The Future of Edge Computing and 5G Technology

By 2023, 5G could make up one-fifth of all mobile data traffic, and edge computing is a quintessential infrastructure to realise this goal.

The fourth Industrial Revolution is all about automation and data generation. Currently, global technologies are generating more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data. As per the World Economic Forum, the figure will touch another 463 bytes of data per day in the coming years. However, this data is not glitch-free and comes with its own set of quandaries. Destination-based data analysis and storage may not be as efficient as one expects.

Moreover, the existing technological infrastructure such as central storage cannot entirely resolve user issues. Latency is another concern that may haunt professionals. When you unwind and put on Netflix on a Saturday evening, your browser may take time to load, leaving you understandably annoyed. This fraction of delay is latency and happens when data transverses to a central system and makes a round trip after analysis. This latency is exacerbated by the additional workload, causing traffic and bandwidth issues. An efficient alternative to these glitches is edge computing.

Massive Innovation

IBM defines edge computing as a distributed computing framework that brings enterprise applications closer to data sources such as IoT devices or local edge servers. Coherently put, the data need not travel from the end-user to core storage and data centres. Instead, it is processed and crunched at edges nearest to data generation points. The process subsidises latency and bandwidth issues associated with device-generated data when sent to central systems. Edge computing enables analysis and insights in real-time as it reduces the need to transfer bulky data across the network. This decentralised processing enhances operational efficiency and helps businesses render more satisfying consumer experiences. Faster insights and computing also improves response time for IoT-based services.

5G, a fifth-generation technology standard, is around the corner, and many businesses are investing in the technology to enhance their performance. A white paper by Ericsson revealed that by 2023, 5G would make up around one-fifth of all mobile data traffic, with a subscription uptake forecast reaching one billion. Edge computing is a quintessential infrastructure to realise this goal.

KC Choi, EVP of Global B2B Sales, Samsung Electronics, notes: “5G and edge will enable massive innovation for manufacturers, with 5G networks enabling phones and devices at the edge to deliver new AI-driven improvements to quality, productivity, and safety.”

In collaboration with IBM, Samsung developed and tested Industry 4.0 solutions using 5G and edge computing. IBM has also launched its IBM Edge Ecosystem to jump on the 5G edge computing bandwagon.

Vodafone has partnered with Amazon Web Services to launch edge computing in the UK to keep up with the trend. Insightful data can now be analysed in factories, near oil rigs, in cars – the sky’s the limit. The company will cover most user-absorbing areas, including sports, autonomous transport, biometric security, remote virtual reality and factory automation.

Banking, Healthcare and Retail Sectors

There are many sectors where edge computing can make an impact.

The gaming and media industry will likely undergo a revolution by deploying 5G edge computation to enable AR/VR experiences. Ericsson is in talks with Qualcomm Technologies and NVIDIA to bring this VR solution to market.

In the area of automation, Ori’s product, DNA, is an on-demand edge computing platform that produces network edge for developers and third parties. Through DNA, developers can simulate their workload and compose applications based on latency, availability and jitter.

Moreover, edge computing applications in banking have already revolutionised the outlook of the modern banking system. Most financial institutions around the UK incorporate portions of edge computing in their mobile apps. The technology has the potential to create a better customer experience through personalised content and anonymised location services data to provide businesses-based discounts and offers.

Intel’s Open Retail Initiative is another contender – deploying an open-source software solution using edge computing. While Microsoft has already announced the creation of Azure AI models for shelf analytics, keyword spotting and object detection using edge computing.

The software can open up new horizons in retail. Blaize is a London-based enterprise with an edge computing solution for the mobility, security, retail and industrial sectors.

Another industry where edge computing can create a level-playing field is healthcare. The post-pandemic has some global healthcare challenges to solve. With edge computing, users can monitor patients in real-time and create a personalised package for their customers. Causaly in the UK has developed a biomedical research tool on similar lines. The company says its search engine allows users to find answers to their health-related queries in seconds.

What makes edge computing and 5G in-demand are their diversifying applications – ranging from the most miniature sensor to an entire vehicle, ship, building or city. Keeping in mind the untapped potential of edge computing, the UK government developed a national centre of excellence at University College London a few years ago.

Edge computing has enormous untapped potential. With more remarkable technological progress, it can advance the least thinkable sectors.

Avya Chaudhary
Avya Chaudhary
Avya Chaudhary is an engineer turned writer and an ardent Potterhead. Currently associated with TechnologyAdvice as a freelance writer, Avya develops high-quality content for businesses. She also has a well-demonstrated history of working with NGOs and civil societies, and is currently pursuing her passion for community service and content marketing.
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