Intel, NTT and Sony join forces on a new global forum for 'smart world,' photonics and edge computing

Intel, NTT and Sony are putting their collective weight behind a new forum that will bring all of the elements of photonics network infrastructure under one roof.

The Innovative Optical and Wireless Network (IOWN) Global Forum will draw a bead on developing silicon photonics, edge computing and connected computing through frameworks, specifications and reference designs.

“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," said Intel CEO Bob Swan, in a statement. "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. The combination of superfast 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 photonics research and development will include future photonic devices, photonic network equipment and an end-to-end architecture, all of which will be powered by advances in photonics/ electronics convergence technologies. The goals are to reduce power consumption and enable instant access and response times by shortening latency and broadening transmission capacity.

"NTT has a long history in photonics-related R&D and has achieved cutting-edge results in fields like silicon photonics and optoelectronic convergence," said NTT CEO Jun Sawada, in a statement. "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. 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."

RELATED: IBM turns up the heat on open source Kubernetes with Kabanero project

For connected compute, which is expected to be critical for computing across networks, the forum will look at using artificial intelligence in tandem with workloads that are dynamic and distributed.

The forum will also focus on use cases and best practices for "smart world" applications, and enabling technologies such as digital twin computing, which is a computing paradigm that enables humans and things in the real world to be re-created and interact without restrictions in cyberspace; R&D for human behavior and society modeling; large-scale simulations and next generation user interface and user experience device technologies.

Next generation communications hold the promise for improving many aspects of life, including remote healthcare, disaster prevention, education, automated driving, sports and entertainment and industrial manufacturing. On that note, IOWN's stated goal is to "deliver the next generation of communications infrastructure that will allow as many people as possible to advantage of this future."

Technology, telecommunications and other industry organizations will be invited to join the forum. NTT, Intel and Sony are serving as the founding members. In the coming months, NTT, Intel and Sony will pick the initial board of the IOWN Global Forum to jointly kick off operations.

IOWN Global Forum will be based in the U.S., and membership opportunities are currently available to interested parties.