In Conversation with Samsung Electronics America, Inc.
|Aired:||June 7, 2023|
In this episode, Amresh Singh, Director of Business Partnerships for Samsung Electronics America, talks about the potential of mmWave technology to satisfy demand in North America, why 5G Open RAN products that provide data-driven, intelligent optimization of the RAN at the user level are important, and how their Mission-Critical-Push-to-X (MCPTX) products support public safety operations in Korea and in the United States.
00:10 | Ajit Kahaduwe
Good afternoon everyone. We are pleased to welcome you to another edition of Open Dialog: Wavelengths, our monthly video series, which is dedicated to promoting cutting edge projects, which Open Generation members are leading to advance 5G innovation for public good. Today we're joined by Amresh Singh, director of business partnerships for Samsung Electronics America, where he's responsible for fostering effective and impactful partnerships with companies to help Samsung's North American networks business meet its strategic goals. Amresh joined Samsung in 2019, and he has more than 15 years of experience working in strategy, technical marketing, and product management as well as wireless system design. Working in some really cool companies like Apple and Intel and Qualcomm which are fundamental to the wireless business and the growth of it over the years. He also brings a wealth of knowledge to Samsung, which helped bring it Samsung into Open Generation and 2022 as a new core member. So welcome to Open Dialog, Amresh. Thank you for agreeing to talk to us about Samsung's strategy to advance wireless innovation in North America and how you believe that partnering within the Open Generation consortium with all of its members can help you reach your goals.
01:29 | Amresh Singh
I'm very glad to be here Ajit, thanks for the MITRE Open Gen team for inviting me for this conversation. I believe Samsung can achieve a lot, gain a lot, by joining MITRE Open Gen and we can work looking forward for a collaborative work together for coming years.
01:47 | Ajit Kahaduwe
Yeah, it's great. We've really enjoyed having you. And also having you even be able to, some of your team members have attended some of our face-to-face events as well, including when we had the launch of our air range at NUAIR back in October. Really exciting times to actually see 5G drones. I'd like to start something separately from drones, which we seem to talk a lot about in Open Generation and focus first in on millimeter wave because it's a really interesting area that is driven by 5G and depends on 5G as opposed to some of the other things we do within the technology. And Samsung has been a clear pioneering company to get mobile communications on millimeter wave spectrum and the bands. And you've been working for more than, I think a decade, at Samsung on how, through the research parts of Samsung, enable mobile communications millimeter wave, which has resulted in a very interesting and broad portfolio of products. So, can you take us behind the curtain a bit? And what was the rationale behind the strategy because I think a lot of other companies were more reluctant into embracing millimeter wave. So there are a multitude
03:01 | Amresh Singh
So there are a multitude of reasons why I think Samsung invested early in the millimeter wave technological advancement. First of all, Samsung truly believes that 5G needs to be enable for both, for all the three bands basically low mid, mid and high bands. And for low and mid bands. I think it's kind of business as usual, although there are some technological advancements there like massive MIMO but for millimeter wave, Samsung thought that that needs to be a lot of work he needs to be done to for example, in the case of length budget for millimeter wave. So, that was the first reason why we wanted to research on the millimeter wave and come up with products earlier than incumbents. So, again, as a challenger in the U.S. market, I mean, we have been in the industry on the infrastructure side for a long time, especially starting in Korea, but in the U.S. market, we are still perceived as a challenger, right. So, it was it was essential for us to find out the gaps on what our operator requirements, what the operators are requiring tier ones in U.S. versus what incumbent vendors are offering. And we thought that with millimeter wave Samsung can come up with a differentiation in strategy in comparison to the incumbent vendors, and that will provide us the unique advantage in that space. And the third primary reason why we chose millimeter wave is that, well, if you look at advancement of 5G, I think it opens up 11 gigahertz of millimeter wave spectrum I refer to a spectrum and without utilizing that spectrum, I think we cannot achieve the full potential of 5G. Well, Samsung has done, as you said, a lot of work in the millimeter wave side. We have commercially demonstrated around eight Gbps of downlink throughput and millimeter wave. We have demonstrated use cases like fixed wireless access as well. And I think we are the only vendor here which has launched commercially launched millimeter wave products for both outdoor, macro as well as indoor. So these are the key reasons why Samsung wanted to invest a lot technologically as well, as well as monetary wise, in millimeter wave spectrum.
