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Eindhoven Biz Briefing: Dispatches tours the 5G Hub for the ‘what’s next in tech’ edition

Dispatches tours the 5G Hub at High Tech Campus Eindhoven.

(Editor’s note: The rollout of 5G networks in the Netherlands began in 2020. The Dutch government currently is auctioning 5G frequencies through 2022. However, that rollout is limited because the Dutch Ministry of Defense has reserved the 3.5 gigahertz spectrum for its intelligence agencies.)

Technology is accelerating far faster than most of us can cope. But Eindhoven is fortunate to have two new innovation hubs at High Tech Campus Eindhoven – one dedicated to artificial intelligence and the other to 5G. Take 5G … honestly, we didn’t get it. It was an abstraction, the next generation of digital communications network. Or something like that, we were never quite sure.

Then Dispatches got to tour the 5G Hub at High Tech Campus Eindhoven and it all got real.

Imagine if you’re at a (post-COVID) concert in Amsterdam and Dua Lipa and DaBaby comes on stage to do “Levitating.” Everyone lights up their smartphones and the entire cellular network goes down because there just isn’t enough bandwidth for everyone to shoot high-res video, post on Insty and text at the same time.

Not with a dedicated 5G mobile network.

Or say you’re an architect using a garden variety iPad and want to see full 3D detail of a street that only exists in cyberspace.

Only with a 5G network.

Or say you want to drive an autonomous vehicle via a video image and send it far beyond line-of-sight range with no control lag.

You’d better have 5G.

That’s the feeble take of a complete neophyte non-tech person. Now, the question is, what can you – an entrepreneur, engineer or developer – think of doing that needs the huge data capacity of 5G? The place to figure it out is the 5G Innovation Hub in HTC 25 on High Tech Campus, a project of Finnish cellular giant Ericsson and Anglo/Dutch/American telecom VodafoneZiggo.

It takes a lot of hardware to create a private 5G system. Richard Prins and Senna Kloosterman were on-hand to explain how it all fits together.

Our hosts were Senna Kloosterman, management trainee at Ericsson, Richard Prins, the hub’s technical lead for B2B and Letícia Batista, community manager at the 5G Hub.

They work to bring business executives, entrepreneurs and startups to the 5G hub “to see what’s possible and how they can use it,” said Senna Kloosterman, “A big part of what we do is telling companies what is possible.”

The 5G Hub is essentially a 700m2 (7,500-square-foot) nerd playground with various work stations, a demo/presentation area and lots and lots of high-end routers, the latest generation antennae and futuristic hardware.

It’s a place executives and even us non-tech types can get our heads around what 5G can do, and all the hardware it takes to make 5G work is daunting. It’s a world of edge mobility computing networks, CUPS architecture, dynamic spectrum sharing, local network slicing, special antennas, arrays for beam forming and crazy-fast download and upload speeds.

For example, the 5G network at the 5G hub is 1.6 gigabits per second down, 110 megabits up. That’s roughly 10 times the speed of your home connection if you live in the Netherlands. (Norway has already started rolling out commercial 5G networks.)

We know all this courtesy of Richard Prins, who does a remarkable job of breaking down the physics for mere tech mortals. Richard explained that a lot of the technology isn’t new, just integrated into an advanced generation of network that’s exponentially more powerful than the 4G we all use now.

The author at the wheel, while Dispatches co-CEO Cheryl Boyd waits her turn.

Moreover, it was all fun. I got to drive a remote control car via a racecar-style seat and a snazzy control panel. Yes, the little car almost got run over by a truck that I couldn’t see, but hey … no harm, no foul.

– Terry Boyd

By the way, we came away with a whole new vocabulary.

Those terms we were throwing around like we knew what they meant:

5G – 5G is shorthand for the fifth-generation wireless communications technology standard for broadband cellular networks. Currently, 4G is the standard in the Netherlands. But there are already plans to jump ahead to 6G by 2030.

G network slicing is a network architecture that enables multiple, independent networks to operate via the same physical network infrastructure. Each network “slice” is an isolated end-to-end network tailored to a specific application.

Local slicing – Network slicing creates networks within the main provider network dedicated to specific tasks that are no-fail, like ambulance communications in areas such as stadiums where 10,000 people with cellphones can slow the network. Or you need a completely end-to-end secure network for highly sensitive business or national security.

Edge computing – Edge computing basically means placing computing power and data-storage capacity closer to the location where it’s needed to improve response times and save bandwidth

Latency – Latency is the lags in data flow. If you’re using a set of VR goggles, the jerkiness of the images can make users nauseous. 5G mostly eliminates latency.

CUPS architecture – Control and User Plane Separation tech isn’t new, but helps control more precisely how data flows through the network to support a wider array of services with varied performance requirements including IoT. There are many, many moving pieces to CUPS including evolved packet cores, or EPCs. Head. Exploding.

5G Innovation Challenge

Speaking of 5G, the 5G Hub is looking for new, world-changing concepts and projects using 5G in sustainability, health, business and entertainment with the potential to change the world. 5G technology is about more than faster connectivity … it’s a crucial component in advancing artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality, blockchain and photonics. And High Tech Campus Eindhoven has big new initiatives to advance all those technologies.

Apply with your idea or concept and you our team could be chosen for a development program at the 5G Hub, a collaboration between Brainport Development, High Tech Campus Eindhoven, Ericsson, and VodafoneZiggo. The hub has tools to both test new tech and support advanced research.

For teams, this is a great opportunity to work with advanced communications/tech companies with serious resources at a dedicated 5G hub while keeping your intellectual property.

