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The way that we live, work, learn and play has shifted dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic. As we navigate these uncharted waters, all of us must reimagine ways to stay connected at work, with family and with our social groups. As India remains the largest country of origin for international migrants with a 17.5 million-strong diaspora spread across the world – staying connected takes on a much greater significance. Fortunately, a growing array of technologies, including the new 5G network, can provide much-needed connections with others — and help all of us to feel less isolated.
Today, Indian families living across time zones celebrate life events and festivals on video streaming platforms. Fitness apps like CureFit are streaming daily workouts from their studios to encourage healthier lifestyles. Educators are turning to a variety of technology tools to deliver live lectures, upload video sessions and share whiteboard lessons with students. Millions of Indians are already using Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) platforms to learn new skills and enhance their employability. Telemedicine is helping to ease clinical problems from a distance especially for distant rural communities. These services help patients save travel and wait time as they can consult their doctor in the comfort of their homes.
Musicians have turned social media into virtual venues to remind us all that music can uplift our spirits and connect us in ways that in-person concerts never could. Singers, songwriters and bands have begun livestreaming performances in lieu of a postponed tours, causing a quantum shift in the relationship between audiences and artists, who traditionally are separated by physical barriers and security guards at concerts. Live streamed performances are more intimate experiences, that allow for real time interactions between artists and their fans via chats.
For isolated older adults who prefer living in their familiar homes, technology can be a boon — allowing for easy connectivity with loved ones and providing access to health care via telemedicine. Many are using social media, messaging and videoconferencing to maintain the human connection that is so essential despite the current obstacles. And increasingly, seniors are turning to telemedicine to receive a wide range of health services from their doctors without having to travel to a health care facility.
Acceleration of technology makes it possible
All these examples of staying connected and engaged during times of isolation are made possible by technology that didn’t exist even just five years ago. Imagine what this isolated lifestyle would be like if the COVID-19 pandemic happened in 2005 when smartphones didn’t exist, video chatting was crude and basic, and online services were just beginning. Additionally, the world’s cellular network was still on 3G back then, and our cell phones had very limited capabilities beyond voice calls.
The rollout of 5G, the fifth-generation cellular network that features downloading speeds reportedly 100 times faster than that of 4G (and about 500 times faster than 3G), is accelerating performance in a time that needs connectivity and bandwidth more than ever.
To understand how “staying at home” is affecting the network, let’s look at some numbers that have grown recently. Data from the Indian Department of Telecommunications (DoT) showed that between March 22 and March 28, Indians consumed an average of 307,963 TB or 307 petabytes (PB) of data causing a 13% spike in data usage during the lockdown. This prompted India’s telecom industry body, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), to write to the DoT and to 11 content streaming platforms urging them to use data as minimally and efficiently as possible given the extra surge in demand.
This dramatic increase in network traffic is requiring the communications industry — from internet service providers to data center infrastructure companies — to add capacity and engineering resources necessary to handle spikes and shift in use patterns. Ultimately, the amount of user data is exploding worldwide, putting strain on networks to store and move this data without performance bottlenecks.
The expanding role of memory and storage
To keep vast quantities of data moving efficiently for worldwide connectivity, cloud servers and the networks that glue them together need a lot of memory. Today’s cloud services offer virtually infinite amounts of capacity to satisfy our escalating needs for video-, audio- and livestreaming. The need for memory is only going to grow, both in the cloud and at the edge, as up-and-coming technologies (like artificial intelligence and virtual reality) become more prevalent in data centers and even in personal devices.
For connectivity applications to continue providing quality user experiences, they must use the combination of both the cloud and the intelligent edge to process massive quantities of data in real time. With 5G, the amount of data generated from user devices accelerates, requiring even more data to be stored, moved, processed and secured efficiently.
Micron has long been at the forefront of memory and storage technology, and we hold that place today with our powerful, fast DRAM memory chips, our high-density NAND flash memory, and innovative 3D XPoint™ technology. We are committed to helping keep the world’s 5G connections flowing by delivering memory innovation and engineering expertise to our customers and partners.
Knowing that Micron is doing our part to help everyone tune into the world outside our doors, even when we’re staying indoors, provides us with a sense of empowerment. And when we can’t visit the people we love in person, technology can act as a second set of eyes and ears, increasing connections and perhaps easing our worries.
Learn more at micron.com/5gmemory.