by Minori Yoshioka
Wireless technologies form an essential part of everyday life, from smartphones to contactless payments. Thanks to increased calls for high-speed and high-quality data connections, these invisible technologies are also valuable investments.
Rapid growth in wireless technologies is expected to take place all over the world in not only developed but also developing countries. Global demand has led to the invention of a broad range of next generation wireless technology services.
“The next cellular broadband, 5G, is a massive research project,” says Dr Djuradj Budimir, researcher of mobile wireless communications at University of Westminster.
When using the internet with a smartphone outside, users will currently see 4G, but people in the UK will be able to use high-speed 5G broadband in the near future.
“5G has already been tested in some UK regions, and the wireless technology will be used even more in this country after 2020 or 2021,” says Dr Budimir.
With faster and faster wireless technologies developing in the future, Dr Budimir claims that users will expect high speed and reliable connections that are easily accessible on mobile phones. 5G should continue to meet the needs of the public two or three years after its introduction.
It is highly possible that 5G will create a huge global market – this is why many research groups, including the government, are keen to develop the high-speed broadband.
“The economic contribution of 5G will enable $12 trillion of global economic activity in 2035,” says Dr. Budimir. “5G potentially has a wide variety of utilities such as in the medical equipment and business-to-business sectors.”
One area of technology that could benefit from faster wireless connections is near field communication (NFC). NFC is a set of communication protocols that allow two electronic devices, one of which is portable such as a smartphone or credit card, to connect when they are within 4 cm of each other. NFC is used for contactless payments and for sharing data such as photos or files.
TransferJet and the challenges of innovation
TransferJet is a high speed NFC technology that allows users to move large files without any complicated setup. The technology has been adopted by the Department of Education in Saga, Japan as part of an e-book system, and figures in the medical industry are considering using TransferJet to normalise electronic health records. However, the technology is not yet widely used in Japan.
“Many companies have tried to implement TransferJet,” says Ichiro Seto, Deputy Directing Manager for Telecommunications Research Laboratory at Toshiba Research Europe. “Despite the remarkable development, the new wireless transfer technology hasn’t been popular in the consumer market.
He adds: “The hardest challenge for us is to find an application which a large number of people use. Even though the technology has been developed, companies that are considering using it should think about their budget and income.”
Unlike 5G, it could be difficult for companies to generate large amounts of funding because they haven’t found many everyday applications for the technology.
However, TransferJet is not in danger of disappearing. The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, a UK charity that supports closer links between the UK and Japan, held a seminar on 15 May featuring wireless technologies such as TransferJet.
The foundation says: “The UK is the one of the countries that is introducing NFC wireless technology such as Oyster cards into society, reflecting global trends in wireless communication technology.”
At the seminar, many members of the audience asked when TransferJet will come to the UK market. As long as people remain interested in this new technology, development will continue.
“Both mobile phone cameras and laptops originated in Japan,” says Seto. “So I hope it is possible that TransferJet will be adopted.”