Predictions Event: Interview with John Smee, Qualcomm

Last week, CCS Insight held its Predictions for 2024 and Beyond event, the full replays of which are available now on demand. As part of the event, I had the pleasure to speak with John Smee, Senior Vice President of Engineering and Global Head of Wireless Research at Qualcomm.

Qualcomm is a global leader in the development of cutting-edge innovations and global standards; it operates at the forefront of technologies central to the rise of the smartphone and numerous other connected devices. So, John Smee was a prime candidate to explain the importance of advanced technologies and the role of global standards.

Mobile technology like 3G, 4G and 5G has flourished because of an industry-wide commitment to the standards process and partnership across a broad ecosystem. John explained in detail the advantages this commitment affords in delivering technologies at speed, scale and with dependable consistency. It has provided the mobile industry with a platform for growth and is now benefiting a multitude of industries that have a growing reliance on pervasive connectivity and intelligence — key themes of our predictions this year.

This isn’t always a seamless process, and the development of 5G was an example of a technology in a nascent phase of commercial deployment, posing the risk of fragmenting into two competing standards. Nonetheless, the industry’s appreciation of the need for global standards to ensure innovation and growth at scale was a leading factor in 5G quickly overcoming these early uncertainties. As John discussed, progress with 5G-Advanced and the accelerating transition to standalone 5G by global network operators is notable proof of the process working as it should.

There’ll always be pressures on the process, and the geopolitical climate is now a challenge that the entire industry must navigate. With technologies such as 5G, 6G and artificial intelligence being so central to national security and economic prosperity and development, these challenges are considerable. However, as the interview explored, Qualcomm is confident that the wider industry will be resilient, continue to innovate and drive progress based on a history of success and cooperation.

This mind-set is paving the way for innovations with 5G-Advanced, 6G and the advent of artificial intelligence to create more intelligent networks. The discussion explored in some depth what this future looks like and what the industry and users can expect in the years to come. I encourage you to watch the 15-minute interview in full below. A big thank you to John Smee and Qualcomm for addressing big themes that were central to this year’s Predictions event.

You can access the full list of CCS Insight’s predictions and watch replays from all three days of the event on our website.