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neXt Curve Insights – March 2023


Welcome to the March 2023 edition of neXt Curve Insights. This monthly newsletter is a compilation of articles, media, and news that have been curated by the research team at neXt Curve with contributions from partner analysts as well as business and technology leaders.

The goal of neXt Curve Insights is to provide our readers with a regular cadence of coverage of the industry and tech trends and events that matter with the intent of fostering constructive discussion and debate on the future of technology, innovation, and the continuous reinvention of enterprise, industry, society, and our lives. 

I hope that you find this edition informative and inspiring.

Leonard Lee, Executive Analyst of neXt Curve

Top Posts

Check out the top social media posts on LinkedIn by neXt Curve analysts, associates, and partners. Follow neXt Curve and Leonard Lee on LinkedIn and be part of the conversation. Click on the image to view the post.

One of Huawei’s competitive advantages,… not having to answer to shareholders who will make a big deal out of profit drops due to massive increases in R&D spending.

What Qualcomm has done with on-device Stable Diffusion is a great example of a key capability that we will see in future confidential, privacy first, IP-protected generative AI computing architectures.

I want to recognize IoT Stars for being a beacon for the IoT community. Props to Marc Pous and Laurens Slats for putting on great programs.

I had the opportunity to ask Jensen Huang about Nvidia’s own use of generative AI in chip R&D as well as how implementers of generative AI applications deal with the “hallucinations problem” that afflicts the current state of the technology. 

Super interesting chart from the team at Dell’Oro Group. According to the research firm, Worldwide Telecom Equipment revenue grew a paltry 3 percent in 2022 and will further slow to 1 percent in 2023.

I finally got my hands on the Lenovo #x13s courtesy of the Snapdragon team at Qualcomm to test drive!

The Patent Wall at Qualcomm HQ. The matter of SEPs or Standard Essential Patents is super esoteric but is important to understand in order to appreciate their implications on technology leadership AND market leadership.

I’m back home in San Diego after six days of meetings and my first hot air balloon ride courtesy of Amdocs at MWC 2023.

It’s always a great chat with Ericsson’s Global CTO, Erik Ekudden. As I have opined last year, the company’s Intelligent Automation Platform was a gangster move that made Ericsson Open RAN-ready for its customers. Ericsson’s Global Network Platform is another important strategy that could be a catalyst for 5G network services that foster new mobile apps.

I spent the morning with Motorola Mobility’s CEO, Sergio Buniac and his team to check out the latest and greatest in Motorola products and more. They let us touch and feel the really cool rollable smartphone proof of concept that they announced late last year. It’s a compelling design. Something to keep any eye out on.

Top Headlines

These are the hot headlines in the tech and industry media that neXt Curve has curated for your consideration and attention. Executive analyst, Leonard Lee, provides a brief analysis of each story. Contact, Leonard at for a briefing on the details of his take (clients only).  




“Singtel, Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. today announced the successful achievement of a maximum upload speed of 1.6Gbps on 5G millimetre wave. By aggregating the 5G mmWaves through four carriers and balancing the upload and download patterns, Singtel was able to achieve these speeds on its network using a test device powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon® X65 5G Modem-RF System.

Industry applications in areas like manufacturing, transportation, healthcare, entertainment and news production often require higher uplink capacity than that of typical consumer mobile users.  With balanced pattern structure configuration, Singtel is able to effectively vary the uplink and downlink throughput and provide a higher uplink ratio for 5G mmWave, thus increasing the uplink peak cell throughput. This is a major boost for enterprises where use cases that require 5G high upload speeds can be enabled in a flexible, reliable, and secure way.”

Uplink is often overlooked with the industry broadly and generally focused on downlink speeds due to traditional notions that the killer application for cellular wireless is and continues to be video whether its downloads or streaming. It’s simply how the industry thinks and talks.

I have long published and opined that uplink is the problem to be solved and is the network performance parameter that will present the new frontier for innovation for mobile developers.

It’s always encouraging to see collaborations like this between two leaders in mobile wireless technology, Ericsson and Qualcomm, collaborating in bringing their R&D and engineering chops to bear to advance uplink technologies and implementations. Keep an eye out for advancements in Ericsson’s 4CC (4 component carriers) Uplink TDD and the Switched Uplinked feature in the upcoming X75 Modem-RF system from Qualcomm.

“The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) today released the following statement from SIA President and CEO John Neuffer commending the introduction in Congress of bipartisan legislation to restore full tax deductibility of R&D investments. The legislation, the American Innovation and Jobs Act, was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) along with 10 other cosponsors.

Since 1954, R&D expenditures were treated as an immediate deduction. For decades, the immediate deduction for U.S. R&D expenditures provided a longstanding incentive for chip companies to make those investments, helping maintain U.S. leadership in this vital technology. As of 2022, however, U.S. R&D expenses must now be amortized over five years, making it less attractive to perform R&D in America and harming U.S. competitiveness in the semiconductor industry.”

While much has been covered in the media about how the U.S. is lagging in semiconductor manufacturing and process technology, far less is mentioned about the importance of the market leadership of U.S. fabless chipmakers such as Qualcomm, Nvidia, AMD, and an emerging class of Arm and RISC-V chip designers such as Marvell. There are also the hyperscalers, namely AWS and Google, who design custom chips for their cloud data centers.

Domestically, the proposed policy would level the playing field as U.S. fabless chipmakers received little consideration in the CHIPS Act that heavily leaned toward chip manufacturing and process technology. U.S. fabless chipmakers will need to sustain industry-leading design to stay ahead of rising Taiwanese and Chinese competitors and to maintain global market leadership. 

