What role will 5G spectrum have in driving innovation for the federal government? And, moreover, what will be its impact on the military? The answers to these questions and the role of a collaborative 5G Living Lab were the topic of a recent National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) Starts virtual event that brought together tech leaders from the military and industry.
During this event, 10 5G-enabled startups competed for $200,000 through a live pitch competition with a series of keynote presentations outlining the DoD’s strategy around 5G and current partnerships. The participating startups include:
- Aarna Networks,
- Kumu Networks,
- VRotors, and
Based on the pitches, the four winning teams were vRotors, Omnispace, GenXComm, and COMSovereign.
Neil Malhotra, CEO of vRotors, stated that their “platform powers a suite of 4G/5G connected, remotely piloted live drones and terrestrial visual sensors with telemetry driven mixed reality for facility and off-base situational awareness.”
Omnispace’s Campbell Marshall, Vice President International Market Development and Public Policy, said that “Omnispace’s hybrid pole-to-pole communications system enables seamless transitions between urban, rural, and maritime domains – overcoming the need for multiple devices on multiple networks. We fuse the reach of satellites with the power of cellular to harness our unique 2GHz spectrum, bringing interoperable “one network” 5G connectivity to users and IoT devices anywhere on the globe.
Dr. Sriram Vishwanath, Co-Founder and CEO of GenXComm, said that the organization “develops advanced technologies for delivering spectrally efficient, ultra-low latency 5G mesh networks. Our technologies enable in-band (same frequency) relay and wireless backhaul, efficient edge-AI processing and resilient 5G coverage for fixed and mobile app operations.”
COMSovereign’s Dr. Dustin Mcintire, Chief Technology Officer, stated that “COMSovereign is a US based PurePlay technology provider for 5G end-to-end solutions bridging across wireless communications, infrastructure, and power markets.”
For Assistant Secretary of the Navy, James “Hondo” Geurts, this 5G technology “is going to fuel us forward. It allows us to move data around, allows us to connect things, and allows us to move at network speed.” But while many 5G applications may be part of the future, the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar is already looking into 5G applications and how they could impact the mission.
Collaboration between the military and the private sector will be vital to the success of any 5G initiative. Andrés Irlando, President of Verizon Public Sector, shared that MCAS Miramar will “serve as a 5G Living Lab [where there is] collaboration between the Department of Defense and commercial partners to deliver on cutting edge solutions for our men and women in uniform.” Junaid Islam, Director of Verizon Public Sector, corroborates Irlando’s perspective on 5G in a military capacity when he stated that “5G is truly magical just because for the first time from a single network we can create different networks for different application purposes.”
From a defense perspective, NSIN Managing Director Morgan C. Plummer noted, “When you explore transformative technology like 5G, the investment that the Navy and Marine Corps have made to investigate, understand, and test the possible applications for the warfighter is absolutely critical. NSIN was thrilled to be able to bring together such committed and engaged partners from the DoD and venture communities to ensure that 5G enabled technology becomes a reality for our service members.” The 5G Living Lab in Miramar allows for constant transformation upon 5G and all the capabilities it entails. Lt.Col Brandon Newell, Director, SoCal Tech Bridge, Naval X, noted how 5G has become a disruptor.
For Newell, the 5G Living Lab and Verizon have “a common vision…We recognize in the Marine Corps and Navy that we needed to find a way to partner with that disruption, so that we could effectively understand what capabilities would be disrupted, what markets would be disrupted, and how to write effective requirements. We feel that the industry is moving so fast and that the pace of technology is moving so fast that we have to change how we engage with industry so that we better understand how those disruptions are coming and not be caught flatfooted.”
From both the private and public sector, 5G is creating new opportunities and increasing capabilities. There are countless ways to optimize these new capabilities and the military will continue to work on staying ahead of innovations. 5G is the future and it will continue to enhance how military operations will grow moving forward. To learn more, click here.