Themed the Power of Global Communications, the five-day venue attended by thousands of global participants commenced on Monday, December 9 with a full day of workshops and tutorials outlining topics like "Optical Wireless Communications" and "Autonomous Underwater Sensor Networks", and then proceeded the following morning with a three-day technical learning schedule led by the keynote of Lew Tucker, vice president and chief technology officer of Cloud Computing at Cisco. During his address on "Cloud Computing and the Promise of Networking-as-a-Service", Lew Tucker spoke of a Big Data explosion that will generate more than $14 billion in revenues over the next 10 years and a network traffic that will reach 77 zetabytes per year by 2017.
According to Lew Tucker, "it's all about the applications at the end of the day" with "Cloud computing winning as the easiest way to develop and employ applications" as well as create better "two-way communications between applications and infrastructure". Also described was the evolution of the Cloud containing "everything-as-a-service", pay-as-you-go models and built-in resiliencies driven by open source Cloud platforms and Open Stack Software Architecture, which are "massively scalable wherever possible" and "allow the developer to focus on the applications rather than the plumbing".
Afterwards, IEEE GLOBECOM 2013 initiated the first of more than 800+ technical paper presentations, senior-executive discussions and Industry Forums & Exhibitions dedicated to topics like "Smart Metering: Enabling Communications and Associated Security and Privacy Challenges", "Network Function Virtualization", "Current Challenges with Cyber Security in Software Defined Networks" and "Millimeter Wave Wireless Communications: The Ultrawideband Frontier".
For instance, the "What is TV White Space and How Can it Be Used?" forum was punctuated by the comments of researchers from Toshiba, iconectiv and OFCOM, who reflected on the mobile traffic requirements that have increased 13x from 2012 to 2013 and an ecosystem that will have to support approximately 50 billion M2M tools and connections as well as two billion cellular devices by 2020. Other predictions even estimated an 80x growth from 2012 to 2030. Subsequently, the solutions outlined in the forum included the pioneer of a new framework enabling spectrum sharing in the U.S., the introduction of new pilot and trial programs throughout the world and the initial global deploy of low power small cell networks for facilitating greater spectrum use.
In addition, the Industry Forum on "Smart Metering: Enabling Communications and Associated Security & Privacy Challenges" focused on the challenges on driving smart metering capabilities, which are expected to grow by 20 percent by 2017. Among the initiatives discussed were the dense deploy of low-cost mesh radio technologies operated by low-power drivers that overcome standard radio propagation issues and the availability of in-home displays on tablets that can help consumers save energy and money with real-time pricing services. Other problems addressed involved the privacy violations that could result from behaviour profiling and the associated real-time surveillance techniques. "Privacy as a service" was one potential alternative for a market that will often trade privacy for better pricing.
Tuesday evening then progressed with the highly-anticipated Dialogue with Industry Executives featuring the perspectives and visions of senior communications professionals representing leading Atlanta-based communications organizations. Tino Mantella, the president of the Technology Association of Georgia and session's moderator, led the discussion as experts like Chris Walters, chief operating officer of The Weather Company, spoke about "the amazing way commercialized drones can help tell stories, collect content and keep live reporters out of harm's way", while Louis Gump, president and CEO of LSN Mobile, cited their vast potential for "capturing imagination, connecting people and covering communities better" with the far greater coverage of local events such as children's soccer games. As for the communications job market, all the panelists agreed that "the ability to bridge the gap between technology and business was the hardest talent to find" and "the people who are great at it are extremely rare" in today's technical world. This includes going beyond a tunnel-vision focus on goals with an "emotional awareness that pulls people together".
On Wednesday morning, Jessica Rosenworcel, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission (FCC), started the day with her address on "Wireless Communications: A Regulatory Perspective" and the methods the government is currently using to encourage innovation and network topology breakthroughs. Jessica Rosenworcel began by lauding IEEE ComSoc as an "important force for furthering LTE and IoT initiatives and laying the foundation for the communications world of tomorrow". She then spoke in length about the need to change "the traditional approach to innovation that does not offer the benefit of testing thoughts in the real world" with a new model that offers "more space in sandboxes to play, dream and create". This includes reducing the regulations that burden testing, hinder the certification process for new technologies and slow their entry into the marketplace. Jessica Rosenworcel also explored the FCC and its plans for more efficiently using spectrum space and transitioning broadcasters to new channels in a U.S. market that is expected to increase mobile data traffic 13x over the next five years. "This", she stated, "will be achieved with the benefit of engineers, who will help us shape the next generation of communications."