“Huawei Technologies Co has replaced more than 13,000 components in its range of products with local substitutes and redesigned over 4,000 circuit boards in the past three years, founder Ren Zhengfei said, offering a glimpse of its efforts to overcome years of US sanctions.

Ren, 78, said the production of circuit boards has “stabilised” after the Chinese telecoms giant developed replacement parts from domestic sources, according to a transcript of his speech published by Nanjing University on Friday. Huawei will launch MetaERP, its own resources planning system, next month and fully use its own operating system, data system, compiler and language, it added.

Meanwhile, Ren said Huawei spent US$23.8 billion on research and development in 2022. After its smartphone business was impacted by the US sanctions, the company began looking for more opportunities in enterprise solutions, such as helping traditional industries to digitalise their operations.”

In my conversation with Paul Scanlan, CTO of Huawei’s carrier group during a dinner at MWC 2023, he indicated that Huawei had largely solved their supply chain issues by revisiting and revamping the system designs of all their products as part of their own resiliency strategy in response continually worsening US chip sanctions that have crimped their supply critical components. 

However, Paul confirmed that proactive stockpiling of chips bought the company the time it needed to redesign and, in instances, improve their product lines with the rethinking of system architectures and designs. This has enabled them to continue delivering highly competitive solutions that have protected their telco equipment market share.

Software is also another area where Huawei continues to innovate and aspires to establish a third global consumer and enterprise ecosystem based on Harmony OS and HMS Core.

“To accelerate enterprise adoption of generative AI, NVIDIA today announced a set of cloud services that enable businesses to build, refine and operate custom large language models and generative AI models that are trained with their own proprietary data and created for their unique domain-specific tasks.

Getty Images, Morningstar, Quantiphi and Shutterstock are among the companies that will be creating and using AI models, applications and services being built with the new NVIDIA AI Foundations services that span language, images, video and 3D.

Enterprises can use the NVIDIA NeMo™ language service and the NVIDIA Picasso image, video and 3D service to build proprietary, domain-specific, generative AI applications for intelligent chat and customer support, professional content creation, digital simulation and more. Separately, NVIDIA today also announced new models for the NVIDIA BioNeMo™ cloud service for biology.”

I have expressed many concerns about the potential abuse, detrimental use, and limitations of generative AI applications and LLM (Large Language Models). 

Nvidia introduced a generative AI cloud service dubbed AI Foundations with three domain specific models: NeMo, Picasso, and BioNeMo. 

NeMo introduces Guardrail Services to help constrain and control the operating domain of a conversational AI app with the hope of arming operators with tools needed to curb rogue AI.

Picasso collaborates with Adobe, Getty Images, and Shutterstock to develop image and video generation models based on properly licensed copyright content.

Time will tell, but it seems like Nvidia has considered some of the big issues with public generative AI and is working some solutions that may ally our growing concerns.

“With expansive industry support.., Intel launched 4th Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors with Intel vRAN Boost.

By fully integrating vRAN acceleration into the Intel Xeon system-on-chip (SoC) and eliminating the need for an external accelerator card, Intel is delivering 2x the capacity gains gen over gen within the same power envelope¹ and up to an additional 20% power savings² with integrated acceleration, which is above and beyond the 4th Gen Intel Xeon platform’s already outstanding performance-per-watt gain. With this combination of processing innovations and feature integration, Intel expects 4th Gen Xeon Scalable processors with Intel vRAN Boost will match or better the performance-per-watt of the best Layer 1 SoC accelerator cards in the market today⁶, while delivering the benefits of software-defined, virtualized networks.”

The announcement of the 4th Gen Intel Xeon Scalable Processor (codename Sapphire Rapids) was a pretty big deal last month given the delays that have pushed its release off by a year. 

Intel’s announcement of a vRAN optimized version of Sapphire Rapids was hinted at during a briefing with Nick McKeown at Intel’s InnovatiON event last year. 

Sapphire Rapids with vRAN Boost is a super interesting architecture twist for vRAN. For the last couple of years, the frenzy in the industry has been purpose-built inline accelerator cards to handle the incredibly demanding Layer 1 processing that runs at the distributed unit (DU) and the radio unit (RU) of a RAN.

It will be interesting to see how the 4th Gen Xeon performs in the wild. It could be a game-changer.

“China’s internet watchdog is launching a cybersecurity investigation into the local sales of US memory chip giant Micron Technology to “safeguard national security”, signaling an increase in tech tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

The Cyber Security Review Office under the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said in a brief statement on Friday that the probe, which is the first ever into a foreign company by the office, has been launched to “safeguard key information infrastructure supply chain security” and to “prevent cyberspace security risks due to problematic products”.

It is also the first time that the Chinese government has targeted a US semiconductor company, as Washington tightens export controls on advanced chip products and equipment to China on national security concerns.”

This is a bold move by Chinese regulators who have up to this point refrained from pursuing their security and trust concerns regarding US semiconductor devices and technology against the backdrop of the Biden Administration placing YMTC (Yangtze Memory Technologies Co.) on the U.S. Department of Commerce BIS Entity List. YMTC is a direct competitor of Micron in NAND memory.

With Huawei providing hints that Chinese EDA firms can support 14nm+ designs, SMIC having ramped up their 7nm last year according to Tech Insights, and Micron citing the risk of their dependency on China for rare earth elements, Beijing seems to feel it can fire back.

This is an important event to monitor as it provides a good indication of how Beijing will play its cards in the ongoing chip war going forward.

