Podcast 59: TADSummit Innovators, Tim Panton, There’s no such thing as 5G

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Tim Panton is the co-founder of pi.pe, and a TADS regular. The last time we talked was about the peer-to-peer baby monitor technology pi.pe licensed to a baby monitor company. The learning from that product is customers are not that concerned about the security and privacy of their baby monitors.

Tim pointed to the success of the cloud providers in giving the illusion of security and privacy. The story is also complex as consumers need to understand how the product is inherently secure and private. Plus we’ve all become numb to yet another security breach from a large consumer brand. We’ve even become numb to the spamming and scamming of the elderly resulting in many loosing their life savings.

Back to more uplifting topics. Tim’s been working on an RTC (Real Time Communications) project with racing cars, providing low latency 2 way video communications for driver training across many circuits around the world. Some of his learnings are, drivers do not talk that much, and the big one, there is no such thing as 5G!

What Tim means by that is 4G is always required for 5G to work, unless its standalone, 5G is a bag of technologies, frequencies with variable capabilities, and he’s never come across 5G Standalone, yet. And currently 5G appears optimized for YouTube streaming, not low latency communications.

One of the reasons Tim uses 5G rather than 4G is the additional capacity gives enough headroom for video to work reliably for a car travelling at 250 kmph. Tim targets 350 ms latency, he runs his own WebRTC stack which gives him lots of control for fine tuning performance.

While driver training for race cars is a high value niche, he’s also looking at other vertical applications such as remote supervision for drones and ‘autonomous’ cars. Another interesting niche is ensuring betting events have as close as possible to in-person experience so betting is fair.

He’s not looking for funding, rather partners that can use his close to real-time communications technology to solve regulatory or business operations issues.

Tim also highlights he uses a tourist SIM for this application, the cost per MB for IoT is orders of magnitude too high. I’ve heard this from numerous IoT innovators.

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