Other event highlights included the keynote of Branko Bjelajac, IEEE GLOBECOM 2013 General Chair and CTO for Landis+Gyr, who commented on "Information and Communication Technology - A Key Enabler of Smart Grid Innovation" and its role in transforming and modernizing the sustainability, production, distribution and consumption of electricity on a global scale. This began by asking "What is important to you?" The answer according to the conference's general chair was "family, health, society, food and science. It's ultimately about you as scientists, researchers, innovators, energy consumers and producers and ICT experts."
Branko Bjelajac then proceeded to address the numerous challenges confronting a growing global population supported by an "unfavourable energy mix consisting of outdated technologies and increasing energy demands". As a solution, he pointed to the replacement of traditional grid models consisting of information and money "flowing in only one direction" with decentralized energy generation technologies composed of new sources of energy-efficient power that connect smart devices, buildings, cities and entire systems with people through public cellular and broadband networks. Among the challenges for this new world that "connects everything" is the rise of engineers that combine power and IT expertise, "products that do the job at the lowest possible cost", "robustness fueled by devices in the field that never switch off" and platforms displaying "intelligent decision making". Branko Bjelajac concluded the discussion by challenging his audience to create new business ideas and models that solve tomorrow's real-world problems today and create an infrastructure that merges "the new with existing worlds" and makes new technologies accessible for all to build upon.
Following these comments, the conference began its final day of technical paper presentations, demonstrations and Industry Forums. During the morning session on "Internet Governance - why should the technical community care and where do they fit in", experts representing AT&T and global standards committees highlighted the processes needed to ensure a profitable, manageable and interoperable global Internet supported by the development and adoption of open, transparent and market-driven standards. This includes eliminating the fragmentation that stands in the way of making services available and affordable for all in a global regulatory environment that makes policy decisions on "how the system actually works and not fiction", while creating an equal footing between government and stakeholders.
The Industry Forum on "Big Cloud Networking" also detailed methods for processing data in pseudo real-time or batch modes with predictive analytics. According to the panel, "there is gold in data and the value is limited by the ability to extract information from any field" and "the trillions of individual sensors monitoring the status of everything of interest to humans." This is true in a mega-Cloud environment that will see the accumulation of digital data grow 44x between 2009 and 2020 and is already creating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. As a result, extremely strong encryption techniques will be especially important in a Cloud services marketplace that is expected to rise to $154 billion in 2014 and can be accessed "everywhere and does not necessarily recognize country boundaries".
Additional conference milestones held from Tuesday through Thursday included three days of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) research demonstrations showcasing the latest novel approaches for overcoming the inflexibility, high power consumption, complexity and obsolescence issues in today's network infrastructures. As an example, Barbara Lancaster and Bhavani Shanmugan of MetraTech Corp. showcased their latest research into "Multi-Partner Multi-Service Billing and Settlement of NFV-enabled Services" and the use of metadata for easily configuring any number of pricing plans and compensation agreements across products, services, geographies, and new and legacy accounts.
IEEE GLOBECOM 2013 concluded on Friday, December 13 with a second day of workshops and tutorials detailing topics such as "Security & Privacy in Big Data", "Emerging Technologies for LTE-Advanced and Beyond 4G", "Vehicular Network Evolution", "Quality of Experience for Multimedia Communications", "Energy Harvesting Wireless Communications", "Machine-to-Machine Technologies & Markets" and "Wireless Device-Device Communications and Networks".
Planning is already underway for IEEE GLOBECOM 2014 in Austin, Texas. You can visit www.ieee-globecom.org/2014 for conference updates, registration details and presentation guidelines. The Call for Papers deadline is April 1, 2014 for original submissions.