Chart of the Month

OK, it’s not really a chart but a diagram. I had to get this one off my chest given all the digital twin discussions and debates that I have been getting into lately.

There is endless debate about what a digital twin is, how we need to think about them, what the scope and purpose of a digital twin are. All great questions that seem more difficult to answer and gain consensus on as time goes on.


We often hear digital twin referred to as a technology. I think this is the first step in the misunderstanding of digital twin. It is a concept, not a technology. A range of technologies can be used to implement a digital twin, but I see the digital twin as a logical construct that can be implemented based on available technology and enterprise systems.

In order to afford myself some intellectual license and latitude, I divorced myself from “digital twin”. Instead, I will share my thoughts on “virtual twin”.

The virtual twin is a unique virtual representation of a unique physical thing, meaning the physical thing exists. Michael Grieves, who originated the term and idea of digital twin will argue that my definition is not broad enough but, remember, I’m talking virtual twin.

A key attribute of the virtual twin is that it is entangled in some way and degree to the physical twin via a set of cyber-physical interfaces. The inbound interface is typically between a sensor on the physical twin that is providing telemetry and events to the virtual twin. On the outbound, the virtual twin includes controllers that interface with actuators on the physical twin to affect its behavior and condition in the physical realm. 

Without this entanglement, the virtual twin is just a virtual model. The virtual twin may inherit attributes and behaviors from the virtual model that determine its context and how it interacts with and in systems and semantic models across an enterprise.

Food for thought. neXt Curve is running a reThink Webcast series with Rick Bullotta, co-founder of Thingworx (acquired by PTC), and a renowned digital twin, IoT, AI celebrity to delve into and debate the details.

Check out the series by subscribing to the neXt Curve YouTube channel. 

reThink Insights

Check out the articles and the research notes that neXt Curve published this month as well as press quotes by the media on topics related to our research agenda. 

Go to our neXt Curve reThink research portal for more content and insights associated with our research agenda.

neXt Curve Monthly Musings

Check out this month’s musings on all things in tech and industry that matter to technology and business leaders by neXt Curve’s Executive Analyst, Leonard Lee.

For real-time insights and commentary from Leonard Lee, follow him on LinkedIn and on Twitter.

Semiconductor Tech & Trends

It seems that the CHIPS Act has been caught a bit out of synch. It is ticking when it should be tocking as we see signs of a rapid cooling of the semiconductor industry.

It’s important to recall that the CHIPS Act was conceived from the throes of the Coronavirus Pandemic, geopolitical fracturing, and resultant supply chain shocks that rippled across the globe. At the time, the semiconductor industry was booming as the PC, mobile, and data center segments experienced massive growth. 

On the other hand, the auto industry suffered debilitating chip shortages as consumer demand for vehicles quickly turned upward shortly after many U.S. automakers had cut their chip orders in response to the Pandemic crisis. This proved to be an unfortunate move that resulted in numerous plant shutdowns and millions of vehicles cut from production. 

In 2023 we are in a different place. One can argue that we are facing a chip industry slump and a growing global supply glut. Intel (Q4’21 down 35% YoY) and AMD (Q4’21 down 51% YoY) suffering large year-over-year declines in PC revenues in the last couple of quarters with more challenges ahead in 2023. Mobile is also taking a hit with reports from IDC and other research firms highlighting historic multi-quarter shipment declines globally.

The assumptions of three years ago that set the context for the NDAA (National Defense Appropriations Act) 2021 don’t seem in line with the ground truths that the semiconductor industry faces today.

Given the current state of the semiconductor industry, geopolitical situation, high interest rates with central banks racing to stem inflation, and the broad US tech sector market reset, does the CHIPS Act strategy need a realignment? 

With the broader electronics industry facing a significant softening, will the massive expansion of capacity around the globe in the next five years enable the U.S. to meet its CHIPS Act objectives, especially as TSMC and Samsung retain their manufacturing leadership on their respective home country turf?

These are questions neXt Curve will explore in the next few months.

Stay tuned for our insights on the matter at

The Future of Personal Computing

Tom Butler, Executive Director of Commercial Product Marketing at Lenovo, brandished a newly minted X13s in my face during our interview along with Vishal Shah, GM of XR where we talked about the future of personal computing and what Qualcomm calls the Connected Intelligent Edge.

This month, I finally got my hands on a Lenovo X13s Snapdragon courtesy of the team at Qualcomm. The X13s represent a potential inflection point for Windows-on-Arm. I have been eager to try it out.

The unit I received came fully loaded with the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 processor, which is Qualcomm’s latest Windows-on-Arm platform, 16 GB of memory, and 512MB of storage. It also sports a X55 5G Modem-RF System which I have had a chance to use thanks to a promotional eSIM subscription I received from T-Mobile. 

So, what do I think so far? Generally, I like it. As expected, the battery life is solid. I got about 15 hours of work use, nothing too intense. It’s fanless so it is quiet. The X13s works perfectly fine for most productivity workloads. I didn’t encounter anything that the X13s couldn’t handle during the course of my day. 

Straight up, this is not a gaming and heavy media production device. Firstly, most games are not supported and can’t be downloaded from the Microsoft Apps application onto the X13s. I had a hard time finding a compatible title. If you are looking for a gaming laptop with 15-hour battery life, the X13s is not for you. Good luck finding one.

While the X13s is not a tablet, it is lightweight, about the size of my iPad Pro, and has better battery life for those day trips to the Bay Area, long haul flights to Barcelona, and the ridiculously long days and nights at Mobile World Congress of back-to-back briefings, meetings, sessions, and dinners. 

