Nokia boss predicts when we will move away from smartphones, and the arrival of 6G

Nokia chief executive officer Pekka Lundmark anticipates 6G will hit the commercial market around 2030 but believes that the smartphone will not be the most common connectivity interface by then.

Speaking on a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week, Lundmark said that the world is likely to move away from using smartphones, to glasses and other devices before the arrival of 6G.

“The smartphone as we know it today will not anymore be the most common interface,” he said. “Many of these things will be built directly into our bodies.”

Lundmark said that by 2030 there will likely be a “digital twin of everything” that will require enormous computational resources. Networks will need to be at least 100 times or even 1,000 times faster to transmit all the bits that the industrial metaverse will require.

Lundmark said that only 30% of the global economy today is digitalized, and much work is needed to digitise the remaining 70%.

Nokia notes that in the 6G era, the digital, physical, and human world will seamlessly fuse to trigger extrasensory experiences.

“Intelligent knowledge systems will be combined with robust computation capabilities to make humans endlessly more efficient and redefine how we live, work and take care of the planet. Even though there is still a lot of innovation in 5G with the 5G-Advanced release of new standards, Nokia Bell Labs has already begun the research work on 6G,” it said.

Nokia expects 6G systems to launch commercially by 2030, following the typical 10-year cycle between generations.

How will the 6G era benefit us?

Nokia said that every single improvement in network connectivity that 5G will bring to the end-user will get further perfected with 6G. “Whether it’s smart cities, farms or factories, and robotics, 6G will take it to the next level. Much of that will be facilitated by 5G-Advanced, the next standard enhancements for 5G.

“It comes with improved efficiency and extended capabilities and improved user experience.”

6G will enable new use cases. “We will connect the physical world to our own human world, thanks to the massive scale deployment of sensors and artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) with digital twin models and real-time synchronous updates. These digital twin models are crucial because they allow us to analyze what’s happening in the physical world, simulate possible outcomes, anticipate needs and then take productive actions back into the physical world.”

Digital twins will be found not only in factories but also in wide area networks of cities and even digital twins of humans which will have a major impact on the network architecture, the Finnish company said.

While the smartphone will remain a key device in the 6G era, new man-machine interfaces will make it more convenient to consume and control information. Touchscreen typing will gradually get replaced by gesture and voice control. Devices will come embedded into clothing and even transform into skin patches. Healthcare will be an important benefactor as wearables facilitate 24/7 monitoring of vital parameters, it said.

The maturing of AI and machine vision and their capacity to recognize people and objects will turn wireless cameras into universal sensors. Radio and other sensing modalities like acoustics will gather information on the environment. Digital cash and keys may become the norm. We may even start relying on brain sensors to actuate machines.

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Nokia boss predicts when we will move away from smartphones, and the arrival of 6G