05:13 | Ajit Kahaduwe
Yeah, I think it's clear I mean, the over the last 40 years, we have continued to go up in band right in spectrum as we can get more bandwidth allocated and thinking back to the old days of having an 800 900 megahertz then the 1800 1900 band depending on whether you're in the U.S. or in Europe, or Asia, and then going to 2.1 and then keep going up. And each one, each band has brought its own impacts on the length budgets, on coverage, the use cases, millimeter wave is truly the the biggest jump, right and how it will impact how deployment will occur and also the benefit to the user. So, when you were looking at the opportunity for millimeter wave, tell me about, specific to the North American market, what do you believe the opportunity is for the use of millimeter wave?
06:04 | Amresh Singh
I think Verizon has publicly stated, Ajit, that they have deployed around 30,000 sites for millimeter wave in the U.S.. If you look at other tier one operators as well in the U.S., if you look at the spectrum, they have for millimeter wave, on an average Verizon has around 1800 megahertz of spectrum, average on millimeter wave to bank, T Mobile is around 1200 megahertz, right, and AT&T has around 1000. And the new incumbent dish has around 600 megahertz of spectrum in the millimeter wave. So you can see there is quite a bit of spectrum which is owned by tier one operators in U.S. and they have spent billions of dollars, right, acquiring that spectrum. So there is onus on them that to recuperate the investments they have done, obviously, they will deploy products on the millimeter band spectrum. Additionally, I believe that right now, although most of the deployments are happening on 5G are happening in mid and low bands, however we increasing capacity requirements, I think in especially in dense urban areas, it will be essential to augment the existing sub sub six 5G bandwidth with millimeter wave deployments as well. So I believe the North America market, U.S. market, as well as other markets will have definitely data requirement for millimeter wave as the capacity requirements increase.
07:35 | Ajit Kahaduwe
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I mean, obviously, urban areas where we have population density, as well as the need for a lot of bandwidth makes more sense, especially looking, taking a couple millimeters waves propagation characteristics versus rural areas, but still even rural there, there is opportunity for FWA right depending on the distance, since there already have been a lot of deployments. So, what needs to be tested now like obviously, Open Generation has its own testing lab capabilities in the outdoor environments, but to commercial really commercialized spectrum, what else can we do to accelerate 5G on millimeter wave?
08:13 | Amresh Singh
Sure, I think first and foremost, Samsung does believe that the testing which we do with the MITRE Open Gen labs has to be pretty closely aligned with the commercial needs of the future. So, keeping that in mind, I think operators are talking about use cases like fixed wireless access, as you mentioned, and that's one of them and there has been tier one operator in U.S.. I mean, there is an RFI for home internet solutions right. So that requires millimeter wave as well. There are other use cases like Smart Cities, smart transportation, you know, smart agriculture and other standalone 5G standalone use cases as well which require millimeter wave spectrum because there are some high capacity requirements there. In addition, I as I mentioned previously, I think millimeter wave has its link budget challenges, but there are technological advancements there were I think some of the infrastructure vendors including Samsung has demonstrated higher link budget at mystics of millimeter wave where we can achieve better performance. So, in especially in dense urban areas around like town, you know, downtowns where there are very high capacity requirements, it will become essential to you know, augments sub six capacity with millimeter wave. So, there is still scope of link budget improvements in millimeter wave. We do believe, and I think we should channel our efforts in MITRE labs with the help of MITRE Open Gen labs to increase the link budget of millimeter wave as well. In addition to the use cases I have already mentioned,
09:50 | Ajit Kahaduwe
I missed you mentioned earlier about a millimeter wave that Samsung has developed both indoor and outdoor products. So we've covered the outdoor and some of the challenges there are. So what are you doing on indoor? What's the use cases you see with the indoor millimeter wave?