The X13s is also more smartphone-ish, meaning it’s not as conventional as a x86 Windows PC. It’s a bit of a crossover experience thanks to some nice AI-enabled features that you find in Snapdragon-powered mobile devices such as Qualcomm’s Voice Suite for voice isolation and noise cancellation. As Alex Katouzian, SVP of Mobile, Compute, and XR at Qualcomm would tell you, Qualcomm is bringing mobile to the PC.  

That being said, I do feel that Qualcomm and Microsoft have work to do to unleash more of the power of the Snapdragon 8cx processor’s mobile heritage in creating a distinct and compelling Windows-on-Arm experience beyond the conventional Windows experience. This would help Windows-on-Arm stick out from the x86 dominated crowd.

Bottomline, the X13s fits my preference for a laptop. Why? I travel a lot and would characterize myself as a highly mobile computing power user. The X13s is a compelling option for the business traveler like me who is often on the go and isn’t gaming or rendering massive video files on the road.   

Telecoms Tech & Industry

One of the biggest impressions from my time at MWC 2023 was how troubled the topic of 5G monetization is and how out of tune vendor discourse generally was from the realities and priorities of operators who are facing a more challenging 5G modernization path than was advertised, and the highest interest rates seen in decades making investment 5G modernization difficult and ROI harder to realize. 

I had several discussions about this dilemma with Vardit Kuznik Bitan, VP of Product Marketing and Strategy at Amdocs, exploring how operational systems (BSS/OSS) modernization supports and enables “5G monetization” recognizing that most operators are dealing with diverse, complex systems and technology portfolios and facing challenging 5G journeys ahead of them. 

In principle, we agreed that before operators can contemplate aspirational monetization opportunities, 5G services, and business models, operators and vendors need to focus on three things to grease the wheels on their 5G modernization:

  • Firstly, operators need to establish a flexible, cloud-native, and modular core systems architecture and a framework and tools for unifying operational data across the business and systems. Compliance with industry standards and frameworks such as TM Forum’s Open Digital Architecture (ODA) will be important in helping operators evolve their operational systems portfolios in a modular and flexible way making systems integration and modernization efforts easier and ideally lower cost.
  • Secondly, ICT vendors need to help operators consolidate and simplify their systems and technology portfolios. This may mean encapsulating legacy systems in wrappers that allow them to “talk to” modern, cloud-native systems.
  • Third, operators will want to evolve their operational systems portfolio (BSS, OSS, CRM, and accounting) in a way that prioritizes features and capabilities that that foster operational flexibility. This will enable the operator to quickly deliver and monetize new services that avail themselves as the operator’s infrastructure progresses along its 5G modernization path.

Accelerating an operator’s 5G transformation and path to sustained ROI will increasingly require a full stack modernization strategy and road map. We don’t mean big bang approach though, according to Vardit, that is what some operators are looking for. “Full stack” means a mindful modernization strategy that considers the operators technological, operational, and business readiness to modernize. Yes, no one size or approach will fit or make sense for all.

Flexible architectures and tools will make the continuum of modernization more cost efficient and yield the new business and operational capabilities needed to monetize a more capable network infrastructure whether it is 4G or transitioning to one of two flavors of 5G. 

Thanks to Amdocs for sponsoring neXt Curve’s 5G monetization and modernization research agenda for MWC 2023. Check out the Amdocs booth vLog and Freestyle Billing and Digital Brands interviews to get a feel for Amdocs Customer Experience Suite (CES), eSIM Cloud, Amdocs’ partnership with Microsoft, and how Amdocs is enabling operators to accelerate their 5G modernization and monetization.

  • MWC 2023 Amdocs Booth Tour vLog (link)
  • MWC 2023 Amdocs Freestyle Billing and Balloon Tour vLog (link)
  • MWC 2023 Amdocs Digital Brands (link)

Media Highlights

This month, neXt Curve participated in the following internally produced and third-party media events. More media content featured by or featuring neXt Curve is available on our reThink YouTube channel and our media center.

Safe & Responsible Generative AI

Leonard Lee chats with Evan Kirstel

MWC 2023 Recap with Rob Tiffany

With the advent of Microsoft’s Bing Chat and Google’s Bard, what are the implications on consumer privacy and the public welfare and benefit beyond the gimmicks and the smoke and mirrors that is ChatGPT.

Leonard jumps on Evan Kirstel’s show to chat about neXt Curve, tech, the past, present, and future of industry research and consulting in an age of influencers and marketeers, responsible AI and privacy first.

Leonard Lee of neXt Curve and Rob Tiffany of Digital Insights have their belated event recap of Mobile World Congress 2023 which happened a month ago covering Open RAN, 5G Advanced, AI, massive IoT topics and more.

MWC 2023 Recap with Neil McRae

Lenovo ThinkStation DreamWorks vlog

Does Edge Require the Cloud?

Neil McRae, telecom tech thought leader, former chief architect at BT, joins Leonard Lee to exchange thoughts and takes from the largest trade event in the mobile wireless industry, MWC 2023.

neXt Curve toured the DreamWorks Animation studios a couple of days ago at a special Lenovo event where they unveiled their new line of ThinkStation workstations and Neptune HPC servers.

Leonard moderates a panel discussion at ZEDEDA Transform 2023 on the topic of edge cloud, the opportunities and challenges with Marilyn Basanta of VMware and Bryan Ashley of Aviatrix.

