More than anything else, Intel's acquisition of Mobileye in 2017 was a statement of the US giant's intention of fortifying its standing as a company ready and planning in optimal fashion for 5G cellular. There is no need to irritate Intel by mentioning its less successful cellular adventures in recent years; it is irrelevant. There is no doubt that Intel will make a great effort to avoid missing out on 5G.
Intel VP and communications and devices group general manager Elkana Ben-Sinai, who is responsible for the company's wireless connectivity business, explains to "Globes" why it will be different this time, and how the entire enterprise is gearing up for the data revolution, which Intel's president called the oil revolution of the modern era.
"Intel's vision in recent years has been far broader than 5G," Ben-Sinai says, adding, "5G is a critical building block in this. Intel says that the revolution we are part of now is the data revolution. At Intel, we call it the fourth generation of the company, which began as a startup, continued operating in the memory industry, became a company that develops processors and semiconductors, and in its fourth generation is leading a data revolution, in which it claims that data has become in effect the modern world's oil - the most important resource that affects how we manage our lives. Handling all stages of this process is our vision: serving and developing products for it, whether connecting and transmitting communications, cameras, autonomous cars, sensors, IoT, and everything that can be done. Cellular 5G aims to deal with one aspect of data transmission."
"In every place and every situation"
"Globes": What is the difference between 5G and 4G?
Ben-Sinai: "In contrast to previous cellular generations, there is a much bigger change affecting the entire network in the transition from 4G to 5G. It is made possible by a great many technologies that have made progress in recent years, such as cloud computing, network virtualization, radio modulation, and so forth. In the end, it's not just technology. 5G will make possible services with much higher speeds with a magnitude of 50 or more times as fast as what exists today. The network will be uber-connected - in every place and every situation - and will be super-reliable. If we see scenarios in which the patient is next to a robot, while the surgeon is in another country, we can't put up with a surge in current, because the patient will die if the doctor cuts instead of stitching. The network must therefore always be connected with no crashes, super-reliable, and secured, with very little lag in its response. If you're talking about an autonomous car, it has to be very quick and respond immediately. We can't have a situation in which a television set in the next room is turned on, you hear applause, and you don't see the event yet."
You are talking about an entire spectrum of solutions - technology that covers almost every angle.
"Absolutely, and that's why I said that 5G is coming to Intel at a wonderful time. We have escaped the processors zone in recent years. It's not so well known, but 50% of Intel's revenue comes from processors and 50% from other things."
The figure was 70-80% several years ago.
"All of the other things are due to the company's work on areas like cloud computing, for example. We're the leader in data centers, in communications on the network side, optical communications, and more. Today, Intel is truly deployed from the end-user device; the telephone, sensor, or car; all the way to the cloud that does the processing. We work with Ericsson, Nokia, and other equipment manufacturers, and also with the operators themselves. We offer them a solution for all states of the network, enable them to expand their business, and also offer them a solution that we have already tested in advance and have worked on in integrative fashion. So it's a great opportunity for Intel. By the way, there are very few such companies. Actually, there are probably no other companies capable of offering such a broad range of solutions, all of which are eventually connected to 5G. For us, 5G is not supposed to enable people to talk on the telephone; it makes new opportunities possible. It enables industry to develop new models."
What forecasts will materialize in the context of the revolution?
"There are things that can already been on the ground. In IoT, for example, all the sensors help regulate traffic and regulate air pollution. These things exist."
While we are on the subject of transportation, tell me about your projects in this sector.
"The autonomous car is an excellent example of a combination of many technologies. It has first of all the problem of driving, it has communications, computer vision, big data, so I think that yes, an autonomous car has been tagged by Intel's management as one of the company's growth engines in the coming years, and the Mobileye acquisition was made in this context.
"The autonomous car is first of all a collector of information. It's been said that an autonomous car will record four terabytes of information. It will include the route, obstacles on the way, the state of traffic, maps, a pit in the road, oil on the road, and so forth. There is the matter of transmitting information to the cloud, because a car will never have enough computing power to process all of this information. I have to analyze everything that happens and transmit it to other cars. Part of it, and our vision, and I think that of this entire industry of autonomous cars, is zero accidents, zero traffic jams, and zero air pollution."
"A broad range of capabilities"
When will we start seeing 5G on the ground?
"I think that we'll see signs very soon at the Winter Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. The torch has already set out, and Intel is going to display a broad range of capabilities there, but the main use we'll see will be that spectators in the stadium will get virtual reality glasses. It doesn't matter where you sit; you'll be able to see every track as if you were sitting in the first row next to the main track, with very high quality and resolution. No one will block your view."
So there's actually no point in buying a ticket.
"The Olympic Committee won't agree, but in principle, you're right. In the end, it will reach the people at home."
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on January 2, 2018
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