On this episode of the IoT For All Podcast, Chris Pearson, President of 5G Americas, joins Ryan Chacon to discuss 5G technology. Chris begins by discussing the current state of 5G deployments, which use cases lead the way in 5G and how it compares to other connectivities. Chris then touches on the benefits of 5G within IoT and which industries are the keenest to adopt the technology. The conversation wraps up with a high-level discussion around challenges in rolling out 5G and what the future holds.
Chris Pearson is the President of 5G Americas. In his executive role, he is responsible for the overall planning of the organization and providing management for the integration of strategy and operations in technology, marketing, public relations, and regulatory affairs. With more than 34 years of experience in the telecommunications industry, Mr. Pearson is a recognized spokesperson in mobile wireless and 5G technology trends and has spoken at technology conferences throughout the world, including CES, Mobile World Congress, CTIA, 5G World North America, and The Big 5G Event.
About 5G Americas
5G Americas is an industry trade organization composed of leading telecommunications service providers and manufacturers. The organization’s mission is to facilitate and advocate for the advancement and transformation of LTE, 5G, and beyond throughout the Americas. 5G Americas is invested in developing a connected wireless community while leading 5G development for all the Americas.
Key Questions and Topics from this Episode:
(01:37) Introduction to Chris and 5G Americas
(03:34) What is the status of 5G deployments
(05:47) Leading IoT use cases of 5G
(07:30) Difference between 5G and other connectivities
(09:43) Benefits of 5G for IoT
(11:58) Industries most keen to adopt 5G
(13:51) Challenges of rolling out 5G
(18:03) Future of 5G
– [Chris] But I think that the other phases will be incorporating some of the technology enablers that I talked about, as well as, you know, and those technology enablers again, I’ll just kinda explain, you know, AI, edge computing, the cloud, all these virtualization.
– [Ryan] Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of the, IoT For All Podcast, the number one publication and resource for the Internet of Things. I’m your host, Ryan Chacon. Quickly, if you are watching this on YouTube, please give this video a thumbs up and subscribe to the channel if you haven’t done so already. Also, if you’re listening to this on a podcast directory like Apple Podcast, please subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as they are out. All right. On today’s episode we have Chris Pearson the president of 5G Americas. They are an industry trade organization composed of leading telecommunications service, priors and manufacturers. Focused on the advancement transformation of LTE, 5G and beyond through the Americas. So we talk about what the status is and where we are with 5G IoT development and the technologies supporting 5G IoT. We also talk about why 5G is different than the previous mobile communication technologies. Applications that will be able to be different and enabled with 5G and a number of other very exciting topics I think you’ll get a lot of value out of. So I hope you enjoy this episode, but before we get into it if you out there are looking to enter the fast growing and profitable IoT market but don’t know where to start, check out our sponsor, Leverege. Leverege’s IoT solutions development platform. Provides everything you need to create turnkey IoT products that you can white label and resell under your own brand. To learn more, go to IoTchangeseverything.com. That’s IoTchangeseverything.com. And without further ado, please enjoy this episode of the IoT For All Podcast. Welcome Chris, to the, IoT For All Podcast. Thanks for being here this week.
– [Chris] Well thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
– [Ryan] Absolutely, let’s kick this off by having you give a quick introduction about yourself to our audience.
– [Chris] Sure, my name’s Chris Pearson and I’m the President of an industry association called 5G Americas. 5G Americas is, a leading mobile communications industry association that’s dedicated to progressing 5G as well as LTE before that in the Americas region.
– [Ryan] Fantastic. So tell us a little bit more about 5G Americas and what you all do for the space kinda how you fit in with the space and kinda all that?
– [Chris] Yeah, that’d be great. So, 5G Americas is a bunch of leading mobile communications companies, both operators and vendors. They have equal rights amongst us as an industry association and we work in three main areas. So we work in what’s called technical facilitation and coordination, which is where we are well known for our white papers and they’re all free if you go to our website. And what that would be is trying to get the industry to understand exactly where we are and where we’re going. ‘Cause there’s a lot of standards that are being developed but there’s still a lot to trying to get that out to the marketplace. The second area we work in is regulatory policy. So, throughout Americas, we’re every day facing challenges and opportunities when it comes to regulations for our industry and how do we progress in that regulatory market? So we’re always filing with like the FCC and different government agencies or throughout Latin America with the government agencies down there. And the third area that we work in actually it’s industry education. So we work with industry media, industry analysts to really help, you know dissect what’s going on in the industry? Where we are? what we want to be doing, and how that affects the, you know, kind of the greater society or technology area.