You get:

• the deep expert knowledge and expertise of the contributing companies

• a co-creation program for the winners guided by proven and trusted experts

• to work with the latest stand-alone 5G architecture: fast, secure, robust broadband connections & ultra-low latency

• guidance from 5G domain experts

• immersion in the expansive High Tech Campus Eindhoven ecosystem

• to work closely with partners VodafoneZiggoEricssonStrictRabobank and Brainport Eindhoven.

For the companies supporting the challenge, this is a chance to partner with new talents with visionary ideas.

HERE’S THE TIMETABLE FOR THE CHALLENGE

9 May – Registrations close
11 May – First selection of the most promising cases
25 and 26 May 25 (in the afternoon) – First feedback rounds
11 May thru 28 June (TBD) – Speed dating between teams and sponsors
29 June – Final presentations and announcement of the winner
Sept 2021 – Start of tailor-made development program

You can sign up here.

Win this pitch competition for a trip to The Valley

Speaking of challenges, Draper University in San Mateo, Calif., LUMO Labs, Braventure and High Tech Campus Eindhoven are teaming up for a pitch competition that will send the winning Dutch startup to Silicon Valley for five weeks. Draper’s Silicon Summer Pitch Prize competition will select one promising startup to attend the Hero Training program this summer.

They’re looking for innovative & scalable Netherlands-based startups:

• founded less than five years ago
• with software or smart hardware focus
• in customer validation or market entry phase
• transformative & impact-driven.

The winning team gets:

• tuition and on-campus accommodation and co-working space in downtown San Mateo, California, from 6 July through 10 August 2021.

• a five-week entrepreneurship program with eight modules

• numerous speaker sessions, workshops and team activities

• return ticket AMS – San Francisco and transportation from the airport to the Draper University Campus. Value approximately $2,000 from partner Braventure.

The estimated value of the program is $12,000. But the immersive, once-in-a-lifetime experience with startup experts, founders and VC’s, new mentors and friends, personal and professional growth, energy and, yes, a California tan … that’s priceless.

To get there, you compete against other teams, with the live pitch finals on 19 May. The submission deadline: 9 May 2021.

THE DETAILS:

Startups are invited to submit their pitch decks and motivation letter (both in English) via [email protected] until 9 May. The competition and all related communications are coordinated by Janneke Huijbregts. Any questions concerning the competition, criteria and/or the final event, can be directed to her via [email protected].

The jury will convene on 10 May and 11 May to evaluate and discuss the submissions, then select the six finalists for the live pitches. All applicants will be notified on 12 May whether they have been selected for the finals.

THE FINALS:

The finals of Draper’s Silicon Summer Pitch Prize will take place live on Wednesday, 19 May in English in front of a jury at the Conference Center on High Tech Campus Eindhoven. The event starts at 16:00 CET and will be hosted by Job Nijs, Managing Director of Braventure.

Each of the six selected finalists is allowed two attendants, one presenter who will pitch on stage and one supporter who can contribute to the Q&A with the jury after the pitch. No pitch can be longer than five minutes. The Q&A after each pitch will be limited to 10 minutes.

Two representatives of Draper University will attend the event from San Mateo via live stream.

After the last pitch and Q&A, the jury will deliberate and consult with Draper University representatives for additional input and insights. The winner of Draper’s Silicon Summer Pitch Prize will be announced around 19.30 CET.

International media suddenly discover ASML

Over the years, ASML grew into a tech behemoth without anyone much noticing. Anyone outside its headquarters city of Eindhoven, at any rate. Everyone knows Apple, Samsung, Nvidia and Oracle because the Wall Street Journal and all the tech news sites cover them constantly. Now, the global tech and financial websites can’t stop writing about this Eindhoven-based company that makes the world’s most advanced semiconductor equipment.

The best story on ASML in a while is on Quartz, which calls ASML the company modern capitalism can’t survive without. That’s because if there’s no ASML, there’s no semiconductor industry. And if there’s no semiconductor industry, there’s no Apple or any of the tech companies built on little pieces of silicon etched with microcircuits. In the post, journalist Samanth Subramanian notes that “a single Dutch company sits at the very heart of this $439 billion industry.”

From the post:

It’s difficult to think of another company anywhere that is simultaneously this important and yet this unknown to the public at large. If Veldhoven vanished tomorrow, our version of capitalism – our cellphone-toting, remote-working, Netflix-binging, online-buying, cloud-storing, smart car-driving, Internet-of-Things-ing capitalism would judder to a halt. ASML isn’t a monopoly, but its market depends upon its technology to a degree that can almost be discomfiting.

The Motely Fool investment letter also has a post, this one asking how long ASML can be the Switzerland of tech companies, doing business with both the United States and China without getting crushed in the power plays between the two mega-rivals.

“ASML Can’t Stay Neutral on China for Much Longer” by Leo Sun points out that Taiwan-based TSMC, the world’s biggest chipmaker, can’t produce its newest chips without ASML’s latest EUV photolithography equipment. TSMC represents more than 30 percent of ASML’s top-line revenue. The U.S. uses TSMC as a cudgel to prevent China-based SMIC from catching up in the race to have the most advanced semiconductor technology.

Here’s the problem: ASML’s China business is growing faster than its American business and represents about 17 percent of top-line revenue. The Chinese have wanted to buy ASML’s most advanced machines for years, but the Dutch government – under pressure from the U.S. – has never signed off on those sales.

Sun concludes that China – deprived of ASML equipment – will pour more assets into SMIC. Which will mean more competition for ASML.

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