The coronavirus has changed a lot about normal life.
We can’t go to restaurants or shopping like we used to and we’re all wearing masks when we leave our homes.
One of the biggest areas we’re seeing change is health care.
Hospitals are overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients.
People don’t want to go to a doctor’s office and risk getting sick.
So healthcare has moved online.
We’re talking to our doctors over video chats and messaging services, and our smartphones will soon be used to track exposure to the Coronavirus.
Mobile is playing a huge role in all of this.
I’m Shara Tipton senior reporter with CNET and I’m here to ask now what’s Joining me is Qualcomm president Cristiano Amman.
To answer that question.
His company designs the chips using a huge chunk of the world smartphones.
And he has a unique view into what’s happening in the mobile worlds.
Cristiano, thanks for joining me today.
Very happy to be here.
I’m very happy to talk to you about it.
Cristiano, so in this new worlds, we’re social distancing.
We’re staying home most of the time.
What role is mobile playing in healthcare right now?>> In general, say mobile is playing an enormous role overall I, that’s what I’m actually allowing many of us to stay connected in the middle of all of this.
So a lot of people to stay productive, people connect to each other, going out of their social life exchanging information exchanging photos, all because have mobile connectivity and and you would assume that that will also going to play a role in healthcare the what I like to tell you is in general things that we have been talking over the years and people make The projections are what will happen with the potential of connectivity and healthcare within the next five or 10 years.
We’re seeing that happening right now.
It has been accelerated.
Doctors are more and more relying on the telehealth and be able to connect with patients remotely using smartphones to share picture.
data eventually to monitoring Patience in the whole ability to connect remotely.
It’s going on in a very large scale.
But there’s even more than that.
For example, some of the use cases associated with 5G, we have some customers right now that actually are Have developed cameras.
Few examples as we see that in Korea.
360 cameras connected with 5G that have been attached to first responders in the ICU,when they have Covid 19 patients streaming data in real time.
What’s happening in the ICU to doctor that are reviewing in the panel,in different location.
All of that is happening.
And, connectivity has been an integral part of trying to help people and doctors, connect with their patients.
I’d love to dig in a little more about what you’re saying with South Korea.
It’s kind of been used as this model of what to do correctly.
We’ve seen things like drive through testings using smartphones, to kind of Track the spread really had this off.
You know, kind of knowing what we know now about how the Coronavirus pandemic exploded, you know, how has mobile tech helped there and how does that contrast with what we’ve seen in the United States.
You know Korea is an example of one of the fastest growing, you know, countries for 5g to just have a little bit more mature but I think the United States is not that different.
We we expect to see some of those technologies being also in trial.
With different countries, including the United States, is just around the whole scene of phasic Li.
All of the use cases that we’ll be talking about the promise of 5g, I think this pandemic brought this whole sense of urgency and those that are celebrating and then the reason I brought this Korea example because it’s It’s easy to understand, not only we can use connectivity to connect to each other, but as people don’t have access to sites like not only beyond healthcare companies with manufacturing with labs, the ability to accelerate IoT and connect machines and equipment and even allow for example, in the case of that example.
Nurses to provide images in real time using the low latency of 5G, what they see and what they hear.
Those are things that are gonna be extremely helpful as people are in different locations and breakfast, social distancing.
So we’re gonna see that not only staying within that scope, but also gonna other industrial scopes as well.
I think is happening very fast.
It’s good to see markets such as Korea that it has more mature 5G providing some examples that we can quickly follow as other markets are trying to catch up.
So in Korea, are they actually using 5g to help with these different things or like what is 5g bring to this that we can’t just get from 4g.
That example I provided to you is the.
Is the bandwidth, the low latency and the speed of the uplink for you to actually, have 360 video up in real time and everything that you have to do, especially with healthcare that in applications that latency in real time is important.
I think 5G plays a role.
But I think it’s not just unique to 5G.
I wanted to just go for a moment away from healthcare and try to connect the dots.
What we see today many companies are trying to remain productive as most of their employees are kind of working from home.
And when companies that have.
Critical sites whether there’s a manufacturing site and industrial site, a laboratory, it doesn’t matter what the field is.
And they were thinking about you know, in the future 5g could allow them to have a process of digital transformation and connect connected cameras or connect different equipment to the cloud for people to access remotely.
That has just been accelerated.
And I think that’s one of the roles that 5G is going to play in general is to allow companies to remain productive, remain functioning, connecting not only people but connecting multiple devices.
Let’s take a step back and talk a little bit about what 5G actually is.
So I think a lot of people hear about it, all the carriers are talking about it.
You know Samsung, all the device guys are talking about it.
You guys are talking about it all the time.
Explain for people what exactly it gives you?
You know, 5g is the next generation of wireless and it’s, it’s now you know, becoming available.
