Sony and Intel team up for global forum on new communication infrastructure

The companies are banding together to build a system capable of handling the world's new digital needs.

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Tech giants Intel, Sony and NTT announced on Wednesday evening that they were joining forces to create the Innovative Optical and Wireless Network Global Forum (IOWN), an initiative aiming to develop a new communications and network infrastructure for the future.

In a statement, they claimed that building a new backbone will provide advanced capabilities for low-power consumption, ultra-wide bandwidths and ultra-realistic UI/UX for the next generation of computing. 

"The world is approaching the limits of current generation communications and infrastructure technology even as power consumption requirements, data bandwidth, and speed for the internet explode by offering ever advancing services. In order to solve such social issues and create a smart world, we believe a paradigm shift is required," officials from the new forum said in a statement. 

SEE: Digital transformation road map (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The forum will work to speed along the development of new technology, specifications, guidelines, references, and frameworks necessary to usher in a more comprehensive communications and network infrastructure. 

They will start off focusing primarily on an end-to-end optical communication system called a photonics network as well as digital twin computing, which they believe will enable some of the technologies and use-cases needed for a smart world.

"The high-capacity, low-latency, energy efficiency and flexibility that IOWN offers, opens up exciting new possibilities in terms of connecting creators with users, bringing together people with people, and sharing highly realistic entertainment in real time," Sony president Kenichiro Yoshida said. 

The hope is that more research into photonics devices and equipment will lead to technology with reduced power needs, shortened latency times, and broadened transmission capacity. 

The statement said the other technology they'll work on will have applications to healthcare, disaster prevention, education, automated driving, finance, and industrial manufacturing. 

SEE: 5G mobile networks: An insider's guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

IOWN will be based in the United States and membership is now open for other industry groups or companies. Executives from all three companies will choose the first board of the forum in the next few months. 

Intel CEO Bob Swan said the company was honored to partner with major industry players like NTT and Sony because the project will "help define the future of technology." 

"Digital transformation and the growth of data is driving an infrastructure build-out that will dwarf the first era of the cloud defined by hyper-scale data centers. We are using information technology now in completely new ways that demand we move, store and process data even faster, more securely and often closer to the person using the service," Swan said.

"The combination of super-fast networking and pervasive high-performance computing – the edge infrastructure to deliver smart services anywhere, anytime – can only be achieved with a profoundly new mindset shared across a global ecosystem."

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