Network communication technologies have been developing at a fast pace ever since they became an integral part of people's lives, advancing from 3G, 4G to 5G in the immediate future. They have fundamentally changed the way people live and work.
5G communication is expected to bring not only enhancements to network communication quality but more importantly evolutional changes to the entire information industry. As what Li-Fung Chang, chief architect, 5G Technology Program Office, Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), pointed out, at the current stage, we should focus efforts on the development of key 5G technologies and core elements while also endeavoring to find crucial solutions that enable cross-industry integrations. Only by doing this can Taiwan secure a place in the global competition.
"Taiwan has a strong and solid foundation of information technologies, which provides an ideal base for 5G development," said Chang. "However, 5G advancements will actually hinge on the development of critical solutions that enable cross-industry integrations. For example, 5G technologies integrated with IoT, medical electronics or automotive electronics are some forward-looking objectives."
Chang thinks Taiwan businesses have to change from working independently to working as a team whereby they can boost their competitive edge by combining forces and providing integrated solutions. This can include not only collaborations between corporations but more importantly cross-industry and cross-sector alliances.
Particularly for 5G developments, businesses will not be able to access the latest technologies and patents without continuing academic researches. Academic institutions will not be able to carry on with their research without business sponsorships. As such, industry-academic collaborations are essential to high-tech advances.
"Therefore, MOEA, as a government agency, is working to facilitate industry alliances and partnerships as well as actively drive industry-academic collaborations," commented Chang. "MOEA looks to start a positive cycle by promoting commercialization of research results while driving corporate support of academic researches."
It is also important to engage international experts. Professor Niels Kuster of Swiss Federal Institute of Technology is also the chairman of SPEAG, ZMT Zurich MedTech AG, NFT Technology Holding and Zeugi43 AG. He talked about IoT system standards, software and instruments. In addition to simulating, measuring and verifying whether 5G devices comply with related regulations and standards, different test environments can be designed and built for various IoT devices such as glasses, smart bands and other mobile devices, allowing products or solutions to more closely match user needs.
As a matter of fact, many Taiwan businesses have been actively engaging in 5G research and development. For example, Auden Techno Corp., with continuing efforts on antenna technology R&D, is also targeting various 5G applications and has prepared complete solutions and services including component development, testing and validation, system build-up, solution planning and customization. Auden ensures its market leadership by keeping a close watch on worldwide trends and industry dynamics.
"5G communication is actually a very fundamental communication technology but it enables boundless applications," said Ruey-Hong Chou, chief technology officer, Technology Research Center, Auden. "Here at Technology Research Center, apart from critical 5G technologies and components, we also need to stay on top of market trends."
In addition to IoT and automotive electronics solutions, Technology Research Center is also working with a Swiss corporation to develop new-generation smart healthcare solutions.
"With antennas being used in a growingly wide variety of applications, regulations and requirements on antenna designs and overall wireless communication quality become quite different as well," noted Jia-Lun Tang, vice president, antenna business unit, Auden. "The market is showing a growing demand for customized antennas so we are providing a more refined and diverse selection of antennas in terms of designs and testing services."
Tang added that besides conventional antennas, more emphasis is being placed on the safety of medical implants. Passive sensors used in IoT devices are also among wireless communication products that receive great attention. Accordingly, Auden continues to strengthen R&D and production of wireless communication products while also gearing efforts toward a range of testing, simulation and validation instruments to ensure components and products comply with all safety regulations and user requirements.
"The need for simulation, testing and validation is growing with increasing product diversity. It's imperative that we deliver products satisfying customer needs," said Ching-I Hsu, director, Instrument and Equipment Sales, Auden. "Using these instruments, we can more accurately verify whether our antenna design and performance meet expectation. The digital simulation can also help us reduce loss and costs arising from production tests and thereby raise overall work efficiency."
For wireless communication components and their testing and validation, the most critical consideration is whether they meet user needs or design spec. It is also essential that they can go to market within the shortest possible time frame. Under such circumstances, how to communicate with customers and come up with an ideal solution becomes crucial.
"Cross-industry integration is the trend, particularly for the wireless communication sector," noted Michael Chen, vice president, A Test Lab (ATL). "Take the healthcare sector for example. Sensor development is gearing toward wireless transmission and targeting long-term care needs so when we design total solutions, we not only need to take medical regulations and requirements into consideration but we also have to enhance interoperability and expandability. This can only be achieved through cross-department and cross-industry collaborations."
Chen is of the opinion that just having good products is not enough. It is more important to form a complete industry ecosystem. By engaging collaborations across corporations and industries, we make joint efforts to bring brilliant end-to-end solutions to reality. Advanced technologies get to synergize and create optimal industry values.
"The industry ecosystem includes both information technology firms and industry-academic collaborations," noted Chen. "Academic institutions can support corporations with advanced research. The results can be implemented and commercialized by corporations, which can then fund academic institutions for further research. This is a positive cycle."
Such a positive cycle enables joint industry-wide efforts to develop better solutions while also bringing research and manufacturing together in a mutually beneficial alliance through industry-academic collaborations.
Yue-Pin Chang, chairman, Auden, emphasized that in addition to division of work in the company, Auden is also gearing up efforts toward cross-industry collaborations in hopes of building a new and competitive Taiwan team. "Aside from continuing to strengthen product R&D, the industry should combine forces to form a complete ecosystem and engage joint efforts to create total solutions of greater scale."
Li-Fung Chang pointed out, "The Taiwan high-tech industry must work as a team and jointly contribute to a promising future for the industry. MOEA will act to bring outstanding Taiwan businesses together and help them become high-tech champions of the world."
Yue-Pin Chang, chairman, Auden, and Li-Fung Chang, chief architect, 5G Technology Program Office, commented on 5G communication in the interview.
Auden and IEEE EMC Taipei Chapter co-hosted the 5G technology forum, gathering experts from the industry, government, research and academia.
Habib Bousleiman, Head of MRI Applications, ZMT (left), and Professor Niels Kuster (second from right) delivered talks at the forum hosted by Auden, gathering masterminds from home and abroad.
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