MWC 2023: Amdocs Digital Brands Update

5G Modernization & Monetization (Amdocs)

MWC 2023 Recap with Earl and Prakash

At MWC 2022 last year, neXt Curve had the opportunity to chat with Shahar Dumai, Head of Marketing of Digital Brands which at the time was a new Amdocs offering catering to MVNOs. Watch Amdocs’ 2023 update!

neXt Curve spoke with Amdocs in this sponsored vlog on the topics of 5G modernization and monetization opportunities that operators can capitalize on along their unique, individual 5G journeys.

neXt Curve’s Leonard Lee, EJL Wireless Research’s Earl Lum, and Tantra Analyst’s Prakash Sangam jump on a reThink webcast to share their thoughts and takes on Mobile World Congress 2023 with a focus on Open RAN and accelerators.

4th Gen Xeon with vRAN Boost

MWC 2023: Amdocs Freestyle Billing

MWC 2023 Preliminary Recap (Radio to RIC)

neXt Curve, had a chance to chat with Christina Rodriguez, VP of Wireless Networks at Intel to talk about the company’s 4th Gen Xeon Scalable Processor for vRAN with Sapphire Rapids and built-in vRAN Boost.

neXt Curve attended a special Amdocs launch party at MWC 2023 where Amdocs unveiled their Freestyle Billing product which allows operators to present bills in new ways that make billing a great customer experience.

Leonard Lee and Earl Lum of EJL Wireless Research are in Barcelona, Spain for MWC 2023 sharing their Radio to RIC takes from the Teatro Restaurant in Poble Sec an excellent restaurant with fabulous food and atmosphere.

Accelerating Industrial IoT Value (Timbergrove)

MWC 2023: Day 4 Takes

MWC 2023: Day 3 Takes

Leonard is joined by Ian Uriarte, CEO of Timbergrove in this sponsored reThink webcast to talk about accelerators and the role that Timbergrove’s Moonshot plays in helping Ian and his team deliver IIoT value. 

Leonard Lee kicks off Day 4 of Mobile World Congress 2023 with another full day of meetings and a hope that there will be some time toward the end of the day to just wander around and accidentally stumble onto something wonderful.

Leonard Lee kicks off Day 3 of Mobile World Congress 2023 with a really early morning start with a hot air balloon ride with the folks from Amdocs and a remainder of the day with a packed agenda in the halls of Fira Gran Via.

MWC 2023: Day 2 Takes

MWC 2023: Day 1 Takes

MWC 2023: Day 0 Takes

Welcome to Day 2 of MWC 2023. It’s a packed day with meetings with Nokia, Wind River, AMD, Amdocs, Qualcomm, IBM, Ciena, Arm, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Infosys, China Mobile, Red Hat, and more.

Check out the neXt Curve agenda for this year’s Mobile World Congress which promises and looks like a good one given the heavy inflow of people in the early morning of Day 1 and our packed schedule.

neXt Curve kicked off an early Mobile World Congress 2023 here in Barcelona with Earl Lum of EJL Wireless Research at our favorite restaurant and home of the BlackBerry Mojito – Cera 23.

Motorola Rollable Smartphone POC

Motorola Mobility’s Ruben Castano, Head of Customer Experience & Design, gave me a demo of their proof of concept of a rollable smartphone.

Event Highlights

This month, neXt Curve participated in the following virtual and in-person industry and technical events. For our full schedule of industry events refer to our event calendar. We also encourage you to follow neXt Curve’s LinkedIn company page.

MWC 2023

Date: Jan 31 to Feb 1, 2023

Location: Barcelona, Spain

Event Summary & Takes

Leonard Lee, executive analyst of neXt Curve attended Mobile World Congress 2023 held in Barcelona for five full days of engagement with vendors, operators, and innovators. 

It looks like after four years, MWC is back in near top form. Last year’s event was what many described as the Goldilocks event. Not too big, not too small. It was one of the more important years for the event as we saw the war in Ukraine reach a grisly and tragic anniversary, tensions between the US and China continue to rise with the spy balloon incident, the Open RAN movement continue to face reckoning and retrospection (a very good thing), and 5G scrapping the bottom of the trough of disillusionment as the industry at large struggles delivering the 5G Promise.

Our research agenda for MWC 2023 focused on the following themes:

  • Security & trust + Privacy First solutions
  • Open RAN
  • 5G Advanced and the state of 6G hype
  • mmWave and 5G FWA
  • Satellite cellular services
  • eSIM
  • Test, measurement & service assurance
  • Monetization, next-gen BSS
  • Service Management & Orchestration (SMO) & the RIC
  • Private networks for enterprise and industrial 
  • Connected car – CV2X and intelligent transportation infrastructure

There were so many takes this year that we put together a full event summary report. Make sure to check it out. Here are our key takes from MWC 2023.

  • Takeaway 1 – Open RAN Squid Game is in full effect
  • Takeaway 2 – xApps won’t matter without the RIC
  • Takeaway 3 – The 5G Advanced race is on
  • Takeaway 4 – Modernization is the key to monetization
  • Takeaway 5 – 5G FWA is a big deal
  • Takeaway 6 – Telco cloud is an uphill battle for hyperscalers
  • Takeaway 7 – The autonomous network is nascent
  • Takeaway 8 – 50 shades of Open RAN
  • Takeaway 9 – Metaverse is dead but has returned as a Web3 zombie
  • Takeaway 10 – Enterprise private 5G networks in POC purgatory
  • Takeaway 11 – The accelerator race goes into overdrive
  • Takeaway 12 – The 5G API Economy is nigh?
  • Takeaway 13 – eSIM is inevitable and a monetization enabler
  • Takeaway 14 – Technology indigestion 

Click this link to view the complete event summary article on the neXt Curve reThink research portal.

