Telecom: Verdict lists the top five terms tweeted on telecommunications in Q4 2021 based on data from GlobalData’s Technology Influencer Platform.

The top trends are the most mentioned terms or concepts among Twitter discussions of more than 150 telecommunications experts tracked by GlobalData’s Technology Influencer platform during the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2021.

1. 5G – 9,443 mentions

India’s 5G network roll out plans, a partnership between wireless voice and data services provider DISH Wireless and technology company Cisco, and new 5G testing capabilities for non-terrestrial networks (NTNs) were among the popular discussions on 5G in Q4 2021.

Madhav Seth, vice president of smartphone company realme, shared an article on India’s Department of Telecommunication (DoT) confirming its plans to roll out 5G network in the country in 2022. The network will initially be launched in 13 cities where 5G trials were conducted by telecom operators Airtel, Jio and Vi to perform end-to-end testing of 5G and develop 5G products and services. The launch of 5G technology is expected to improve user experience by providing higher data download rates and ultra-low latency connectivity. Furthermore, the technology is expected to be deployed across various sectors such as agriculture, education, health, and transport, according to the article.

In another tweet, Chuck Robbins, chairman and CEO of Cisco, shared an article on the company’s partnership with DISH Wireless to provide 5G services to enterprises. DISH will develop a smart, open and secure 5G network to provide customised and private services to enterprises across various industries. The network will feature automated Cisco XRv9K virtualised routers operating on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and virtual Cell Site Routers (vCSR) at the tower. It will be able to predict and self-heal, and feature closed-loop automation apart from virtualised routing in the cloud, the article highlighted.

5G was also discussed by Dr. Sally Eaves, senior policy advisor at the Global Foundation for Cyber Studies and Research, a non-profit think tank, who shared an article from telecommunications testing company Spirent Communications on the need to develop new 5G testing capabilities for NTNs. 5G along with satellites has enabled high-speed coverage in hard-to-reach areas and support for maritime applications. The combination of 5G and satellite communication, however, presents several challenges such as delays caused by distant satellite transmitters and the need for high radio link capacity required to handle multi-path networks. New testing approaches are needed to address these challenges. Testing of NTNs will need to address the multipath effect, automate tests to operate 24/7 and deploy high-capacity network testing, according to Spirent.

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2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) – 3,822 mentions

AI’s role in enhancing 5G services, how 5G will support a range of AI applications, and 5G along with AI and other technologies expected to power the metaverse were among the popular discussions on AI in Q4.

Dean Anthony Gratton, a technology influencer and analyst, shared an article on how AI-powered 5G services can enable communication service providers (CSPs) to provide uninterrupted services amid the rise in demand from customers due to the Covid-19 pandemic. AI-powered tools and services allow CSPs to perform remote and predictive maintenance while also enabling the collection of data on the performance of their infrastructure. Furthermore, open architectures promoted by Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) Alliance, a community of mobile operators, vendors, research organisations and academic institutions, enable CSPs to support their networks at low costs and deliver seamless services.

In another tweet, Ronald van Loon, CEO and principal analyst at the Intelligent World, an influencer network that connects businesses and experts to new audiences, shared an article on how 5G will accelerate the use cases of AI. 5G deployment will lead to the proliferation of sensors, which can be used as AI inputs providing opportunities for innovation. 5G and AI, for example, can be used by doctors to provide real-time remote counselling. Another area of application for the two technologies is Artificial Intelligence of Things or AIoT stated the article.

The term was also discussed by Glen Gilmore, principal at digital marketing and consulting firm Gilmore Business Network, who shared an article on how AI, 5G and other technologies will play a key role in the metaverse, a connected network of 3D virtual worlds, which may serve many purposes. The metaverse may serve as a 3D social media network targeted at a user based on their preferences using AI. Furthermore, it may take virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to the next level by offering immersive experiences such as virtually witnessing a game in 360°. It could also serve as a 3D e-commerce platform where shoppers can shop virtually from products tailored to a user’s needs. The metaverse, however, is still years away from becoming a reality due to the technical challenges associated with various technologies. A truly immersive experience will be possible if there is a 1,000-fold increase in the computing efficiency of processors, the article added.

3. IoT – 3,762 mentions

The convergence of blockchain, IoT and 6G, 5G boosting the adoption of IoT devices, and the emergence of the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) in healthcare were some of the popular discussions on IoT.

Andreas Staub, head of corporate development and digital transformation at the Raiffeisen Bank, shared an article detailing the opportunities and challenges presented by the convergence of blockchain, IoT and 6G mobile technologies. The advent of smart communications in various sectors has inspired experts to conduct research on 6G, which is expected to be the next generation of wireless communication systems. The integration of IoT and blockchain into 6G will provide significant advantages over 5G such as personal data protection, data privacy, wide coverage, and localisation. It can also promote smart living, reduce security threats and provide integrity solutions, according to the article.

