytics and artificial intelligence, 6G could make networks smarter and more automated, he says.
“If you take an environment in which you’ve got hundreds of thousands of 6G sensors and you apply data analytics and you have a data pool of all that’s out there, you start talking about some transformative use cases,” Byrne says. “Data from multiple people is starting to tell you things in advance.”
MORE FROM BIZTECH: How the 5G vs. Wi-Fi 6 rivalry will benefit business.
The Future of Next-Generation Wireless Technology
The towers being used for 5G will likely be repurposed for 6G use, but satellites may also play a role.
“You see a lot of these low-Earth-orbit satellites going up right now, which means we are going to have ultimately hundreds, perhaps thousands out there — which could dramatically change the playing field if they get involved in the 6G story,” Byrne says. “If I ultimately want a drone or service network for my company, a 6G terahertz spectrum and satellite-plus-terrestrial infrastructure is an interesting combination.”
In truth, we’re still a few years off from the arrival of this futuristic new world. “The general thinking right now is 2030,” Byrne says, noting that delays in the standards-setting process for 5G, which is still ongoing, might set things back somewhat. “It tends to be the same companies and folks that are involved, so everything on 5G impacts the timeline on 6G as well.”