10:06 | Amresh Singh
I think indoor is mostly, you know, to the out, I mean outdoor transmission from the base station to the CPE. And indoor indoor propagation. The use cases mainly are on the enterprise verticals at this point of time. We're mostly in the B2B industrial side. So in the manufacturing sites, as well as AP, there's high capacity indoor security requirements with cameras, those use cases are predominantly very popular for millimeter wave, which are not actually kind of achievable by through the traditional sub six spectrum, especially on the manufacturing front, I think, because of the low latency characteristic of millimeter wave. There are certain algorithms in manufacturing plants or facilities, which require very, very, very low latency. And that can only be achieved for millimeter wave. I think there's a lot of effort going on in that front. And I believe, sooner or later we will see deployment in that respect.
11:06 | Ajit Kahaduwe
Okay, yeah, I think those are really good points about both the indoor and the outdoor I mean, latency is obviously a very important aspect of these industrial control systems. And, obviously, on the outdoor side, the bandwidth and the capability of even in close proximity use cases where you need to have a lot of bandwidth on demand, or to support a lot of devices or people in the areas as a, as a real use case for millimeter wave versus using any of the low bands. I'd like to move on and talk about something the industry has been going back and forth for a long time, which is O-RAN. We've been working for years about different types of openness, O-RAN is the latest iteration and the most complete. And I know that you recently secured an open ran equipment deal with DISH wireless, to provide both radios and a V-RAN solution. And I know from all the public statements that dishes made, as well as some of the conferences that are out there really putting O-RAN at the center of their strategy about moving into both V-RANs, and using O-RAN at the same time. And if I got my numbers right from the research team that in February, Samsung announced an initial shipment of about 24,000 O-RAN radios. And you'll be in dishes network at these V-RAN sites. So lots of questions I got around this. So first question is, given the complexity of this new ecosystem, because it already V-RAN is also new, are you able to actually interoperate and work with other component manufacturers or vendor gear in the O-RAN ecosystem?
12:46 | Amresh Singh
I think first of all, let me set the stage by saying that Samsung is by far a global leader in O-RAN space, in terms of market share. On top of that, it's the only infrastructure vendor, which is deployed commercially, O-RAN, O-RAN based V-RAN solutions in all the three continents, U.S., Americas region, Europe, as well as Asia. And when we talk about O-RAN more and more, and it's fair to say it's not still a really plug and play solution. So there needs to be a lot of effort which needs to be put by infrastructure vendors and partners to interoperate between different equipments from different vendors. Obviously, Samsung has all the components of the network infrastructure. So for operators, I think initially, when they want to deploy an O-RAN system, I think it's easier for them to look towards Samsung, because we have done deployments as well as we are ahead of the our competitors in this space. But it also gives them a choice longer term to switch to a different vendor, either on the radio or the baseband side, when they want to write but the easier transition would be to use one vendor for both write the full end to end structure and then maybe switch to a different vendor later on in the game. And now I'll I think elaborate a little bit more on what we have done on the O-RAN/V-RAN space. As you as you already know that on the U.S./North America side, we have probably the biggest deal with Verizon, V-RAN macro network. It's a $7 billion deal for four years, right. And we are in active deployment of the V-RAN architecture solution for macro solution for Verizon at this point of time. You mentioned dish, dish is a special network. It's a greenfield network, right. We have won the O-RAN/V-RAN deployments for dish. We are they have some aggressive milestones. So, we are working very closely with them for the deployment or deployment O-RAN/V-RAN solution from Samsung. In addition to U.S., we have, I think it's good to say that we, we have increased our market share. So with O-RAN in Europe, we have, I think our partner with Vodafone. So we have started deploying our O-RAN solutions with Vodafone. We did our first demo in January 2022 with Vodafone and did our commercial deployment in December 2022 first commercial, which is called a kind of it's coined a term called cold and cluster of Vodafone in UK. And we are in continuous talks with Vodafone for other countries as well, like Germany and Spain, where they are also looking for virtualized architecture solutions, right. In addition to these two, I think we have done a significant amount of work, I would say technologically, in Japan, with, NTT, Docomo, and KDDI. As an example, we have a, you mentioned about multiple vendors for O-RAN. So as an example, we I think we are the only vendor if I'm not wrong, which has as I think, achieve interoperability with our report and based around baseband unit, with a third-party radio, using KDDI, 5g standalone network. So we are open to that. However, as I said, it's not so plug and play. So it becomes easier for operators to go with a one vendor initially. And later on, it gives them flexibility to choose a different vendor when it matures and becomes more stable.
