There are two notable driving forces expected to bring significant change to the tech industry. First, we are at the emergence of 5G realization as networks are being upgraded and new devices enter into the market. Secondly, edge computing is taking over the past discussions of the cloud as the answer to bring analytics and insights in a real-time and automated manner. Let's skip the mechanics and deep tech discussion. Below are some basic thoughts around these two areas and why they are important to the future of work, smart cities, consumer entertainment, and much more.
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The Basics of 5G
As 5G networks are being launched in select cities, the industry is embracing new changes compared to 4G/LTE speeds. 5G brings the dawn of a new era where we connect machines, objects, people, cars, and more. The 5G infrastructure market brings new opportunities and potential applications that we have yet to unveil, and the industry is bracing for speeds that bring mass IoT to fruition, low latency critical communications that is ultra-reliable, and enhanced mobile broadband. Fixed wireless also becomes more of a reality across the nation, as 5G brings speeds that are expected to directly compete with cable and other high-speed Internet services.
At this stage we are at the cusp of exploring new use cases, hard-hitting applications, and new device roll-out (smartphones launching middle of 2019 and some hotspot devices). Even more important is what this means to businesses, consumers, and even government customers. Businesses are expected to leverage 5G for industrial and supply chain automation, connected vehicle enhancements, massive 5G IoT enabled sensor networks and systems, and much more. Consumers will experience new entertainment experiences on their phones, cars, and in the home that bring speeds we have yet to experience, and content that bring new levels of entertainment. Governments will leverage 5G for critical communications, smart city applications, and new city services. The opportunities are endless and the market is prime to engage, learn, and explore what 5G brings to the world.
The Basics of The Edge
Edge computing is an explosive topic for the tech industry, as we push intelligence to network end-points and devices as opposed to pushing data to the core/centralized cloud or to a remote server/datacenter. Chipset technologies have advanced where data analytics and decisions are being made at the equipment or device for critical decision making, business process improvement, and important action enablement. Edge computing combined with Internet of Things, brings simplification and new possibilities for immediate and real-time decision making for things like fleet management, asset tracking, supply chain management, advance manufacturing, building management, and improvements to smart cities.
Additional technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning solutions elevate automatic decision-making and are further executed to bring automation to new levels for businesses and government. Edge computing coupled with the convergence of AI and IoT (AIoT) will lead to “thinking” networks and systems that are becoming increasingly more capable of solving a wide range of problems across a diverse number of industry verticals. Additional benefits anticipated include creation of new customer experiences and improved consumer applications such as within the entertainment industry.
5G Research Reports
Edge Computing Research Reports
By Stephanie Atkinson, CEO CompassIntel/Chair IoT6
www.5gamericas.org | @5GAmericas
Last week was the annual 5G Americas annual Analyst Forum held in Dallas, Texas. The event was kicked off by the Chairman and CTO of T-Mobile US, Neville Ray (@NevilleRay). Just a few highlights to start off with regarding Neville's keynote, which clearly showcased the global and nationwide competitive angle 5G is being championed for and towards (also heard at MWCA in LA).
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND 5G
One of the first sessions I sat in on was focused around the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to 5G and future growth in IoT. Ericsson is utilizing AI tools and software to improve their radio access network (RAN) specific to configuration and optimization, while Samsung mentioned heavily investing (see Softbank news on AI investments) in AI at the cloud level to support in new customer experiences (cX) and improve video content services (noted example of having video content follow users). Cisco's perspective was a bit different as they are looking at AI to support in new learning algorithms (inference and information theory) around operations, as well as using AI tools and software for social impact initiatives. Lastly, Sprint mentioned leveraging AI to improve data quality, enhance machine learning tools, generating automatic code, and simplifying for categorization (think automated text categorization, read more here). Sprint also mentioned there may be a challenge with the human input and training is an issue.
5G AND ENTERPRISE IoT
On the low band, 5G is expected to support in scaling massive IoT, specific to low latency connected and sensor solutions, specific to industrial, infrastructure, operations, and even smart cities. The use cases revolve around asset tracking and monitoring, fleet tracking and monitoring, some transportation and container tracking, and applications specific to agriculture, factory automation/manufacturing (mass production), and others.
Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) has been a focus for companies like AT&T, as they made announcements this year. As shown earlier, the carriers all have different approaches to device roll-out, yet 5G smartphones is not expected until mid-2019. On another note, there are some upcoming changes to 5G devices and antenna placement. Devices may have 3 to 4 mmWave antennas as part of 5G enhancements, and this will help to manage hand cover up issues from a user experience perspective. Qualcomm mentioned that some devices still have 2G, and that the OEMs they work with are choosing what bands to include in the devices. The 3G to 4G shift was more concentrated around power management, while that will not be as much of an issue for the shift from 4G to 5G. New RF modules will be an area of focus for 5G devices. This session had participants from Qualcomm, Samsung, and Sprint.
5G, MORE USE CASES
Focusing beyond MBB, the industry participants mentioned we need to look above and beyond broadband and smartphone devices. Sprint is focused around the mid-band, so 5G smartphones is key to their 5G strategy. Sprint is currently looking at the partnership model for 5G use cases. The foundational use cases are centered around mobility and fixed wireless. Many are in the exploratory stage from an ecosystem perspective and are seeking support from partners, research analysts, advisors, and customers. Carriers will be seeking use cases to better monetize traffic, as current smartphone revenues and the growth trajectory remains fairly stable or flat. Consumer is behind overall, and Enterprise is leading in 5G use cases at this time. Smart cities is an area to explore as well, and CityBrain (by Alibaba) was mentioned as a good use case to explore in terms of true ROI.
MY TWO CENTS
Related 5G Research and Reports:
5G Optimization: Mobile Edge Computing and Network Slicing 2018 – 2023
Voice over 5G (Vo5G) Market
5G Security Market: Technologies, Solutions, and Market Outlook 2018 - 2023
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