Evan Kirstel, a technology influencer, tweeted on 5G leading to an increase in the adoption of IoT. Telecommunication company Vodafone, for example, stated that the number of IoT subscriber identity modules (SIM) cards issued by the company increased to 136 million in 2021 compared to 112 million in 2020. An IoT enterprise survey conducted by a technology consultancy firm further revealed that 70% of companies surveyed consider the technology to contribute significantly to their business in 2022. Furthermore, 50% stated that the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated their IoT plans as the disruption caused by the pandemic increased the demand for IoT solutions from enterprises. China, the US, and Germany are projected to have the highest levels of IoT growth boosted by advances in automation in the automotive and healthcare sectors, according to the article. China is expected to have 1.8 billion IoT devices by 2025 compared to 250 million devices in the US.

IoT was also discussed by Glen Gilmore, who shared an article on the growing prevalence of mobile-integrated healthcare supported by the emergence of 5G and cloud-enabled medical devices. IoMT devices are enabling physicians to remotely monitor patients and make healthcare more accessible and effective. Furthermore, 5G is enabling high-resolution medical imaging files to be delivered to physicians quickly and securely. IoMT devices will make healthcare a continuous and invisible process enabling frequent check-ins with physicians. Smartwatches, for example, may enable physicians to check vitals, while home diagnostics devices may enable results to be delivered through mobile phones to physicians at 5G speeds, the article highlighted.

4. Cloud – 1,713 mentions

US-based satellite service provider DISH Network choosing Spirent to provide 5G testing services, and cloud computing services provider Amazon Web Services (AWS) launching a private cellular network were some of the popular discussions on cloud in the fourth quarter.

Dr. Sally Eaves shared an article on DISH Network selecting Spirent to test its 5G services that are planned to be launched on the public cloud. DISH has partnered with AWS for developing its cloud infrastructure. Spirent will provide its Landslide 5GC Automation Package to enable DISH to test its cloud-based 5G services during network rollout and validate the resilience, functions and services of the network, the article detailed.

Another discussion on cloud was shared by Daryl Schoolar, research director for worldwide telecommunications at market research firm IDC, on the launch of AWS Private 5G by AWS. The service will enable enterprises to establish private 5G mobile networks at their premises within a short time. Customers only need to specify the location of the mobile network to be built and AWS will provide small cell radio units, servers, software, and SIM cards required to establish the private 5G network. AWS Private 5G enables enterprises to automate the process of establishing a private 5G network and allows them to scale up capacity on demand.

5. Sustainability – 841 mentions

Low-carbon 5G infrastructure development by Huawei, networking and telecommunications company Ericsson’s energy efficiency solutions for mobile networks, and carbon-neutral 5G offerings by telecom company AT&T were among the popular discussions in the last quarter.

Antonio Grasso, founder and CEO of Digital Business Innovation, a digital business transformation consulting firm, shared an article on information technology infrastructure and smart devices company Huawei offering a range of solutions and products to improve sustainability and address the high power consumption associated with wireless solutions. The company’s solutions maximise energy usage and conserve energy at the network level. The iSolar power supply solution, for example, can reduce the usage of electricity from the grid. Similarly, the high-density power solution supports simplified site solutions and the long-term expansion of mobile networks. Huawei has delivered its low-carbon site solutions in more than 100 countries enabling operators to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 40 million tonnes, the article detailed.

Sustainability was also discussed by Dean Anthony Gratton on Ericsson’s four-pronged approach to reduce the energy consumption of mobile networks. The company’s approach includes upgrading the network with advanced technology, utilising energy-saving software, building 5G with precision and operating site infrastructure using AI. Bradley Mead, head of network managed services at Ericsson, stated that AI has the potential to achieve energy savings by deploying data analytics and streamlining energy consumption.

Another discussion on sustainability was shared by Kevin L. Jackson, senior vice president of channel sales at Total Network Services (TNS), a provider of blockchain-focused products and services, on AT&T providing carbon-neutral 5G in Austin, Texas, US. AT&T will invest in regional tree planting projects that reduce or absorb carbon dioxide from the air when customers purchase 5G devices from the company in Austin. The company will invest in the Central Texas Floodplain Reforestation Programme and the Mississippi Alluvial Valley Reforestation Program, which aim to restore forests. AT&T also sources electricity from renewable energy projects and procures greenhouse gas offsets for the carbon emissions produced during the manufacturing and shipping of mobile devices. The offsets are checked by a third party to ensure that the company’s efforts support the tree planting projects.