It’s, it’s launched in many countries, including the United States.
Coverage is being built, is going to get better you know, everyday.
And what he does is provide a number of things.
So basically, it’s being designed for unlimited speeds and bandwidth.
It’s being designed to work in your cell phone pretty much like people use their WiFi unlimited data rates.
It’s gigabit speeds.
He has very low latency, so we have a real time response and it for the first time as a technology that had allow A radio communications or wireless communications to have the same reliability that you can only get with fiber, wireless fiber speeds and that allows machines or things that haven’t been wired in the past.
Now to also be wireless.
It’s going I know it sounds like a little bit, you know, a very big bold statement, but 5g is going to be the future of the Internet.
And it’s going to be a technology that is no longer going You’re going to be in our phones but it’s going to be into the IT systems of factories of the power grid, you know, and it’s going to be like electricity we’re going to assume is there and it will be there.
5g, you know, sounds.
Like it’s gonna change everything.
Kind of shifting back to healthcare, this is traditionally been a pretty slow-moving industry, it doesn’t change a lot.
We’re seeing telehealth now where people can chat with their doctors.
There’s chatbots, video calls, a lot of people have been seeing issues with this, just with the video call being dropped or these not working that smoothly.
Why has the health taken so long to take off?
You know, here specifically in the US like why didn’t we really see this before?
It’s a great question.
You know, it’s a it’s one of those things Necessity is the mother of all inventions right and, and I think this pandemic, all of those use cases from From remote learning to healthcare has been accelerated and going back to when you Pacific settle healthcare it did.
It did expose I think a lot of the.
The importance of broadband, the importance of why it’s important to have not only as fast downlink but an uplink.
And if anything, it’s one of those situations that we almost don’t have it to explain anymore.
Some of the advantage of 5g for you have to Answer the question, if this thing happened that is happening right now.
And we all had a very mature and fully deployed 5g network, we’ll be in a much better shape.
And, you know, it’s, we’re very fortunate to see connectivity has enable, I think all of us to stay in.
Connected but the demand for connectivity now is actually higher, especially as just a simple example on this.
On this experience we’re having right now you and I talking or the experience that you described on telehealth that you could be talking to your doctor When we are in the camera like this, we are streaming.
So it’s not about downlink.
It’s about user generated content.
It’s about uplink.
And then that’s one of the things that 5G comes in and changes and wireless.
And we hopefully to see more of them.
Are hospitals and doctors actually equipped with the right tools for telemedicine and 5g or, like, how does that happen?
How do they make sure they have the things they need?
This is a difficult question, I think for us to answer but I’ll you know, I’ll tell you my opinion.
I feel that In general, what we seen in with all the companies I will tell from a Qualcomm experience, and I’m assuming that is true in hospitals, the CIOs in many corporations They will until now, their sentiment was all of those new technologies that are available I needed to understand when is the right time for that technology to fit into my environment.
Now this stuff is upside down, is completely different.
Now is I need to empower my users whether there’s doctors or nurses or as a sport employees in a corporation.
I need to empower my users to be connected, to be mobile to have to speed, how do I change my IT environment so they can make use of those technologies right now and I think that’s where we see a go back to it.
This whole this whole thing has been accelerated because of the pandemic telehealth.
It’s not something that we expect to see 510 years from now, we’ve seen today and people wanted to figure out how to make it better today, and that’s causing a response from a lot of the CIOs within the medical sector in across the industry in general.
Yeah, and the FCC I think has earmarked 200 million to invest to help hospitals and organizations with telehealth.
So we’re seeing, you know, a huge investment there.
You know, you’ve talked about the advantages of 5g with this.
Generally people think of 5G as a mobile technology for when you’re outside, downloading things faster.
How does this work when we’re all locked at home or you’re in a hospital setting?
Like how does 5G work in a building?
I have two answers to that question.
I’ll start by.
By addressing the first one, ironically one of the fastest growing designs that we have in our technology for 5G and is very high demand is 5G to augment fixed broadband Perfect wireless.
Just on our modern platform that’s probably over this quarter is one of the fastest number of designs that growing In a lot of carriers, looking how to augment people that don’t have broadband using 5g, so that’s kind of the first answer to your question.
In addition of survey, mobile phones, I think 5g is going to play a role in augmenting broadband and I think there’s all this conversation also about bringing broadband to rural areas in using 5g And we’ve been developing high power customer premise equipment to accommodate for that use case.
Second part of this question is, 5G, especially millimeter wave when you have the full benefit of the bandwidth and the latency.
It works very well.
Outside work farewell inside it doesn’t propagate from well from outside to inside.
But what really happens in in that case is you should think about deployment of this technology much less how Wi Fi is deployed.
Wi Fi, you know, works well inside.
And you’ll have small base stations and access points.
