Why edge compute looks set to be 5G’s big moment

Discussions go on about 5G, in particular over the kind of applications and use cases that will drive its uptake to the next level and see it reach its full potential. It has not been an easy last 18 months for those with a stake in 5G, whether that’s operators trying to roll out services against the backdrop of the pandemic, or enterprises looking to fit it into their already extensive armoury of connectivity options.


It seems odd to still be talking about 5G’s future potential nearly three years after services were first launched, but these are not normal times. Now finally there is reason for excitement. There is some justification for anticipating 2022 as the year when 5G really will really find its feet. It looks set to be the moment when 5G’s core strengths will combine with an ever-growing list of enterprise IoT use cases, plus the power of real-time AI, to drive the adoption of new and innovative services for enterprises across the world. This trinity of technologies will assist enterprises looking to profit from so-called Industry 4.0 as they transition from a deep-rooted legacy past to a future of diverse, digitally-driven business models.


The first dividends of this trend will be felt at the network edge, where 5G was designed to shine. Edge compute has had a lot of fuss made about it over the past year, and with good reason. The global edge compute market is anticipated to hit $61.14 billion in value by 2028, representing a CAGR of 38.4% over the intervening period, according to a new report by Grand View Research. The analyst firm expects the amalgamation of AI into the edge ecosystem to drive market growth. AI-driven systems, bolstered by 5G connectivity, will be critical in helping enterprises make real-time business decisions in a matter of milliseconds, to name but one use case. 5G will help by addressing the issues of latency and bandwidth that have held back edge compute until now, or reduced it to a small subset of potential applications. AI will offer precision monitoring and a high degree of control and automation in edge applications where human input is either impossible or uneconomic.


Take manufacturing as one vertical area where the value of 5G, AI and IoT will drive value at the edge. Today’s production lines need to work fast and without interruption or delay. Low network latency is part of that, as is the need to process data as close as possible to where the manufacturing actually happens. Forget sending data to some distant data facility. AI-driven edge technology, powered by the latest generation of programmable processors, will be at the heart of various endpoint devices on the factory floor, such as smartphones, cameras, sensors, robots and a multitude of IoT devices. It’s not hard to think of similar applications in healthcare, logistics, fleet control and energy.


These and related topics will be discussed in some depth at an upcoming event that any stakeholder in this space would be well advised to tune into.

Featuring analyst chair Jeremiah Caron, Global Head of Research & Analysis – Technology Group, GlobalData who will be joined by industry experts including Ericsson, GEP, Nokia, and VMware.

By NetReporter Editor Guy Matthews

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