Thanks to Amdocs for sponsoring our 5G Modernization & Monetization research agenda for MWC 2023. Please check out the neXt Curve vLog featuring interviews with Amdocs Customer Experience Suite (CES) product leaders featuring Freestyle Billing, Amdocs’ partnership with Microsoft and their integration of CES with Dynamics CRM, eSIM Cloud, Digital Brands and more. 

Related Media & Press Releases

  • neXt Curve Mobile World Congress 2023 Report (link)
  • MWC 2023 Recap with Neil McRae (link)
  • MWC 2023 Recap with Rob Tiffany (link)
  • MWC 2023 Recap with Earl Lum and Prakash Sangam (link)
  • Radio-to-the-RIC MWC 2023 Recap with Earl Lum (link)
  • Amdocs Booth Tour (link)
  • Amdocs Digital Brands (link)
  • Amdocs Freestyle Billing (link)
  • Motorola Mobility MWC 2023 Analyst Briefing (link)
  • Motorola Rollable Smartphone POC (link)
  • Intel 4th Gen Xeon with Cristina Rodriguez (link)
  • MWC 2023 Day 0 Insights (link)
  • MWC 2023 Day 1 Insights (link)
  • MWC 2023 Day 2 Insights (link)
  • MWC 2023 Day 3 Insights (link)
  • MWC 2023 Day 4 Insights (link)

Companies Engaged: Amdocs, Qualcomm, Ericsson, Lenovo, Samsung Networks, AWS, Huawei, Arm, Intel, Nokia, Cohere Technologies, 5G Americas, Spirent, Motorola, HPE, Samsung Electronics, IBM, Red Hat, AMD, Infovista, Ciena, Marvell, Tech Mahindra, Wind River, Honor, Cisco

IoT Stars Barcelona 2023

Date: February 27, 2023

Location: Barcelona, Spain

Event Summary & Takes

Leonard Lee, executive analyst of neXt Curve attended IoT Stars 2023 held in Barcelona on the first day of MWC 2023. The event is a fixture in the neXt Curve MWC 2023 agenda and consistently draws industry and technology leaders and aspiring startups and practitioners looking to make something of the Internet of Things.

This year, the focus of IoT Stars was on delivering value and getting beyond just selling connectivity, a platform, and devices to customers. The siloed, build-it-they-will-come, and platform approach hasn’t helped scale the IoT opportunity as we have liked, or the forecasts have suggested in the past and the present. 

Here are our key takes from IoT Stars Barcelona 2023.

  • There seems to be some recognition that systems integration is important and the role of the SI instrumental in providing accountability for delivery, support, and solution longevity.  
  • The community is clearly understanding that the connectivity, the devices, and the “platform” are not enough.
  • In a fireside chat with Leonard and Afzal Mangal of IoT Creators discussed the new purpose of IoT and the importance of players in the IoT game having a clear idea of what their role and position is in the ecosystem, and that most players don’t have an ecosystem. They are part of one.
  • Is IoT dead? According to Ir Jaap Groot, CEO of Ignion, it very well could be. Maybe we just stop talking about IoT so much

Related Media & Press Releases

  • BREAKING NEWS! IoT Coffee Talk is hosting a live show during IoT Stars (link)
  • IoT Coffee Talk – Live at IoT Stars 2023 Barcelona (link)
  • IoT Stars Post-Event Dinner (link)
  • IoT Coffee Talk crew is back home at IoT Stars Barcelona (link)
  • IoT takeaways from MWC 2023, by Laurens Slats, Wevolver (link)

Companies Engaged: Blues Wireless, IoT Creators, DT, SORACOM, Kallipr, Nubix, RAK Wireless, Ignion, Monogoto, Ubidots, Multitech 

DreamWorks Studio Tour

Date: March 7, 2023

Location: Glendale, CA

Event Summary & Takes

Leonard Lee, executive analyst of neXt Curve attended an exclusive event hosted by Lenovo and DreamWorks Animation in Glendale. Lenovo unveiled their new line of ThinkStation workstations and servers co-designed with Aston Martin.

Here are our key takes from the Lenovo ThinkStation unveiling event at DreamWorks Animation studios.

  • Lenovo’s new line of ThinkStation workstations sport the latest and greatest in Intel processors and Nvidia GPUs. The top-of-the-line ThinkStation PX features Intel’s new 4th Gen Xeon Scalable processors up to 120 cores and up to four dual slot Nvidia RTX 6000 Ada Generation GPUs, and up to 2TB of DDR5 memory with high bandwidth PCIe Gen 5.
  • DreamWorks Animation’s on-campus datacenter has been around for more than a decade. The rendering farm features that latest in Lenovo’s Neptune warm water-cooled HPC servers. We saw two configurations, one the featured two 2-socket systems sporting Intel Xeon processors on a blade, and another configuration with four Nvidia GPUs and two Xeon processors. The Neptune servers have enabled DreamWorks to dramatically reduce cooling costs, reclaim and repurpose heat, and increase compute capabilities by 20%.
  • Computing at the edge and edge infrastructure is not going anywhere. It’s getting more powerful, more efficient, sustainable. According to DreamWorks, this stuff won’t be going to the public cloud anytime soon.