16:30 | Ajit Kahaduwe
I think this is part of the natural learning curve that operators and vendors have to go through refine or operability and testing we've, we've obviously in the cellular networks have had a lot of openness and interconnectivity, right. But as we further go further into the interfaces, then there's more challenges because we're getting closer and closer to the heart of different algorithms and processors. So you run into problems you may not have perceived before, right that has that only real field deployments within an operating environment, can you even understand versus being in a lab, you can test a lot of things in a lab, but it doesn't really take into account distance and latency and different kinds of interoperability questions that the real world brings. So, thinking about that, when we look at the O-RAN paradigm and its specification about open architecture, with abstractions that enable this closed loop control, but it's also data driven. And it's supposed to be intelligent optimization, right? For of the RAN for what for the user benefits? So, can you kind of talk about that and how Samsung is approaching taking the benefits of what Open RAN brings?
17:46 | Amresh Singh
If so, if I understand, Ajit, your question correctly, I think you're talking about an open architecture based RAN optimization framework. At a user level, which uses a closed loop feedback mechanism. I think this, this comes under the topic of what we call as RIC, right? With data, which uses a data driven approach, right for non-real time, which are called using apps called X-apps. It's near real time, near real time apps called I think it's called R-apps if I'm not wrong. So, for this mechanism, I think what an operator can do either they can you know, use a in house development, or use Samsung or a third party vendor to develop X-app or R-apps, which can really help them optimize the RAM at a user level with a data driven approach using dynamic data coming from the line network, providing you know different kinds of KPIs like service assurance and better mobility etc. So, that is possible. Give you an example actually, Samsung has already demonstrated a service assurance through RIC actually and develop the RIC for service assurance for KDDI. 5G standalone network we have already commercially deployed that and demonstrated that with KDDI so there is a scope for operators definitely to further optimize around using RIC. And either they can use a Samsung I mean we have done we have a lot of experience in RIC. We have developed their own in house rake. We have developed the X app and RF so that as well. So they can either use us they can have in house development or they can use a third party solution. But there is a scope for improvement. Definitely. Yeah,
19:37 | Ajit Kahaduwe
For as you know, with Open Generation being a collaborative with a lot of different companies including Samsung, Nokia, Ericsson, Qualcomm and Verizon, just to name a few, there's an opportunity I think, with the RIC and the O-RAN to build a marketplace around testing and validating X-apps for enterprise and developer use cases? So, from Samsung's perspective, what do you think is going to make this marketplace of X apps and AR apps come to fruition?
20:16 | Amresh Singh
So I think we'd have to collaborate collectively within MITRE Open Gen, right? And there is a scope where we can develop custom X apps and R apps for different use cases. And different KPI requirements MITRE Open Gen labs. I think, once we have active discussion between different parties, within MITRE Open Gen on this topic, I think we can we can develop some definitely use cases or you know, solutions, which can be commercially deployed by operators.
20:46 | Ajit Kahaduwe
Yeah, I agree. It'd be great to get a broader ecosystem of individuals and companies involved like students in school to small to medium businesses that can be connected to actual industry use cases, right? So that they can understand the problem and figure out together with all of us what, how to best build the app and to test it and validate the results. Yeah, it's an exciting time, because as the work you're doing with the operators to actually deploy O-RANs, it then opens up the next thing, which is, what the O-RAN network, how do we customize it for different use cases. So I think the next five years will be really fascinating what happens if we can enable those developers to get into these networks, I'd like to move on to a topic that's close to my heart, because I've worked a lot in public safety early in my career. And mission critical communications is a really important topic as a result of FirstNet. And having the first nationwide public safety system that helps us get past all the individual systems that we realized when 911 happened, didn't work. And we needed an ability for first responders to be able to talk together. I know that Samsung has partnered with AT&T to develop the FirstNet ecosystem. And you've been working on a highly secure platform for public safety on the 700 megahertz band, which is where the FirstNet frequencies are. So as part of this project, I think you developed, at Samsung, a dozen FirstNet mission critical Push to Talk mobile devices. And that enables the first responders for the first time since one they have maybe dedicated devices to be able to do voice, text, images, video. So can you tell me about something about the technology and how theover-the-top p protocols work versus the traditional legacy Push to Talk systems that public safety has been using for I don't know 20 plus years?
