NTT, Intel, Sony found Innovative Optical and Wireless Network Global Forum

The organization will seek to develop technologies, frameworks, specifications, and reference designs for an all-photonic infrastructure that will meet future communications requirements.

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Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT), Intel Corp., and Sony Corp. have revealed plans to launch the Innovative Optical and Wireless Network (IOWN) Global Forum. The organization will seek to develop technologies, frameworks, specifications, and reference designs for an all-photonic infrastructure that will meet future communications requirements. Advances in silicon photonics, edge computing, and distributed connected computing will be cornerstones of this infrastructure, the companies say.

“Digital transformation and the growth of data is driving an infrastructure build-out that will dwarf the first era of the cloud defined by hyperscale 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,” explained Intel CEO Bob Swan. “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. The IOWN collaboration is an important step forward. A vision of this magnitude can only be achieved with global leaders across industries. Intel is honored to join forces with NTT and Sony in this industry-wide journey to help define the future of technology.”

The IOWN founders say their focus will include:

  • Photonics R&D, including photonic devices, photonic network equipment, and end-to-end architecture that leverages advances in photonic-electronic convergence technologies. The emphasis will be on reduction in power consumption, lower latency, and greater transmission capacity. The forum members are targeting a 100X improvement in these areas, according to a fact sheet Intel has made available.
  • Distributed connected computing, leveraging both artificial intelligence (AI) and dynamic, distributed workloads.
  • The development of use cases and best practices for such applications as digital twin computing (which the IOWN founders describe as “a computing paradigm that enables humans and things in the real world to be re-created and interact without restrictions in cyberspace”), R&D in human behavior and society modeling, large-scale simulations, and “real” UI/UX device technologies.

“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,” said Kenichiro Yoshida, president and CEO of Sony. “We are proud to stand together with NTT and Intel as we embark on the establishment of this forum and look forward to working with them and many other partners going forward, in order to create new value.”

“NTT has a long history in photonics-related R&D and has achieved cutting-edge results in fields like silicon photonics and optoelectronic convergence. Based on these technologies, NTT aims to power the next generation of technology innovation and solve many of today’s societal challenges, such as ever-increasing power consumption,” added Jun Sawada, president and CEO of NTT. “We will bring our leading R&D expertise to foster the photonics revolution and unlock new technologies to ultimately enable a smart world, where technology becomes so ‘natural’ that people are unaware of its presence. NTT is looking forward to collaborating with its best-in-class partners and realizing a smart world.”

IOWN will be based in the U.S.; the selection of board members is forthcoming. Those interested in joining can find more information on the IOWN website.

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