CCW 2024 speaker focus: Dr Jolly Wong

Jolly Wong discusses the biggest challenges for the sector, and the sessions he’s most looking forward to, at this year’s Critical Communications World

Dr Jolly Wong

Can you describe what you’ll be talking about during your session at CCW 2024? Why is it an important topic? 

The transformative development of the mission-critical communications sector is poised to be significantly impacted by emerging technologies over the next five years. I shall explore and share my views on the key issues, opportunities, and challenges with other speakers at the ‘Future Technology Discussion’ on 14 May.

What do you see as being the big issues and challenges for the sector over the next five years? 

Over the next five years, I see four big issues commonly shared by the sector: reliability and resilience, interoperability, security, and transition from legacy systems.

First, reliability and resilience. All mission-critical systems demand high reliability and resilience. It’s mandatory to ensure that emerging technologies meet these stringent requirements, such as 99.999 percent -  ‘five nines’ - uptime guarantee. This means no more than 5.26 minutes downtime a year.

Innovating by adopting emerging technologies without compromising the reliability of critical services is a challenge for delicate balance.

Second, interoperability. Given advances in technology such as 5G, IoT, and Gen AI, integrating diverse technologies while maintaining seamless communication across different networks certainly poses another challenge.

Thirdly is security risk. Protecting mission-critical communications from cyber threats and ensuring data privacy are paramount.

Finally, there’s the transition from legacy systems. Migrating from legacy systems to modern technologies without disrupting essential services is complex. It requires substantial investment to upgrade infrastructure and adopt emerging technologies.

Likewise, personnel need training and skill development to operate and maintain new systems effectively. It’s also essential in navigating regulatory frameworks, while implementing new technologies.

What will likely be the most transformative development over the next five years in terms of the technology? What will that mean for user operations, as well as the broader market? 

I think the most transformative development over the next five years will likely be IoT and Edge AI computing. End users, such as emergency responders, can leverage platform of IoT devices, such as sensors and CCTV, for real-time data collection, as well as supporting decision-making. AI-driven insights can optimise resource allocation and improve emergency preparedness and response.

What opportunities do you see for the sector in the current environment? What big changes would you like to see in the world of critical communications? 

I believe 5G broadband connectivity, with its ultra-reliable low-latency communication [URLLC], will enhance mission-critical services. Together with IoT and edge AI computing, the world of critical communications will truly experience the power of real-time critical applications in relation to situation awareness.

What key messages or take-home points would you like people to get from your session? What will be most useful to them from a practical point of view?

The mission-critical communications sector faces a dynamic landscape where emerging technologies offer immense potential, but also demand careful planning, investment, and collaboration to ensure a secure and efficient future.

Which conference sessions are you most looking forward to seeing?

I’m looking forward to seeing sessions on ‘Connecting Securely with All Players.’ This is because it covers the respective perspectives and priorities of different stakeholders, such as network providers, end users, industry experts and vertical sectors.

I look forward to seeing everyone in Dubai soon.