Qualcomm CEO: “With 5G, we’re truly moving towards a world where everyone and everything can be intelligently connected”
SAN DIEGO–Qualcomm is on a mission to leverage its core expertise in connectivity, cameras, audio, graphics, and artificial intelligence (AI) to expand its addressable market to $700 billion by the end of the decade. Based on strong Q2 results and growth across the business, this diversification strategy is working. And this week at the Qualcomm 5G Summit in the firm’s hometown of San Diego, company executives and partners gathered to discuss how to do this in the near- and long-term. As CEO Cristiano Amon put it during an opening presentation, “I believe innovation at the edge is going to be the key engine of innovation as we think about the digital economy.
The AI piece is crucial when you consider not just where Qualcomm is today but where it will be in the future. 5G is the focus of cellular-enabled solutions at the moment but work on 5G-Advanced and even 6G is progressing in earnest. Point being that cellular standards will evolve near-continuously but AI is here to stay and will only become more important as will the notion of distributing compute, storage and intelligence out of data centers and to edge which has different definitions with the commonality that it’s where data is created by humans and machines.
“AI is moving to the edge with 5G,” Amon said. “The key value of artificial intelligence is to act within real-time context. We look at this as an incredible opportunity. The center of gravity of AI processing is moving to the edge. 5G leadership is no longer defined by your ability to power just the phones…It’s really about having a realization of this vision that we’re going to create the connected intelligent edge with this technology…With 5G we’re truly moving towards a world where everyone and everything can be intelligent connected.”
Snapdragon X70 Modem-RF System integrates AI
Announced at Mobile World Congress Barcelona in February, Qualcomm’s latest generation Snapdragon X70 Modem-RF System integrates Qualcomm’s 5G AI Suite which supports a range of optimizations meant to improve speeds, coverage, mobility, link reliability and power consumption. That’s in addition to established AI-powered use cases Qualcomm has enabled, things like real-time translation, voice interfaces, contextual awareness, improved photo/video experiences, and many others.
This week the company announced updates to the X70 including Smart Transmit 3.0 and 5G standalone mmWave connectivity. Smart Transmit 3.0 improves radio performance by dynamically managing transmit power across 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G (mmWave and sub-6 GHz), Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6E, Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth.
Amon characterized mmWave 5G as “wireless fiber” and reiterated the company’s “bullish” position on mmWave, noting global deployment acceleration including among all four Japanese operators. Using the X70 in a test device and Keysight’s 5G Protocol R&D Toolset, Qualcomm conducted a 5G standalone mmWave transmission (meaning there wasn’t an anchor sub-6 GHz band being used) and reported peak speeds in excess of 8 Gbps. “We’re not done with the mmWave technology development,” Amon said, referencing a goal of “building a gigabit society.”
Industrial transformation in the metaverse of vastness
The vision of the metaverse is still coming into focus but, according to recent analysis from Deloitte, it’s a confluence of technologies like extended reality (XR) devices, edge and cloud computing, 5G and 6G, machine learning and AI, the internet of things (IoT), spatial computing, and advanced graphics rendering among other things–all tech very much in Qualcomm’s wheelhouse.
Amon has described Qualcomm as “your ticket to the metaverse” given its portfolio of tech and ecosystem of partners ranging from OEMs to application developers. Speaking this week, he discussed the blending of physical and digital worlds as “a very big secular growth opportunity. And we haven’t really scratched the surface…The metaverse opportunity is not only about consumers,” he said, calling out potentially bigger value to flow from the enterprise/industrial side. “It’s about building a digital twin of everything,” he said.
Beyond industrial metaverse for things like design, iteration, remote assistance, troubleshooting, predictive maintenance, and more, Qualcomm is also looking to embolden Industry 4.0 use cases with its latest Robotics RB6 Platform, a premium-tier solution that optimizes 5G and AI for robotics solutions.
Editor’s note: Stay tuned for more coverage of the Qualcomm 5G Summit.