22:57 | Amresh Singh
Yeah, so there are some distinct differences. I think that we've been mission critical push to talk and push to talk over cellular right ttoc MCPD T is more of a standard based standard base, protocol and standard which adheres to a broader ecosystem than PTTOC. In addition, actually MC PTX provides the kinds of guaranteed SLA for a particular call. SLA can be actually assigned to each call separately. It can be one-to-one or one-to-many kinds of call, whereas PTTOC is definitely is only a best effort kind of service. So, for applications where data center or call center has says to call to police or public safety agencies like police, fire, fire safety, as well as some health emergency, then it definitely needs a definite SLA and criticality which only MCP TT can provide not PTTOC. So these are the distinct differences between the two approaches. As you mentioned, I think not only with AT&T we started, we deployed nationwide public safety network in Korea, for the tier one operators and which cause I think one call center can make it actually connected with 300 agencies in Korea at one time to provide mission critical communication there and that network actually can inter work with existing LT maritime or LT healthcare or LT railway networks as well. LTPs railway networks as well. So it's it was first deployed Korea then obviously you mentioned about at end, we have a AT&T nationwide FirstNet coverage on 700 megahertz band. Again, just to give you some data it can connect with again 300 digital agencies. It can support up to 2,500 devices per cell for MCP TX MC PTT, we call it NCPT, etc. and we have a look around a dozen devices which can support commercially available devices which can support this protocol. So there is a great advancements which we have already done on MC PTT front. Now, that's what I think, tier one macrooperators, and I think they're great platforms to, you know, apply this protocol, because they are proven as well as a nationwide coverage rate. We cannot use any other platform to use this kind of application because it's there are lives at stake most in most of the cases, right? So we have to use a framework or an operator coverage to use this protocol.
25:49 | Ajit Kahaduwe
These may be the hardest acronyms to actually say up without tongue tied between MCPTX, PTTOC, and MCPTT, it's doesn't roll off your tongue? Yeah, yeah. And of course, serious note is, these are really important, obviously, because of the public safety use case that the protocols and the guaranteed data transmission is really a key cornerstone of any technology development and ensuring that works, which requires not just a good network, but good system operation, as well as network equipment and protocols. So let me, let's take it up a little bit of a level. Why do you think 3GPP compliant nation? Why public safety networks working with the operators is really as the gold standard? I think you jumped into a little bit about the coverage. But what more does this compliance with the standards really bring to public safety?
26:57 | Amresh Singh
Yeah, I think it's really essential to have a standard protocol based, you know, development and deployment for this kind, because it's very critical network. As I said, it’s lives at stake, right. So, if it's 3GPP is obviously it's a standard protocol across the globe, right, and everybody is adhering to that protocol, which actually ensures that, ensures that there is definite kind of, you know, implementation, which adheres to same kinds of rules and checks and balances. Because if we have fragmentation in this, this this technology, then it brings up additional risk, right. So, every vendor, you know, developer can develop its own version. And then when it comes to interworking, it will not work. So, it's essential that 3GPP base first of all, standard. And second, second is you talked about why the operators rate obviously, as I mentioned, I think it was based on before in the earlier question is that operators have proven long time that they have a robust nationwide coverage. If we don't deploy this protocol on the operator spectrum, then it definitely will not have a nationwide coverage and it will actually have gaps in the network, which will not ensure that every nooks and corners is reaching and obviously that will have detrimental effect on on public safety. So I think these two points are really essential that we should have a standard based MCPTT network running on an operator ecosystem operator.
