An Intelligent Upgrade: From Connections to Connectivity

An Intelligent Upgrade: From Connections to Connectivity

By TongQing Gao, Vice General Manager, China Mobile Communications Group

We are shifting from individual connections to the concept of universal connectivity, which will power a digital, connected, and intelligent society where all things are connected.

In the past, we talked about connecting people to people, with the evolution of mobile phones allowing us to use voice and data services anytime, anywhere. But today, we’re gradually seeing a transition to connecting people to things, things to things, and eventually universal connectivity.

Powered by 5G, cloud, and AI, we’re entering a fully connected, intelligent world.

Three drivers of intelligent universal connectivity

There are three key factors stimulating the transition into connected everything:

Firstly, a digitalized economy and society require intelligent universal connectivity where the digital economy is the main force after agriculture and industry. According to the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), China's digital economy accounted for 35 percent of GDP in 2018, up from 23 percent in 2013 and which is expected to exceed 50 percent in 2030.

The second driver is new infrastructure. China defines 5G, AI, and the industrial Internet as "new infrastructure", highlighting the role of these technologies in facilitating an intelligent society. Led by 5G, new infrastructure will be based on cloud and use AI for universal connectivity across all aspects of our lives.

Third, the digital transformation of various industries is gaining momentum. And impacted by pandemic, five typical scenarios have developed - infrastructure, social governance, production, work, and life – framed by three requirements: online, intelligent, and cloud-based.

Connections and intelligence accelerate intelligent universal connectivity

Our goal is to achieve universal connectivity enabled by intelligent technology, which will benefit both carriers and society.

Having built the largest 5G premium network and covering all of China, China Mobile is applying 5G alongside optical broadband for optimum connectivity and integrating 5G with AICDE to construct a smart system.

China Mobile is also working on 5G standards and technologies with the industry ecosystem. The R15 standard has incorporated basic 5G capabilities, and R16 and R17 will go deeper. The goal of R16 is to build more stable, comprehensive, and diverse 5G networks with optimized operations, while reducing costs and improving efficiency. In this process, China Mobile has played a leading role, implementing numerous projects and proposals. As R17 comes into play, it will define 5G services specific to certain industries, and 5G capabilities will integrate with OT, IT, and AI for cross-domain collaboration.

In terms of optical broadband, China Mobile focuses on upgrading infrastructure networks and service quality. To better serve high-value customers, China Mobile has built a private network for governments and businesses, offering high reliability, security, efficiency, and low latency. The network covers more than 95 cities in China and seven cities abroad. It draws on 200G technology to provide ultra-high bandwidth and introduces SDN to implement flexible scheduling and fast access to cloud.

The evolution of access networks is also bringing with it new gigabit speeds. As such, China Mobile is pivoting towards "full-gigabit", which will include gigabit in 5G, home broadband, Wi-Fi, applications, and services. This will ensure the ultimate user experience for smart lifestyles.

When it comes to intelligence, China Mobile leverages its advantages by incorporating it into the business, data, and technical platforms. This yields an Ability as a Service (AaaS) structure, where technologies, data, and services complement each other. And together, they produce an intelligent system that enables connectivity.

AI is at the heart of this system. China Mobile dedicated seven years to developing its Jiutian AI Platform. Jiutian AI transitions mobile cloud to intelligent cloud, providing more than 100 applications for 900+ million users. At the same time, it features an open architecture, making it a necessary social tool.

Intelligent universal connectivity enables innovation

China Mobile defines four growth engines — consumer, home, business, and new.

In the consumer market, China Mobile is focusing on five key services to deliver an immersive entertainment experience. These are 5G + real 4K live broadcast and 5G + VR for video; video ringtones; MiguPlay, a cloud gaming platform with interactive ultra-HD games; 5G + AR, for example users can make video duets with friends or even celebrities; and lastly Caiyun cloud drive that supports rich media forms.

For its business market, China Mobile builds 5G SA networks for industry verticals and is dedicated to providing 5G private network services. Customers have the option to customize networking depending on their WAN, LAN, and local service requirements. Technological capabilities address networking, deployment, and support, offering E2E slicing, edge computing, super uplink, QoS enhancement, frequency collaboration, and capability exposure. Additionally, China Mobile pools a group of experts for one-stop operations and delivery, including pre-sales and after-sales services.

The home market is also growing rapidly thanks to full gigabit and home cloud. Intelligent connectivity enables the management and control of gigabit networks and devices. At the same time, intelligent sharing allows families to share through multi-screen interaction and dedicated applications. Intelligent control solutions connect specific devices and services across all rooms. These services address the individual needs of each home and customer, promoting the growth of smart home services.

Ultimately, interconnectivity builds on technological progress and cross-industry cooperation. China Mobile is open to innovative collaboration to achieve cutting-edge results in today’s fully connected, intelligent world.