It's no secret that the mobile and wireless industry continues to push the bounds of innovation. Whether it's relatively simple but revolutionary actions like connecting smartphones to speedy networks or on-the-horizon activities like precision agriculture, the mobile and wireless sector remains a hotbed of innovation.
And it doesn't hurt that many of the innovations in the space can actually be positioned into the "for the betterment of mankind" category – something we can't necessarily say for, oh, say, the social networking sector?
Nonetheless, massive innovations like smartphones are often built on the iterative developments like those listed below. Behind every major cultural trend are thousands or millions of steps forward, whether it's new antenna technologies or fancy billing schemes.
This year, three companies have been shortlisted for "Most Innovative Mobile/Wireless Product or Service" for their efforts in this area.
The three companies in the running are:
The Leading Lights winners, and the identities of this year's Light Reading Hall of Fame inductees, will be announced online, on August 21, during a special video presentation on http://www.lightreading.com, one month before the start of the Big 5G Event.
Here's a closer look at the companies shortlisted in the Most Innovative Mobile/Wireless Product or Service category:
Amdocs – RevenueONE
Amdocs has long positioned itself as a giant – and leader – in the market for operations support system (OSS) and business support system (BSS) services. While such offerings will never earn the market glamor of 1Gbit/s connections or flashy smartphone games, they nonetheless form the backbone of operators' services – and therefore the market's momentum.
And Amdocs' RevenueONE can certainly count itself in that arena. The company said the offering supports the kind of forward-looking 5G billing options that could help supercharge the space.
Forget the "boring" billing options around usage or speed, RevenueONE supports everything from dynamic charging criteria to transparent and flexible billing experiences for customers, alongside real-time viewing. Each of those elements could give 5G providers a leg up on their competition.
Cohere previously pitched fixed wireless hardware to operators, with little success. But that all changed roughly two years ago, when the company scored a new CEO and refocused on a software-based solution to its beamforming technology for antennas.
The results have been impressive.
A recent demonstration of the company's technology by Deutsche Telekom, VMware and Intel resulted in a doubling of the operator's throughput, leading to a reduction in total costs.
Just as important, Cohere is embracing the open RAN trend, which has been gathering steam around the world. The technology promises to allow operators to mix and match technologies inside their radio networks. Thus, the open RAN trend could open the door more quickly for startups like Cohere than any revolutionary beamforming technology could on its own.
Rakuten, Intel and Altiostar Networks
Rakuten is the Japanese e-commerce giant that built a brand-new 4G network in Japan to directly challenge the market's three incumbents: Docomo, SoftBank and KDDI. The company did so in large part by eschewing traditional vendors like Ericsson and Huawei and instead developing a completely software-powered, virtualized, cloud-based network.
Basically, Rakuten threw out the traditional wireless architecture playbook in favor of one that was untested but that could reap significantly cheaper and more nimble architecture.
And though it's still early days for Rakuten and its technology partners, which have had to deal with various delays and setbacks, including in 5G, the efforts by Rakuten, Intel and Altiostar Networks nonetheless will likely pave the way for much of the rest of the industry in the future.