The conference “Connecting Tomorrow” will cover 5G, broadband and future connectivity technologies and will be taking place (physically and virtually) from the 5th to the 7th of October in Luxembourg. We discussed why this conference is key with Eric Krier from the Department of Media, Telecommunications and Digital Policy, the State Ministry’s branch that is organizing the conference.
Photo: Eric Krier / Image Credits: Kaori Anne Jolliffe / Silicon Luxembourg
The conference “Connecting Tomorrow” shows how good connectivity is important for the socioeconomic development of the country.
“There is a need for a public conference like this, and this is our third one. The first two focused mainly on 5G, because this technology was about to launch back then. We succeeded twice in having a broad exchange on the needs and the challenges of a good connectivity and such will be the case here again”, says Krier and emphasizes how important the inclusion of the needs of the civil society was from the very beginning.
These two conferences were also attended by students, freelancers, citizens, and people from NGO’s, meaning it was never a pure business conference.
“We were pleased with the outcome of both conferences. The speakers who talked about technology and future applications brought in an external view. Additionally, we managed to have workshops that were driven by the local ecosystem. The conference of his year will combine a similar balance again”, says Krier.
This year’s conference will not only focus on 5G, but also take a closer look at the update of the national broadband strategy. The Prime Minister, who is also in charge of telecommunication, is announced to present the new strategy and the priorities it will focus on.
If there is one thing that we have learned through the Covid sanitary restrictions, then it is how essential good connectivity is for our everyday life, not just for our offices, says Krier.
The telecom industry, he says, made sure that while most residents were in lock-down connectivity was at its best. And they did a great job in doing so. The private sector and government invested in a good connectivity over the last two decades — and this paid off.
“Our responsibility is to look ahead, we need to address the next challenges of our network. One bottleneck is the so-called ‘last mile’”, says Krier talking about ultra-high bandwidth. At the conference, an update of the national broadband strategy is expected.
“4G is here, 5G is being deployed, and we are looking into 6G technology. We are looking at the future of a technology that connects our society.”
In regards to the mobile connectivity, some citizens raised concerns about potential negative health effects on public health. The team of the SMC takes these concerns seriously and has been addressing them from the very beginning. The team has been working closely with the experts in the ministries of environment, health, and labor. With this enlarged circle of experts, it was possible to set up contact to researchers and scan available peer-reviewed science.
“The first antennas were mounted in the respect of all the precautionary principles. The research is behind it, and this will be discussed during the conference”, says Krier.
The government, he said, did the necessary jobs, and deployment is ready. The conference serves as a dialogue between all parties involved. “We will continue working with the most transparency possible”, Krier insists, reminding that the conference is open to everybody, and says “we care very much that the industry is “in sync” with the society.”
Some of the projects they are supporting, explains Krier, are at hospitals, in order to see what kind of connectivity between doctors and hospitals can be established so that the patients can have shorter stays in the hospitals.
“The patient can get back home much earlier, which is ideal for his well-being. And at the same time, the capacity of free beds in hospital gets increased. This is all about mobility. It’s a joint cooperation between the medical community and the telecom engineers”, says Krier about the fascinating new market that will serve the citizen. 5G is the next step we need in this technological “boom” and need for connectivity. “The conference will focus on this, but also on broadband connectivity”, says Krier.
Connectivity also needs to grow with the needs of society. There is talk now of alternatives to 5G — such as communication through light (light being a wave and a particle). “Your lights at home and lights in the street are being considered as a communication devices by LiFi-based startups — which could provide further communication opportunities, all through the emission of light waves”, he explains saying “the technology might have a lot of potential”. This will be another part of the conference, meaning the future “will be discussed here at the conference”.
No less futuristic will be the discussions on 6G, especially as experts will talk about the role of a small country as Luxembourg in this development. Luxembourg, for instance, produces certain copper hardware components without which we cannot build today’s mobile phones.
“4G is here, 5G is being deployed, and we are looking into 6G technology. We are looking at the future of a technology that connects our society”, says Krier who claims the speakers at the conference will bring new topics to the table, while the conference’s workshops will provide opportunities to all those interested, professionals or society.
The conference will be organized with physical attendance under the conditions of a CovidCheck event. Since the conference is organized in a hybrid way, a virtual attendance is possible too. Registration to conference and workshops is available via connecting-tomorrow.lu.