Related Media & Press Releases

  • Lenovo Delivers Extraordinary Levels of Performance, Power and Speed with the Launch of the ThinkStation PX, P7 and P5 (link)
  • High-Performance Imaginations – How DreamWorks Animation is bringing bigger, bolder ideas to life with Lenovo Neptune and High-Performance Computing solutions (link)
  • neXt Curve DreamWorks Animation Studio Tour (link)
  • Lenovo Showcases New PX, P7, P5 ThinkStation Workstations at DreamWorks Animation (link)

Companies Engaged: DreamWorks Animation, Lenovo, Intel, Nvidia

ZEDEDA Transform 2023

Date: March 16, 2023

Location: Virtual

Event Summary & Takes

Leonard Lee, executive analyst of neXt Curve attended ZEDEDA’s Transform 2023 event held virtually. For three years, ZEDEDA has put on what we consider as one of the best events on edge computing. I have had the privilege of moderating and participating in panel discussion at this and prior events. 

The event featured keynote and panel discussion with industry and technology leaders from ZEDEDA, VMware, Google Cloud, Emerson, Verizon, and more. General sessions were accompanied by business track and technical track session. You can register for ZEDEDA Transform 2023 to view the event content.  

Here are our key takes from ZEDEDA Transform 2023.

  • Father of Modern Edge Computing”, Dr. Satya, Professor of Carnegie Mellon University, presented a 4-tiered framework that represented today’s computing architecture, which has evolved from the 2-tiered cloud computing model. I thought that Dr. Satya’s comment that everything is happening in Tier 3 telling and reinforces my argument that the future of computing is not in the cloud. It is across the edge, or what ZEDEDA calls he “distributed edge”.
  • The edge cloud is the future of cloud. While I think the idea of distributed edge makes sense it is also obvious. What have been less obvious for folks is that the edge has always been distributed, it is just become more cloud like, meaning that cloud technologies, architectures, and operations are being adapted for the edge infrastructure. Think of it as scaling down. It comes with its own challenges to achieve what we can call “edge native”. Check out my Acceleration Economy session on edge native featured in my Cutting Edge column.

Related Media & Press Releases

  • Does The Edge Need Cloud? (with Marilyn Basanta, VMware and Bryan Ashley, Aviatrix) (link)
  • ZEDEDA Announces Dates, Keynote Speakers and Sponsors for ZEDEDA Transform 2023 (link)

Companies Engaged: ZEDEDA, VMware, Emerson, Rockwell Automation, LF Edge, SUSE, SLB, Aviatrix

IoT Slam 2023

Date: Mar 16 to 17, 2023

Location: Virtual

Event Summary & Takes

Leonard Lee, executive analyst of neXt Curve attended IoT Slam 2023 hosted by IoT Community. 

“The event marks the IoT Community’s twenty-second international IoT Slam branded conference – which provides the global IoT ecosystem with a unique opportunity to learn from innovative expert practitioners, about the “best of the best” use cases and best practices for enterprises designing, developing, and shaping the future of the enterprise and industrial IoT landscape.”

Here are our key takes from IoT Community’s IoT Slam 2023 event.

  • IoT core migration/assumption is a growing opportunity for system integrators and IoT core software companies that can help companies get off hyperscaler “IoT platforms” being sunset by players such as Google, IBM Watson, SAP, and Bosch, among others.
  • Innovation requires more than data. It requires judgement. Great perspective from Dr. Tom Bradicich, VP of Edge-to-Cloud and IoT at HPE.
  • Security should be top of mind, yet it is not on a consistent basis across industries. IT/OT convergence will create new security risks that would need security to be elevated as a priority to advance IoT especially in the industrial context.
  • IT/OT convergence may not be as big a deal if OT becomes more “IT like” with advancements in silicon, edge-native architectures, and software.
  • We are still taking about why Industry 4.0 has not been deployed at scale? One of the problems is that it is very commonly characterized as a technology. Industry 4.0 is not a technology. It is a concept, a framework at best. The way that many vendors, consultants, and analyst talk, expectations appear to have been far ahead of industry/market interest and appetite. Looks like someone put out a big Industry 4.0 forecast number disappointing many vendors who were banking on a massive TAM against a much smaller market and movement in reality. Typical hype cycle issue and let down.

Related Media & Press Releases

  • The IoT Community Announces the Agenda for the IoT Day Slam 2023 Virtual IoT Conference (link)

Companies Engaged: HPE, Clearblade, Oracle, SAS, Cisco, Zebra, Red Hat, Softserve, Spirent, Inmarsat, Phoenix Contact, Synadia, CBT, Link Labs, Intertrust, Otis, Ford 

Nvidia GTC 2023

Date: Mar 20 to 23, 2023

Location: Virtual

Event Summary & Takes

Leonard Lee, executive analyst of neXt Curve attended Nvidia’s 2023 Spring GTC (GPU Technology Conference) event that took place virtually this year.

GTC is Nvidia’s developer conference with over 800 sessions. Very overwhelming but we focused on a few things that align with our research agenda. Our focus areas included:

  • Smart vehicle systems
  • Omniverse & USD
  • Edge AI and edge computing
  • Generative AI and business applications
  • Virtual content production & tools
  • Digital twin and simulation and industrial applications

In addition to the GTC 2023 virtual event, we participated in a couple of automotive-focused analyst briefings with Danny Shapiro, VP of automotive at Nvidia and his team who went over some of the progress the company has made in advancing their chips and solutions in the auto industry. Danny announced that BYD, DeepRoute, Lenovo,, and Rica Technology are planning on building vehicles based on Nvidia DRIVE

We also had an exclusive analyst and media briefing with Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia where he spent a generous amount of time answering questions. Leonard had the chance to address Jensen on the challenges promoting and realizing responsible and trustworthy AI with the advent of ChatGPT and the rabid popularization of generative AI applications.

