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Nokia plans to invest €360 million in software, hardware and chip design at its Ulm and Nuremberg sites, in order to ‘strengthen Europe's competitiveness and innovative power.’
January 17, 2024
It’s a four-year job, classified as a European IPCEI (Important Projects of Common European Interest) project, and is being funded by Nokia, the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK), and the German states of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria.
The purpose of the project is to look at the integrated development of software, hardware and high-performance systems-on-chips based on a digital twin, intended for use in radio and optical products for 5G-Advanced and 6G, when it gets here.
Another area the bag of cash will be thrown at is the energy efficiency of these systems, on which it is working with research institutes and universities, and is backed by ‘long-term’ IPCEI investment and funding.
The project is ‘expected to strengthen Europe's competitiveness and innovative power’ in the field of microelectronics for things such as 6G and AI, the metaverse, and ‘advance digitalization’ – whatever that is.
Ultimately, the systems this project is tinkering with are supposed to help to make networks more energy-efficient and more powerful at the same time, says the release..
“This important funding will support our efforts to advance the telecommunications industry in Germany and in Europe, helping to drive innovation and strengthen competitiveness,” said Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks at Nokia. “In particular, it will help our research into microelectronics that will power future technologies such as 6G, artificial intelligence and the metaverse as well as develop networks that are more energy-efficient and powerful. Germany is an important market for Nokia, and we look forward to working with the government to produce cutting-edge technology that is ‘Made in Germany’.”
The chips aspect of this project in particular, as well as the ‘made in Germany’ slogan’ would seem to place it under the umbrella of efforts many Western countries are making to foster some more home grown technological chops in crucial areas of the tech supply chain.
In this sense it can be seen alongside projects like the CHIPS act in the US, albeit on a much smaller scale. Indeed, while €360 million isn’t exactly pocket change (and seems to be mainly concerning design as opposed to fabs and such), the problem with trying to play the chip game is the staggeringly high buy in that’s required to have a seat at the table – as exemplified by Korea’s announcement to build a $471 billion semiconductor 'mega cluster' yesterday.
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