Interview with Frédéric Gérard, of Bouygues Télécom Entreprises
My name is Frédéric Gérard, and I am the director of the Smart X 5G accelerator from the Bouygues Group. This accelerator is something that the Bouygues Group has launched in the context of 5G, to address all the huge strides in new solutions that 5G will facilitate. It’s called Smart X because it is aimed at smart cities, smart buildings, smart building sites; areas in which the Bouygues Group is already active, and which will not only be Group-centred but also open to external partnerships.
SSC: Is mobility a source of business?
FG: Mobility, yes! It will be a source of business in the future. You can see this with “Uber”, that mobility is becoming more autonomous, connected and shared. And this is because with 5G we will be capable of remotely controlling connected autonomous vehicles, in the cases where they are not totally independent. This will allow different ways of using a vehicle to be created, for transporting people as well as goods. Mobility will become a huge issue in the years to come, with major transformations thanks to 5G.
SSC: How are we going to integrate Artificial Intelligence into the mobility of the future?
FG: Firstly, 5G mobility means better bandwidths, shorter latency periods, and applications that better meet people’s needs, because our network will have the technology to get closer to clients. It means that Artificial Intelligence, which uses a lot of calculation resources, can be stored on the cloud and used in mobile apps, with a latency period sufficiently short that the interface is lively and dynamic; this is something that clients will really appreciate.
SSC: If we are moving towards hyper-mobility, is there not a security issue there? How can we treat data and personal security within the concept of mobility?
FG: Security is always a very important issue, of which the operators are very much aware. They are also subject to strict controls. I believe that in Europe we are lucky to have a clear regulatory system concerning safety and the security of telecommunications infrastructures.
5G promises to be even safer, as it will have even stronger intrinsic security measures, on identity management, on the programmes that it will run, on the safety of communications, and even on personal data management. And when we are not in 5G, when we are using apps, we have a regulatory system that is sufficiently clear in the context of RGPD; we know what we can and can’t do. I believe, then, that we will have a framework clear enough to all players. 5G will also have virtualized network equipment, and within this context there is an agency in France called the ANSSI, which certifies all these network tools. All the market players will be mobilized to ensure success on the security front.
SSC: Will this not be a curb on innovation?
FG: Innovation under 5G will be important enough. It will happen in B to B, it will happen in industry. Where there are crucial processes in industry, a lack of security would in the end mean that those processes could not take place. I believe on the contrary that security will allow us to move into areas of innovation in industry that would not otherwise be possible.
SSC: Looking to the future, what would be the tool that might tomorrow make you more mobile?
FG: I believe that augmented reality will be an even more mobile tool in the future. Why? Because there are lots of times when a worker needs to use his hands whilst on the job, at the same time needing information. With augmented reality we can bring him that information and leave his hands free. A 5G virtual reality helmet would really be an interesting advance in terms of its capacity to deliver mobility and new uses.
SSC: What would be your wish, your dream, for 2- or 3-years’ time?
FG: 5G will foster the development of connected autonomous vehicles. Personally, I would love to be able to take an autonomous connected drone and travel like that, flying over Paris from one point to another. It would get me there quicker and I could enjoy the view which is always incredible! I really hope we can manage to develop this technology, which in my mind will be a question of finding the right battery rather than a connectivity issue, because 5G will be there ready and waiting. I am relying on battery manufacturers to help us live this amazing experience! The technology is in place, the drones are ready, the telecommunications are ready. I know that Intel has demonstrated that for the coordination of drones in flight, all is ready. What we are waiting for now is a flight time longer than 20 minutes. I can’t imagine what would happen if at the end of twenty minutes of flight, alarm bells started to ring all over the place; I prefer to leave that problem-solving to others!
Thank you Frédéric!
To read also : 5G is coming to France in late 2019: are we ready?