What actually what we see right now because of the enterprise transformation and to 5G, we actually see a lot more interest in carriers to go from the outdoor deployment to start thinking about the indoor deployment as well.
And when we think about a mature 5G network, we’re going to see a large number of base stations and they’re gonna look like access points.
And a silver lining, if you can say given this current difficult environment we’re living, is Because there’s not a lot of people in the streets in the United States, many carriers are reporting.
They’re ahead of schedule in the deployment of new base stations, just because it’s just easier to deploy.
And as discovers gets mature over time, we expect to have those 5g service outside and inside as well.
The 5G rollout I think is facing some criticism right now linked to COVID-19.
There has been a hoax going basically since the pandemic started that 5G either causes coronavirus, or it’s not actually a virus, it’s radio waves.
How would you respond to that and reassure people that, hey, 5g isn’t actually going to give you COVID-19?.
It’s, it’s said that do have those type of situations.
I, I think my first my first comment is, thanks to technology and thanks to the advancements in technology, especially connectivity and Is that even though we are in this current situation right now and depend dammit we can still remain connected.
And with all of the challenges we have in the economy you know thanks to technology we can still function some companies are continue to stay operational, we can still remain productive.
I think We always believe that technology is a force for good.
There’s so much research and technology if you think of what in general you know, I will not even comment on this COVID-19 will accept this too crazy.
But in general I you’ll see a lots of studies from the regulatory organizations.
FCC, you’ll have the industry associations CSMA the CTIA that all talk about, you know how to fight 5g does not bring any healthcare concerns.
And I think from a technology standpoint, you actually have less power to sell sites or smaller so actually, as you go to one generation to the other there Last radiated power and the you know, the FCC that has a very strict type of requirements and test.
And I feel you know, yes, you, you, you, you have this stuff in the press.
But you know, I play 5G is going to you know be deployed in exactly going on, Help us probably cope to a situation like this much better than we’re doing right now when it’s fully mature, and all of the use cases and I’m just gonna say one of the things we’re doing at Qualcomm, because I think that’s what we do for a living.
But even though we have 90 plus percent of our employees working from home, we have able to remain productive.
Even things that are critical like labs, the ability to have a lot of IoT capabilities, connect those devices remotely, allow people to log in remotely.
People are still collaborate.
While we can keep our employees safe, maybe companies are looking, they were not prepared for this.
They think well, that’s I need to get prepared for this and that’s going to drive more demand for fight.
So last year and mobile Congress in Barcelona, I went to a demo showing kind of a remote surgery and it wasn’t.
It wasn’t like a doctor was cutting using a robot over 5g signal.
But it was a doctor was watching the surgery in real time using a 5G signal.
And giving advice to those doctors, you know, it was kind of showing.
Hey, this is what will be possible with 5G.
So, what is realistic when it comes to remote medicine and 5G like?
Are we going to see people doing surgeries remotely?
You know you mentioned what’s happening in Korea with the cameras like what are the things that we can see right you know, 10 years in the future.
What we see happening right now in general with with with technology and I think that is one 5g is available 5g is being utilized for that.
There are a couple use cases we’re seeing today.
One is the type of use cases that I described to you in Korea and their different type of applications of the same which is you use 5G to get information in real time in high definition.
Of have different locations when you have patience is is similar to what you saw.
I think at a trade show when you know doctors can see exactly what happened in High Definition with all the different angles that they need to and they be able to have very reliable communications 5g is about reliability and bandwidth.
We have reliability and be able to provide instructions that can be heard in real time and people can act upon it.
The other one is UK one which is being done by British [UNKNOWN] which is the 5G [UNKNOWN] and basically the first responders they have 5G into the [UNKNOWN] and what it is, This was done actually, last year before depending.
You have ultrasound equipment or diagnostic equipment, things they can have image for the within the ambulance and the first responders right into the hospital.
You can start the care within the ambulance and connect to doctors and again, more of that In having the ability to share audio and video and diagnostic information in real time.
S YG gets deployed on the both sides with full coverage, then I think some of those use cases of be able to do remote intervention will be possible because 5g It’s a wireless radio technology but you can have what we call Six nines of reliability 99.9999% of precision, and that it’s kind of important if you actually want to rely on a robotic hand that you’re gonna operate in or control remotely to do surgery.
So The potential for technology is there and it’s going to gradually evolve to that as coverage gets deployed.
So right now during the pandemic one of the biggest issues is that tens of millions of people are out of work.
We’re all kind of watching our spending a little bit more.
5G is still a premium service, devices are not Cheap you know we are seeing prices come down but do you think that the pandemic and kind of people watching their their wallets more does is this going to hurt the uptake of 5g this year does it slow down adoption?
That’s a very good question I have to address in a couple of different Aspects one I want to talk about the operator in the carrier.
One thing to happen with this pandemic and I think a lot of people, they used to be all within the office environment went back home.