In his response to Leonard’s question, Jensen cited a number of areas of development for the fostering of trustworthy AI.

  • Output alignment and user support of reinforcement learning.
  • Moderation practices to control the user engagement with AI.
  •  Active moderation of chatbot AI using guardrail tools.
  • Narrowing of the prompting and dialogue. 
  • Augmentation of information that comes out of AI.

Here are our key takes from Nvidia’s GTC 2023 event.

  • Generative AI is largely an immature area of technology with many and significant areas that need continued research and development. Nvidia is engaged an astonishingly wide range of AI R&D initiatives to address issues such as the hallucination problem that afflicts Large Language Model (LLM) implementations. Nvidia is also explore how hallucinations can be leveraged in simulation and synthetic data generation.
  • While the generative AI craze is a welcome thing for Nvidia, it is difficult to see how the many emerging applications such as ChatGPT that are being built on top of LLM such as GPT-3 and soon GPT-4 can deliver transformative value given the known limitations of the technology. There are some narrow functions where it could prove to have utility, but broader value can only be proven over time. In regard to generative AI, our recommendation is to proceed with extreme caution.
  • Nvidia made a big move in advancing its AI development framework and assets with the introduction of AI Foundation for domain specific generative AI models. AI Foundations includes three models: NeMo for conversational AI, Picasso for visual content generation, and BioNeMo for drug discovery. 
  • A standout feature of AI Foundation was the Guardrail Service that is part of the NeMo model that allows for the setting of operational parameters for a LLM to moderate outputs/responses and user engagement with a conversational AI application such as ChatGPT. 
  • Omniverse continues to be a compelling part of Nvidia’s software and platform strategy. This year, Nvidia introduced Kit 105 which is the latest version of Omniverse’s kernel. It supports a fast-growing library of over 1,000 extensions that allow developers to rapidly build powerful tools for composing, viewing, and enabling multi-party collaborative design on virtual assets and immersive environments. 
  • The Automotive play looks like more of a data center play than an on-vehicle play given the moderating interest and priority on autonomous vehicles. There has been a notable shift toward and emphasis on ADASThe executive team shifted their view on opportunities towards auto manufacturing (BMW) and digital modeling/twinning of facilities, vehicle design and development, and simulation and model training for various vehicular AI applications including autonomous driving and ADAS.
  • We still love Grace CPU and the Grace Hopper superchip.                                                         

Related Media & Press Releases

  • Nvidia GTC 2023 Event site (link)
  • Nvidia GTC 2023 Analyst Roundtable with Jensen Huang (link)
  • Nvidia announces CuLitho at GTC 2023 (link)
  • neXt Curve LinkedIn Insights (link)

Companies Engaged: Nvidia

5G Blitz Week 2023

Date: Mar 27 to 30, 2023

Location: Virtual

Event Summary & Takes

Leonard Lee, executive analyst of neXt Curve attended 5G Blitz Week 2023 hosted by Fierce Wireless.

This year’s event examined the state of 5G progress and prospects for ultra-low latency provided by 5G in enabling many of the applications in industrial IoT, autonomous vehicles, smart cities and other areas of promise. The session agenda addressed the following topics:

  • The 5G Advanced Use Case – What’s Next for 5G?
  • 5G Fixed Wireless Access to and Through the Home – Speed, Latency, Reliability and Other Consumer Drivers.
  • 5G in 2023 – Industrial Milestones Achieved So Far
  • Connecting the 5G Ecosystem: Open 5G Core
  • Connecting the 5G Ecosystem: The Role of Open RAN
  • Connecting the 5G Ecosystem: Understanding 5G Haul Transport: Technology & Innovations
  • Connecting the 5G Ecosystem: 5G Fixed Wireless Access
  • Delivering Efficient 5G Standalone Architecture & Hyper-Automation

Here are our key takes from 5G Blitz Week 2023.

  • Strong impression that 5G is advancing on the technology front but the applications and adoption is lagging expectations confirming our view coming out of 2022 and MWC 2023.
  •  While 5G smartphones are proliferating as part of upgrade cycles, newer device categories have yet to gain traction.
  • 5G NR Light is regarded as a promising feature that is expected to bring about new applications and devices. It’s early days for RedCap and it does not look like it will have significant impact in the short term.
  • Public networks are in the early phases of their 5G evolution with only a handful of standalone networks in the wild. URLLC, while cited as the enabler or new 5G applications, is not likely realizable in today’s networks for a few years depending on 5G network technological maturity, quality of deployment, and coverage over high-value URLLC coverage/service areas.
  • From an operational perspective, network automation and the incorporation of autonomous, intent-driven capabilities is still far off for most operators, affirming one of neXt Curve’s key takes from MWC 2023.
  • 5G FWA holds promise and it was good to hear confirmation that it has potential in underserved urban areas, not just suburbs and rural regions.                                                        

Related Media & Press Releases

  • 5G Blitz Week 2023 event page on Fierce Wireless (link)

Companies Engaged: Qualcomm, Amdocs, Verizon Business, Red Hat, ServiceNow, Verizon, Cisco, Rakuten Mobile, Commscope, MediaTek, Telus, Vodafone Business, Three UK, Imagine Wireless, Ookla, US Cellular, Deutsche Telekom, Dish Wireless, MITRE Labs, 5G Americas, Rakuten Symphony, 

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