Tech World: Russian ads on Facebook, bitcoin’s price rise and more

Welcome to Tech World, your quick roundup
of some of the top technology news stories from across the globe. This month, we bring you the latest on the
Russian-purchased ads on Facebook, bitcoin’s price rise and more. For this episode’s Hot Topic interview,
we spoke to Adrian Baschnonga at EY about 5G and its implications
for future tech. First though, here are your top international
stories. UK MPs have told Facebook to hand over evidence
of Russian meddling in British politics. The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee
has demanded that the US tech giant release adverts and pages linked to Russia in the
build up to last year’s Brexit referendum and June’s snap general election. The news comes after Facebook said that fake
accounts linked to the Kremlin had purchased more than $100,000 worth of politically infused
ads. Bitcoin has been making headlines again this
month, after it reached a new high, surpassing the $6,000 mark on 20th October. As always, speculation around the digital
currency’s rise in price has been rife, with many pointing to the potential benefits
of holding bitcoin ahead of an upcoming hard fork due to happen this month. In other news, US ride-hailing firm Lyft announced
a $1bn investment from a Google-led consortium. The round was led by CapitalG, formerly known
as Google Capital, and took Lyft’s valuation to $11bn in what is being described as a major
challenge to Uber in the US. SoftBank caught everyone’s attention again
this month following reports that it was seeking to raise a bigger investment fund. The firm, which has already raised $93bn,
is believed to be in early-stage discussions to raise more cash as it amps up its efforts
to invest in technology across the globe. Twitter landed in hot water after it suspended
actress Rose McGowan’s account. The actress, one of the accusers of disgraced
film producer Harvey Weinstein, had her account temporarily taken down following a flurry
of tweets about various people involved in the scandal. Some commentators suggested the account had
been taken down to silence the actress, but Twitter has instead said it was due to one
post, which included a private phone number and as such, violated Twitter’s terms of
service. That’s it for our top global tech news roundup,
but keep watching to see this episode’s Hot Topics interview. We spoke with Adrian Baschonga at EY about
5G and its implications for future tech. Hi Adrian, so you are the global lead telecom
analyst at EY. To start us off, can you tell us a little bit more about what your job entails,
please? That’s right, yes, so, basically I am responsible
for the firm’s thought leadership output in the sector. I conduct a lot of our consumer
research and also our industry research focused on telecoms operators and from that we get
a lot of insights about what customers are feeling and the direction the industry is
heading in. So, in that case you are probably best placed
to talk about what kind of innovation 5G will deliver Absolutely, 5G is really a paradigm shift
for the mobile industry. So, it really signals a step change. If we think about 2G, for example,
that was all about digital voice. With 3G we had data communications, with 4G we had
true mobile broadband. If we look ahead to 5G it’s all about unlocking the Internet of
Things and critically the difference between it and previous generations is the capacity
for low latency communications. So, ultra-reliable responsive communications. When we think what
kinds of services this can unlock, it can be anything from autonomous driving to remote
surgery to frictionless logistics, for example. So, the opportunity is very wide for 5G. It’s
well beyond the traditional consumer market, for example. And if we think about when it’s
going to happen, 2020 is really seen as the launch year for 5G, partly because standards
haven’t yet been finalised. That’s an interesting point. So, what is the
operator take on 5G and how ready are they? Sure, in terms of operator readiness, we conducted
a survey this year and we found that 77% of operators think that 5G will have the greatest
impact on the industry. There are lot of high hopes behind it. When you drill into what
operators are actually doing, they are taking a varied approach. Some operators in the States,
for example, are looking at the role that 5G can take for rural broadband communities.
Most operators are figuring out how 5G can play a role in the Internet of Things and
they are also thinking about this step-change in terms of mobile broadband, in terms of
3G video or augmented reality. But when it comes to actual deployments, commercial availability
isn’t slated for 2020 so right now we are seeing a lot of trials. So, you’ve mentioned a lot of interesting
use cases, but what are the opportunities for startups here in the UK? Yes, the deployment of 5G will be really reliant
on partnerships. So if you’re an operator, for example, you already have partnerships
with the developer community, also IT companies, also other industry verticals, all of those
will become more pronounced in the age of 5G because nobody really has end-to-end ownership
of the customer. So, if you are looking at the application developer community, you are
thinking about how can specific applications be created for specific industries, that’s
one area. But even on the technology side, when you look at millimeter wave technology,
startups could play a very active role in that space, too. And to finish off, what enablers need to be
in place for 5G to succeed? There is a number of things that need to happen
for 5G to become a success. First off, the technology needs to be standardised. That’s
going to happen in two phases: one from the end of this year and the next phase in 2019.
Secondly, you need a lot of spectrum to come on to the market to support the roll-out, deployment
of 5G services. And again, there’s a few decisions that regulators need to make in terms of the
auction frameworks and how they stagger the release of these different frequency bands.
And finally, you know, government needs to play a vital supporting role here. As I’ve
already mentioned, you know, the industry impact for 5G is huge and the opportunity
to re-define different industry verticals is substantial.So, government support in terms
of supporting the trial of 5G services is critical, also down to the local authority
level in terms of overhauling planning policies. There are all areas where public sector support
is vital. Definitely a lot of food for thought there.
Thank you very much for your time Adrian. Thank you. That’s all for this episode. To get more
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