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Celestino García (Samsung España) at ESADE: ‘We will begin the first 5G trials at the Winter Olympic Games in Korea’

‘Hundreds of millions of devices are online, but with 5G we will make the leap to billions,’ announced the corporate vice-president of Samsung España. ‘5G will be the real start of the internet of things.’

Samsung will begin the first trials of 5G technology during the Olympic Winter Games in South Korea,’ announced Celestino García, vice-president of Samsung España during a new session of 'Desayunos ESADE Alumni’ held today at the ESADE campus in Madrid. He explained that the first ‘major connection' in terms of speed and volume will be made during the 2018 winter games that will take place in Samsung’s home nation. ‘Hundreds of millions of devices have been connected to date, but with 5G we will jump to billions. It will be the real start of the internet of things (IoT),’ he said. Samsung is the brand with the second largest number of patents in the world, behind IBM.

‘We are at the beginning of something massive,’ Celestino García explained. ‘We are moving from connectivity to hyperconnectivity. In 2020, the 700 million devices that leave our factories will talk to each other. A “revolution” is now possible among the more than 1.3 billion mobile terminals around the world thanks to the convergence of three fundamental factors: we can miniaturize everything, in an affordable way, and we will soon be able to provide complete autonomy – not just for days – but for weeks, months, or years,’ he added.

To achieve this challenge and many others, García uses the concept of ‘co-petidor’ (collaborator and competitor): ‘I do not believe any company can say that it has the complete recipe for innovation, and so we support ecosystems and open platforms, where collaboration among competitors accelerates progress in the industry.’ He highlighted the recent launch of 'SmartThings Hub', a platform that Samsung has designed to connect devices from different manufacturers. ‘To make it universal we removed the word Samsung from the name,’ he said.

From artificial intelligence to control of uncertainty

For García, the next step to hyperconnection is artificial intelligence: ‘we are talking about a technology that understands natural language. This will break the communication barrier with devices and means we can literally speak to things’. Proof of this is Bixby, Samsung's virtual assistant who, as García explains, ‘can already see’.

These and other vanguard developments are possible thanks to Samsung’s major commitment to R&D: ‘we are the second group in the world in research investment and we have 36 R&D centres employing more than 66,000 engineers. However, despite these and other impressive figures announced by Samsung Electronics, such as the 20 devices manufactured every second, or the fact that Samsung is number one in the production of semiconductors, García insists that the key to the success of Samsung is humility. ‘If tomorrow we wrongly read consumer needs, then the market will throw us out of the industry,’ he said. He went on to mention four major future trends: the need for connectivity; increases in urban population densities; increases in life expectancy; and control of uncertainty.  

García described the current priorities of the Korean giant: ‘Big data and security is the base of our pyramid; then comes the internet of things and artificial intelligence; and at the top we have Bixby, Samsung DeX (which connects mobile devices to a mouse, a keyboard, and a screen to become PCs), Samsung Connect (a home automation application for remotely controlling devices in the home), Samsung Pay (a mobile payment system), Samsung Pass (an identity management service for secure access using biometric data), and Samsung Health (an application for monitoring exercise, nutrition, and sleep).’

Celestino García was accompanied in this session of 'Desayunos ESADE Alumni' by Pedro Navarro, executive vice-president of the ESADE Foundation.