Sony Investigating 5G: Wait, What, Sony?

You might think of Sony as purely an innovator in consumer electronics and gaming, but soon you may need to add 5G wireless technology to that list.

Yep. Like Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), Facebook and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) is gearing up for 5G. The company is currently advertising for a Sr Applied Research Engineer - Wireless Technology at its US research center in San Jose, Calif. (See Apple Quietly Hiring for 5G?, Google Searching for 5G Wireless Engineer and Facebook Debuts Terragraph & ARIES to Extend Wireless.)

The LinkedIn listing calls for:

    Experience on millimeter wave technologies, sensor device technologies, distributed networking technologies, wireless LAN systems, or wireless PAN [personal area network, e.g. wearable] systems, with excellent research record is preferred.

5G is the fifth-generation wireless specification that is expected to deliver data speeds up to 100 times faster than today's 4G networks. Work on a 5G specification is just heating up, but millimeter wave radio is expected to be a foundation for the new wireless tech. (See 5G: As Close as You'll Get to a Jet Pack!)

So why is Sony looking for a research engineer who can work with the building blocks of 5G? Helpfully, the company has given us hints in a downloadable presentation for the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) , the industry group that is setting out the 5G specification.

Sony's "5G Vision" includes an intelligent "kinetic network" that "moves" to keep the user online and a "universal connection" with "seamless roaming." The networking requirements have some bearing on hardware that the company might actually make as well, though.

Sony concepts include an ultra-narrowband "Subconscious Lifelog," a wearable that tracks user activity for a couple of weeks without needing a charge, as well as a "super-wideband" (6GHz-100GHz) "Immersive" virtual reality helmet that needs very low latency to work its magic.

Ideas such as the Immersive helmet that need constant high bit-rates, massive bandwidth and very low latency really call for the centimeter and millimetre radio technologies to make them a reality. (See 60GHz: A Frequency to Watch for more on that.)

At any rate, just as Sony has delved more into mobile with smartphones in recent years, it seems we can expect them to be an active player in 5G evolution.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

DanJones 4/20/2016 | 3:53:35 PM
Re: I'll be the 1st to admit... Read the Sony concept paper, they do exactly the same. Clearly, Sony isn't going to be using mmWaves for IoT. The 5G interface is supposed to support IoT though.
t.bogataj 4/20/2016 | 3:08:39 PM
Re: I'll be the 1st to admit... Seriously! you should know better, Dan.

It's painful (for a reader) to see an LR editor mixing IoT with mm waves.

In terms of 5G and wireless stuff, talking about mm waves is fine. But IoT! I expect LR editors -- of all people -- to distinguish an underlying transport! technology (5G) from IoT. IoT is at the top of the foodchain, and does not care whether it is fed by 3G, 5G, 7G, fixed broadband, or postal pidgeons.


Ceterum censeo -- gray on gray sucks.
DanJones 4/19/2016 | 11:08:10 PM
Re: I'll be the 1st to admit... IoT might not use millimeter but Sony sure wants it for the VR stuff.
TV Monitor 4/19/2016 | 5:03:21 PM
Re: I'll be the 1st to admit... KBode

IoT does not use mmwave, it uses narrowband low-band channels.

This is why IoT centric China and Europe are shunning mmwave 5G, while it is bandwidth starved Koreans who are going Gung Ho on mmwave 5G and have the mmwave 5G ready for commercial service even before competitors have rival system ready for alpha trials.
DanJones 4/19/2016 | 4:35:32 PM
Re: I'll be the 1st to admit... There's a lot of companies out there hiring for sure!
KBode 4/19/2016 | 4:20:40 PM
Re: I'll be the 1st to admit... So Starry, Facebook, Google, Sony....any companies left that aren't dipping their big toe into the millimeter wave technology pool?
TV Monitor 4/18/2016 | 5:03:52 PM
Re: I'll be the 1st to admit... DanJones

"Absolutely no mention of smartphones"

Sony CEO Hirai gave the end of 2016 as the deadline by which Sony Mobile must turn a profit or he would close the division down. Looking at the current P&L projection Sony Mobile will be either sold or spun off, at which point it becomes an OEM importer of Chinese phones like Panasonic.

With Sharp already sold to Foxconn, Japan would have no smartphone maker left since future Sharp phones would be rebadged Foxconn phones(Yes, Foxconn does have its own phone business). This is the reason why Japanese has not entered the 5G format war like Chinese and Koreans have, because there is no Japanese industrial champion left to push a "Japanese 5G" format.

However, Japanese companies can still compete in IoT, especially Industrial IoT.
DanJones 4/18/2016 | 3:43:32 PM
Re: I'll be the 1st to admit... Absolutely no mention of smartphones I could find in the concept document, all IoT or VR all the time.
TV Monitor 4/18/2016 | 2:29:23 PM
Re: I'll be the 1st to admit... Sony's electronic gadgets depend on IoT, even if you presume that Sony Mobile may not survive past the end of 2016. That's why.
DanJones 4/18/2016 | 12:08:55 PM
I'll be the 1st to admit... A Subconscious Lifelog seems a little creepy.
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