5Qs on 5G: With OMA

OMA's Elizabeth Rose

If only it were as easy as tearing the LTE infrastructure down and assembling a brand spanking new 5G system. One of the greatest challenges in the move to 5G though, may be in making it interoperable with its predecessor – where services need to co-exist across network layers.

The Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) was formed back in 2002 to deliver open specifications for interoperable services, bridging OS, device and network boundaries. Now, as 5G approaches, Communications Director Elizabeth Rose speaks to Inside5G about how the organisation has a role to play in building bridges between network generations. And look out for a coming analysis of the service environment in 5G – something the organisation calls Services2020.

What is the purpose and focus of OMA in terms of 5G?

OMA Enablers provide interoperability at the Service Layer (Layer 7) across different devices, geographies, service providers, operators, and networks – facilitating interoperability of the resulting product implementations.

“ensuring interoperability and the smooth migration of services from our current LTE networks to 5G”

As the industry migrates to 5G, standards will need to be put in place to ensure the same level of Service Layer interoperability across these new networks.

OMA is a member-driven organisation, so the focus of OMA’s 5G activities will be driven by the needs of our members.  As always, our focus will revolve around the Service Layer, ensuring interoperability and the smooth migration  of services from our current LTE networks to the 5G environment.

What are your targets in terms of output and results?

In the near term, OMA is working with Strategy Analytics to develop a study called, “Services 2020”. This study began with an industry survey that included service providers, device manufacturers, infrastructure suppliers, Si suppliers and software developers.

“study will be released in the second half of 2015”

The survey gathered opinions on the nature of services in the 5G environment, technologies that would be used to achieve those services and the rollout timing of those services.  The survey responses have been compiled and the study will be released in the second half of 2015.

Who are you collaborating with and why?

“OMA will collaborate with industry bodies such as 3GPP and NGMN who are working on requirements for the transport layer”

Specifically with regards to 5G, OMA will collaborate with industry bodies such as 3GPP and NGMN who are working on requirements for the transport layer.

OMA as an organisation collaborates with many other organisations. A list of organisations with whom OMA has liaison statements can be found here:  http://openmobilealliance.org/static/oma-annual-reports/pages/oma_2013_AR_industry_collaboration.html.

OMA is an international organisation that seeks to define specifications that are applicable in any geography across any network.

What can 5G enable?

In the next six years NFV and SDN will significantly impact both legacy mobile services and emerging ones. From a service layer perspective, the OMA Services 2020 survey found the following:

“existing services will expand – some significantly”

Legacy Services
Going forward a number of existing services will expand – some significantly, others only a little. Current legacy services include ‘native’ mobile services – Voice, HD Voice, Push to Talk (PTT), SMS, MMS, IMS and RCS-e joyn™ services – along with ‘walled garden’ and other approved operator services for multiple vertical markets as well as former WAP Forum and SyncML™ applications.

Emerging End User Services
Emerging Services include ‘Over the Top’ (OTT) and SIP based services that may be integrated with the above capabilities, as well as the emerging plethora of mHealth, mCommerce, Automotive, Location, Advertising, Machine to Machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) services.

What are the main challenges for you in terms of 5G?

“Bringing … industries to the table as we standardise 5G will be challenging, but necessary”

One challenge that OMA is seeking to address is the merging of requirements from industries that have not traditionally participated in wireless standards development.

As mentioned above, 5G services will include mCommerce, mHealth, Automotive and a number of other industries that will have specific requirements for their data connectivity.  Bringing these industries to the table as we standardise 5G will be challenging, but necessary to fulfil the promise of 5G.

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