What you started to see is you have capacity deployed in different places and.
And while there are always exceptions, but in general we seeing is there’s a lot of areas in the suburbans that you have to build more capacity.
You have more utilization different hours of the day.
This whole thing, we just talked about here in the conversation, why is my video quality not as great in some cases?
Because people need more uplink.
And that’s Is part of the deployment of capacity carriers right now are not deploying new capacity in 4G, they’re deploying 4G.
That’s when you have the technology available, why not invest your capital expenses into more modern technology.
So that is going to there be an incentive for traffic to move to the new technology and that’s from the carrier site.
So the deployment will continue.
Transition will continue and they’re going to be some device to move data to the new technology.
On the device side, there’s an interesting data point I want to give it from the China market as we look at China starting to climb out of this.
And we look at what happened to device and price points and now The price point of a 5G device it’s already capable of addressing 50% of the entire addressable market of China from the cheapest phone to the more expensive phone.
So in remember, like a quarter ago we saw price points in the below $300 in their becoming in a morgue waste.
So I think the Celebration of the maturity of the technology is driving price points at all tiers.
And then just to be a question that people need new phones.
I think most people will say I’m going to buy a 5g phone.
So these there is an natural evolution of the technology and scale..
But I’m optimistic and I think the current environment underscores the importance of telecom and connectivity.
And I think 5 G is probably going to come in front and center.
If anybody’s going to be Looking to buy a new phone.
If 5G was fully rolled out in the US before this pandemic started, what impact do you think it would have had?
It’s one of those difficult questions to answer fully, because like it with any generation of technology, there’s a lot of applications that I’ve been getting Invented, we can really predict the full potential technologies like in the early days of 4G, you know, when smartphones hadn’t existed, you know, Uber didn’t existed and all those things.
But having said that, just the what we can see today in terms of.
The aspects of 5g to to create virtual presence.
Like if you look at the, if you have bandwidth and you have latency, just this interaction that you and I have right now, it’s a it’s much better with 5g because you can actually have what is called virtual presence and, and if if you had that in a mature way Once if you had companies with an accelerated process of their digital transformation into IoT and connecting many of their different devices and critical assets to the cloud and allow people to collaborate within the cloud, we will be probably in a better shape.
it will continue I just look an example company like welcome because we’re able to function Even though we have the majority of employees working from home, will continue to you know, drive our business support, our customers provide you know results to our shareholders, And that’s because we can function remotely due to connectivity.
If that’s the reality of many other companies, I think the economic impact will be smaller.
And maybe we’ll be more prepared for things like telehealth.
So I think that’s the right direction and who know what the future Holds.
We all hope this will pass soon, but as 5G gets deployed, something like to happen in the future.
I’m sure we’re gonna be better prepared.
Right, so Cristiano, you grew up in Brazil.
How would telemedicine be useful for your family still there, and are you What are you doing to stay in touch with your family right now?
Yeah, I’m doing a lot of video conference with both of my mom and dad.
They’re sheltering in place, they’re doing great.
I believe it’s It’s one of those things.
So different countries have different levels of maturity of infrastructure.
I think Brazil, like many other developing economies are still building infrastructure.
I’m sure they have more challenges that that we have right now.
But what we see it’s it’s one of the things that Qualcomm had said for years.
One of the things that gave us a lot of pride to work in the technology that we do, in many countries the smart phone is exactly first time people connect to the internet.
If a smart phone has been one of the biggest tools to bridge the digital divide between develop and developing economies.
So sometimes when people don’t have, Broadband or computers connected with high speed, they can be able to do some of the same things we’re doing right now just using their phones.
And I think phones are gonna play as an important role.
In telemedicine in Brazil and other countries is probably was seen with telemedicine here in United States.
So what happens when the pandemic is over?
Do we go back to the way things were?
Does telehealth stick around?
Well, that’s a different.
That’s a difficult question.
You know, we can we can only speculate what the new normal is going to look like.
I don’t know how to answer a question, but I can point to two.
So two, one thing we just have done, the main kinds largest experiments in telecommuting.
I don’t think anybody would, would plan an experiment of this scale.
Many things while many things are you know are being impacted, some other things are working.
And, and I and I expect there are going to be many companies that will keep what is good of what’s happening right now and it’s probably going to be part of Of our lives going forward.
So some things are likely to change as a result of this, and we’ll see what happens.
Having said that I can’t wait to go out and meet people but.
[LAUGH] Your neighbour.
So healthcare usually changes really slowly but we’re seeing rapid advancements right now during the pandemic.
A lot of those changes like remote doctor’s appointments likely won’t be going away.
You know 5G is going to make all of this better.
I’m sure Timken.
I was here with Cristiano Amman, the president of wireless chip maker Qualcomm.
Thanks for tuning in.