– [Ryan] Fantastic. So for our audience’s sake, I’d love it if you could tell them a little bit about currently in the market, where do we kind of stand? Like what is the status of where we are with 5G IoT deployments that support the technology? Like where does that kind of stand from an adoption standpoint? In your mind, how do you kind of view it? What’s the landscape look like?
– [Chris] Yeah, yeah. So there’s a couple ways to look at this. You know, globally we’re at 5G deployments are at there’s 233 commercial deployments, which actually is, if you consider that we’ve been living through a pandemic, it’s quite astonishing how well we’ve done. And then in North America or specifically the US, we have a pretty wide coverage area for 5G capabilities as far as our national footprint. So if you look at, you know there’s AT&T, T-mobile, Verizon, three national carriers. And if you look at, you know, population of the United States is probably, you know 330 million in that range you probably have 5G coverage to over 300 million. If you look at the greater picture of it. As far as where we are as far as like technology, right now we’re probably in the third inning of a nine inning 5G baseball game. And when I say third inning, some people would say there’ll be people on both sides. They’ll say, “Well, you know, we’re growing faster than any previous generation of technology as far as the number of customers and people getting smartphones. And that is true. But on the other side, I say third inning because we’re only in the very beginning stages of rolling out some of the technology enablers that would help us to do more applications, more use cases and things like that. And that’s where IoT comes in. Right now 5G IoT is in the early stages of really the commercial deployments and even in the standards processes, we’re adding enhancing the 5G IoT capabilities right now.
– [Ryan] And are you seeing any particular use cases leading the way when it comes to utilizing 5G technology for in IoT?
– [Chris] Right now there is really the beginning areas. So what we have is kind of a transformation going with 4G capabilities and IoT, they’re actually right at the mass adoption stage and they’re overtaking really what was happening with 2G and 3G. So while that kind of is happening, 5G is now coming out into the marketplace and starting to address new use cases. So, what you’re seeing is a lot of the early stages of companies looking at things like manufacturing capabilities, transportation, smart transportation, the ports, you know when you start to think about how do we make our port more efficient? We’ve seen some use cases with 5G IoT on that. So there’s a lot of different areas that are just really at the beginning of the 5G IoT stage. And at the same time, a lot of people are really just starting to kind of open their eyes and minds about what the true capabilities are. If you’re like in a manufacturing industry or if you’re looking at the connected car what can happen with that if we start putting transportation on top of it or even the smart cities. So, there’s quite a bit that’s going on, but again we’re in the beginning stages and it is interesting to see how 4G capabilities of IoT are just now gonna be surpassing probably in 2023 all the 2G, 3G IoT sensors and devices. And then after that, 5G comes in and really starts to take shape pretty quick.
– [Ryan] And when when I get some people heafr about 5G, can you explain at a very kind of fundamental level the difference between 5G and previous mobile communication technologies? Like what is the main difference that 5G offers and why is it such big deal?
– [Chris] Yeah, it’s a big deal because 5G was developed to address use cases and applications. And so what they did when we looked at the standard and that standard was developed at was called 3rd Generation Partnership Project. They looked at three areas that they wanted to address. So, when you look at a 5G capability versus 4G, you’re gonna have, you know, faster download speeds, faster upload speeds. And so we see that right away in the smartphones and those type of applications. We also are looking at a massive machine to machine communications or IoT communications capabilities. So before we might be able to, as a cellular operator working with their vendor, support millions of devices. The new standard for 5G versus 4G is different in that we won’t be supporting millions of devices. We have the capability to support billions of devices and that’s much different what the architecture is. And then the third area that is different than what would be be 4G LTE or previous generations is just low latency and reliability. We basically are lowering the latency and increasing the reliability of the technology. So those are the three kind of massive areas that have been changed as we went to 5G versus 4G. And don’t get me wrong, 4G LTE is an awesome technology but 5G just looked at the use cases and that’s why it’s gonna be a really a game changer and a different technology.
– [Ryan] Yeah, it’s very interesting to kind of or it has been very interesting to follow the rollout of 5G and talk to different experts who are utilizing this technology for different use cases, different applications and things like that. From your perspective, I know you’ve kind of mentioned or pieces here of this but what are the biggest characteristics or I guess biggest improved characteristics of 5G compared to previous mobile communication technologies that is going to benefit the IoT industry directly?
