Japan and Finland to collaborate on development of 6G
Japan and Finland have initiated a bilateral partnership, through a collaboration between The University of Tokyo and the University of Oulu, to develop technologies and standards for the sixth generation of wireless communications, commonly known as 6G. Over the next few years, a roadmap for the 6G standard will be created and research into the technological components carried out.
Matti Latva-aho, academy professor at the University of Oulu and Director of Finland’s 6G Flagship research program, has been appointed a global research fellow at the University of Tokyo. There he will collaborate with Professor Akihiro Nakao at Tokyo’s Graduate School of Engineering, and their team will work to research and develop future 6G technologies and technical standards.
Prof Nakao believes 6G technology could impact society in many different ways, saying it’s “not just about higher speeds and faster response”.
“The aims of 6G include massive improvement in power efficiency, security based on quantum mechanics, AI-driven network optimisation, integration with satellite networks and more,” he said. “For day-to-day life, all this means people will have a more seamless experience communicating with each other, as well as interacting with services and devices.”
Some areas of life that could benefit from 6G include health care, where low-power embedded sensors could communicate health data in real time to doctors or expert systems, or even disaster response, as integration with satellite platforms means that if ground-based infrastructure is damaged then essential communication can be maintained.
Profs Latva-aho and Nakao both hope the Japan–Finland collaboration can leverage the best each country has to offer. Both countries have a history of pushing forward the boundaries of communications technology by developing global standards and generating iconic brands such as Nokia.
“As an engineer, the development of technology is of course very exciting, but 6G goes beyond that. Rather than a communications infrastructure, it feels more like a social infrastructure,” Prof Nakao said. “We have acquired funding for 10 large-scale national projects, including semiconductor development, augmented reality, satellite communications and more. And we hope to bring the fruits of our research to the university campus, where we can demonstrate the capabilities of 6G firsthand by offering immersive, remote, hands-on lectures before rolling out the technology to the public.”
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