28:36 | Ajit Kahaduwe
Right, good network, good coverage, resilience, as well as interoperability because, because of the protocol. if we think beyond the government and the requirements around the public safety areas, what other verticals? Could we take the same technology and use it for critical communications? What do you see maybe in the private sector that we could reapply the technology to?
29:04 | Amresh Singh
Well, I think there's a lot of scope as a matter of fact, Samsung is developing the, I think, having developing a lower footprint MCPTT protocol that took a lot of different other enterprise critical enterprise verticals. So, for example, MCPTT can be very useful in utilities, sector utilities, enterprise vertical mining, oil and gas, because there are definitely use cases which require very critical communication between the different workers as well as from the command center to the worker, right. It can definitely it can it can be definitely useful in verticals like events, you know, large scale events and venues right. And, as you know, that we recently had a very tragic incident in Allen, Texas, I think, in these scenarios as this kind of MCPTT network can play a very critical role actually in communicating to or broadcasting or communicating to different workers as well as police and other sections of enterprise verticals. So I think there are a multitude of uses of MCPTT, not only the nationwide network based macro, but these are the other verticals where utilities like railways, menus, oil and gas mining, which can definitely use MCPTT protocol.
30:28 | Ajit Kahaduwe
Yeah, that's Yeah, I agree. That's, there's a lot of scope one, as this ecosystem keeps building, then more and more verticals can take advantage of the devices and expand the ecosystem even more. I want to thank you so much for spending time with us today. We covered a lot of ground, we covered open ran millimeter wave mission critical communications, all around how 5g enables all these different use cases and capabilities to come together. In closing, I'd like for you to, you know, take some time and just talk a little bit about why you're in Open Gen and what are the maybe there's some things we didn't talk about today that you'd like to bring up.
31:11 | Amresh Singh
Sure, with MITRE Open Gen Consortium, I think what we are looking is obviously help to reach out to different federal customers, as well as non-federal customers as well. I think Samsung will definitely benefit from them, because we don't as you know, we don't have a broader Sales Team covering those verticals. Right. That's one advantage. Definitely, we can leverage. MITRE has a, correct, correct me if I'm wrong, Ajit, seven labs, right, test labs in U.S., we can definitely leverage those labs to, you know, test different use cases, which is, which we spoke about earlier. So that's the second advantage, advantage we're looking at. And the third is on the area of millimeter wave definitely. Like the use case, which we are running in NUAIR, which requires millimeter wave spectrum as well for U.S. maybe we can use Samsung equipment to test and validate that use case in those test beds, which can open up demand for millimeter wave further. So these are the three main things which we are looking at. In addition, I think we introduce you to Harman International is a Samsung company as well. Harman has a pretty good portfolio of commercially deployed enterprise application software across U.S. as well as rest of the world. For use cases, like smart cities, smart agricultural, smart lighting, smart transportation, we can definitely use Harman use cases, right, Harman software, to test in your labs as well as commercialize them through your reach to the operators as well as end customers. So, so these are the multitude of reasons which we are looking at, we will benefit. And obviously, we can benefit each other working through different technology technologies, as we discussed today. And, you know, looking forward to working with MITRE Open Gen in the future for different use cases in the labs as well in the commercial economics.
33:21 | Ajit Kahaduwe
Well, thanks, Amresh, that's a great list of things for us to work together on. It's been really nice to have Samsung within the consortium and helping us along the way with the work at NUAIR with the 5G aviation to thinking through what we would do in smart cities and other applications. Because the nice thing about Samsung is you have the you have the network's business, you have devices you have software, there's so many capabilities that helped to build an ecosystem to do it, experiment and validate it in the in the real world. So, it's it's really great to have a company with that kind of capability within the consortium and complementing all of our other members as well because each company brings its own unique capabilities to the use cases we're exploring together. So, I'd like to thank you again for joining us and for our listeners I’m Ajit Kahudawe. Thank you for joining us for this latest edition of Open Dialog: Wavelengths and we look forward to seeing you at our next one.