– [Chris] Yeah, so I would probably sum it up with flexibility. So when you look how 5G was developed, and this is starts at the foundational area, which is the standard. It was with the knowledge that our ecosystem for mobile communications has to expand. And so what happened is they incorporated into the standard, you know, what would be considered technology enablers that we’re seeing that were basically we’re already starting to develop it in the technology ecosystem. And now they’re gonna be part of the mobile wireless ecosystem. And that would be things like, you know cloud support, edge computing, looking at capabilities for front haul and back haul of cell sites so that you could support more areas. So these types of things were incorporated into the standard where that previously really wasn’t the case. With 4G, we really it was more like, okay, let’s improve some areas and let’s get faster download speeds and better upload speeds. But when it came to 5G, it was also to have some flexibility and that flexibility will help an IoT solution. And when I say that it would be, if I’m a manufacturing floor and I want the capabilities so all my say robotics are not have to be cabled on my factory floor because I want better robotics, lower latency, I want more efficiency, I can do that number one from 5G IoT sensors and capabilities. But at the same time, I might have a need for my factory to have a 5G private network or a network slice or a cloud capabilities that incorporates into it. All those types of things weren’t there when we had 4G, 3G, 2G or you know, 1G.
– [Ryan] Fair enough, fair enough. And I know I asked you earlier about the use cases. What about from an industry perspective? Are you seeing any particular industries that are most keen to adopt 5G or I guess gonna benefit the most from 5G based on kind of existing technologies in the past or maybe use cases they weren’t able to deploy because the technology wasn’t there to support it? Where do you kind of see this really taking off from an industry perspective?
– [Chris] Yeah, looking at at the some of the opportunities and some of the forecasts that various analysts are making about it, I think that the manufacturing into the vertical industries within the manufacturing sector, I think, are a huge opportunity in some of the forecasts. Additionally, I would say the whole transportation concept of smart transportation connected cars I think is another great one. And that can even play within a smart city, you know, bigger application. So those would be the biggest opportunities. And I think in smart manufacturing and those industry verticals, some of that is because of the flexibility of what 5G is gonna be able to offer that we couldn’t in 4G and 3G. And if you go to, you know, I spoke, I keynoted or spoke at an event, you know, pre-COVID granted and it was a manufacturing conference and that manufacturing conference, I was just surprised at how much cabling there was in the factory on the exhibit floor about everything that they did. And I think we’re gonna change that with 5G and that’s why I think the research houses and the analysts are saying, “This is a huge opportunity to incorporate not only the factory floor but all the flexibility of the technology that goes with 5G IoT.” And then outside the factory floor because we know every product that’s manufactured has to go somewhere.
– [Ryan] Totally. And through kind of your engagement with different companies and seeing 5G deployed and adopted for different use cases across industries, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve seen or do you feel are maybe not so much challenges but kind of roadblocks, speed bumps that are kind of in the way as 5G continues to get rolled out? Where do you kind of see those coming up? I mean, as with any new technology, I feel like they do occur in some capacity. Where do you feel that the biggest challenges kinda lie ahead when it comes to 5G deployment as well as adoption?
– [Chris] Yeah, I think that the biggest roadblock have to do with first it just takes I guess time. It takes time. That’s a roadblock, I don’t know. So, and also kind the idea of what mobile communications is to a customer or a business or a vertical industry. So in the past, you know, the first thing that has to happened is this foundation, a 5G coverage needs to be incorporated whatever country it might be. Again, we cover the Americas, but the US has done quite well. So companies are now realizing that there is an obstacle kinda mindset communications is and in the past, I think, you know, we’ve all kind of idea that, well mobile communications is smartphone and you know, I’ll hold up my phone right here you go, it’s like this is what mobile communications is. I got a smartphone and this is what I do. I have twin kids and my kids, you know that they’re on their phone all day long for everything. But, that is really not what 5G is gonna be about. It’s not gonna be about a transactional cell. It’s gonna be about a long, longer process solution driven type of activity or cell to a vertical industry as well. And those are the things that are an obstacle because you are not gonna have a manufacturer walk into your retail store. It’s gonna be solution that’s gonna a solution provider or a provider that has a new division that is working with vertical markets or a consulting firm that talks about efficiencies within your factory floor or your hospital or your port. So the obstacle really is to move the mindset from transactional cells to solutions and that’s where 5G comes in with the solutions but we gotta get to that area.
– [Ryan] Yeah, I totally agree with the solutions angle because I feel like as IoT in general has evolved, it’s become more of a solution centric industry where people are looking for solutions that solve problems and I wanna say they care less about, but they’re not as focused on the technologies that are involved as much as they are about, “Can I purchase and adopt a end to end solution that solves my problem as easy to implement works with existing systems and is at a cost that makes it makes sense for us internally from an ROI perspective. And I think that is something that these new technologies are starting to or really understand and as they get implemented, we’re seeing that more and more.
– [Chris] Yeah, I would agree. I mean, I think you hit it the target right on there. It’s a different world and what we need to do is know make sure that we are living in the world of solutions not in the world of a transaction for a smartphone.
– [Ryan] Totally agree. Obviously as consumers, most people that are not necessarily in the IoT space on a day to day when they think of 5G they are thinking about their phone, right? They’re thinking or seeing 5G up in the corner where they do make things faster. You know, all that kind of good stuff.
– [Chris] Which is great, I mean, you know? And that’s, I mean, myself, my family, my kids, my friends, you know, when they talk about 5G they love it and because it is faster. It is, you know, great to have the latest technology in your device. And a carrier that has spectrum that they’re deploying and giving you these things. So that’s a great attribute, but there’s just so much more and that’s why I say we’re the third inning of a nine inning baseball game.
– [Ryan] I wanted to ask you ask about that. So this kind of is one of the questions I wanted to ask you before we wrapped up, but what is the future of 5G not just the rollout and the implementation but also the adoption look like in your mind? If we’re in the third inning, as you say there are a number of innings left in a baseball game, what are those future innings? What does that look like and where are we kind of headed?
– [Chris] Yeah, so the early part or the early phase of 5G is basically providing 5G capabilities and coverage out into the marketplace. And again, the first area would be, you know the smartphones and transactions. But I think that the other phases will be incorporating some of the technology enablers that I talked about. And those technology neighbors, again, I’ll just kinda explain, you know, AI, edge computing, the cloud, all these virtualization. But the other thing that is important to this is that the operators are working with a standards driven industry. And right now our operators are working hard to deploy what’s called standalone technology in 5G. And that is the core network of a 5G network is gonna be upgraded in 5G to what’s called 5G core network. And that actually a standalone will provide more capabilities and more solutions. And so you’re already seeing this in many parts of the world. We’ve seen reports from the GSA, which is a another association that says there’s 99 or more operators that are working on this in some form or fashion. In the US there’s been various announcements about or deployments even about standalone capabilities. So that’s really the next phase is we got 5G out in the marketplace. We’re utilizing more spectrum, but we’ll also need to continue to upgrade the technology capabilities. Once we do that, then we start move into some of more capabilities that an operator can offer for these IoT or any type of solution you get into more options.
– [Ryan] Absolutely. Yeah, it’s a very fascinating space and it’s exciting. I think it’s hard to find anybody who’s not that keen or not very excited about the growth of 5G and what it really means for the IoT industry. So I really appreciate you taking some time to jump on here and talk about what you all see from your vantage point working with these large organizations who are really behind 5G and what it can do, not just for the IoT industry but industries all over the world. So, for audience out there who may want to follow up with questions, learn more about 5G Americas and just kind of dive more into anything we talked about today, what’s the best way they can follow up and connect?
– [Chris] Yeah, the best way to go to our website. It’s a great resource. It’s 5gamericas.org. There’s a lot of information about what we do, how we do and also how to contact us. And I really appreciate your time and wanting to learn about 5G and IoT. We’re really bullish and positive about what 5G is and what it’s gonna be. We really think it’s a great opportunity to connect societies and do a lot for society.
– [Ryan] Yeah totally agree. Yeah, we’re excited as well. But thanks again so much for taking your time to be on here and look forward to getting this out to our audience.
– [Chris] All right, thank you very much.
– [Ryan] All right, everyone, thanks again for watching that episode of the, IoT For All Podcast. If you enjoyed the episode please click the thumbs up button, subscribe to our channel and be sure to hit the bell notifications so you get the latest episodes as soon as they become available. Other than that, thanks again for watching and we’ll see you next time.