Data is gold and businesses are constantly on the lookout to leverage the maximum value out of the data generated. What if there is a technology that helps you access all the relevant data at lightning speed!
That’s precisely what 5G does with edge computing; thus, making them flip sides of the same coin. You cannot talk about edge computing without talking about 5G. So, let’s dive deeper into the world of 5G and edge computing and wrap our heads around the concept.
What is edge computing?
Data, once generated, needs to travel to a central node for processing before it can return to its place of origin. This process usually involves large volumes of information and uses a lot of bandwidth as well.
Edge computing is a geographically distributed computing paradigm that allows for bringing data storage and computing closer. It not only saves time but also bandwidth. Edge computing is done near the user or at the source of data (tools, sensors, IoT, and smart devices) as opposed to relying on the cloud, therefore, making data come to you instead of you going to it.
What is 5G edge computing?
5G technology promises us better speed. Whether it is to stream content (videos, music, etc. ) or to automate factories with the help of IoT, 5G technology has got it covered. As per Intel, “5G networks will provide 50x more speed, 10x less latency, and 1,000x more capacity than 4G/LTE. This means 5G will be able to connect more devices and transmit more data than ever before, delivering fast connectivity and significantly enhanced user experiences”.
Edge computing helps with latency since it uses local computing i.e. it processes the data closer to where it is generated, thus saving time and allowing making decisions easier.
5G technology speed is ten times that of 4G, and edge computing decreases latency in the network, making them a great combination. Together, the two technologies significantly help in improving the performance of various applications as well as enabling the processing of huge amounts of data in real-time. Let us have a look at the primary benefits of 5G and edge computing
What are the advantages of adopting 5G edge computing?
1. Easier Adoption
Most companies rely on either 4G technology and/or cloud computing for their needs. Adopting 5G and edge computing does not require you to change your APIs, services, or even your hardware, nor does it affect your organizational functioning, on a larger level.
Additionally, 5G and edge computing not only allows you to experiment with new applications but also aids in improving the pre-existing application infrastructure by offering better performance metrics such as throughput, connectivity, and efficiency.
2. Improved Efficiency
As already mentioned, 5G and edge computing largely help with latency issues while also increasing the speed of your smart devices by 10 times as compared to 4G. This results in making the holistic user experience even better.
3. Enables innovation
The innovation of 4G has resulted in a lot of new developments in the tech world, leading to the “there’s an app for it” mentality, and just holistically becoming the foundation for the smartphone revolution.
When 5G is combined with edge computing, improvements are guaranteed in a lot of aspects such as latency, connectivity, throughput, and performance metrics. This super-powerful combination complements one another, as it aims at making services much more reliable and faster.
In the future, 5G and edge computing will enable a whole new era of apps that require data at lightning speed, are reliable, and have a huge network capability.
4. Cost Benefits
With technology like 5G and edge computing – companies will certainly generate some new revenue streams too like live streams at scale and gaming without consoles.
Be it a small business or a multinational corporation – all organizations pay attention to costs and strive to minimize them whenever and wherever they can. 5G and edge computing undoubtedly play a vital role in saving the bandwidth cost.
To facilitate concept clarity, let’s look at a few use cases.
Use cases of edge computing and 5G
1. Delivering content and personalizing features available to users
On average, an American consumes about 34 GB of content, data, and information per day. Thus, making it increasingly important for content delivery providers to deliver top-notch quality content and personalized features for their users. This will ensure a unique experience for each user.
To facilitate this, 5G and edge computing is being used to reduce latency and cache content on video, audio, music, text, OTT, and all other content platforms.
2. Mobile Edge Computing Applications
Users are increasingly relying on mobile devices to access and store personal as well as business data and operations. All this needs to be offloaded on the cloud to maintain efficiency, accessibility, and performance anytime, anywhere to save the mobile’s battery life.
All the social media platforms and content platforms like Fb, Twitter, Youtube, and Netflix are on the cloud. This is where the masses spend a major chunk of their day.
Hence, mobile operators are focusing on supportive and reliable solutions like 5G and edge computing-driven mobile edge computing (MEC) to fulfill the consumer expectations of speed, low bandwidth cost, and an immersive experience.
3. Predictive Maintenance
When machine learning, data analytics, 5G and edge computing come together, it creates an opportunity for business owners to preemptively identify any defects in machinery or products.
Through 5G edge computing, manufacturers can bring their storage units and data processing much closer to the equipment – thus, allowing them to analyze information in real-time with low latencies. In short, it helps them take a proactive versus a reactive approach towards machine maintenance.
4. Capability to Monitor Assets Remotely in the Gas and Oil Industry
The catastrophic consequences of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy in India and the Beirut blast in Lebanon have created enough evidence to highlight the need for the adoption of 5G and edge computing technology in the oil and gas sector. Using this technology within the gas and oil industry makes it possible to monitor the remotely located plants, effectively preventing mishaps and the loss of lives.
5. Connected and autonomous vehicles
As per a study by Morgan Stanley, it is estimated that autonomous or connected vehicles could generate over an hourly 40 terabytes of data. Keeping this requirement in mind, leveraging 5G and edge computing helps autonomous vehicles manage their needs better.
Edge computing reduces latency for these trucks and facilitates better communication between them, eliminating the need for a driver in each truck, except the one at the front of the platoon.
6. Monitoring systems in the healthcare sector
Using edge computing in hospital setups helps healthcare professionals recognize and understand problematic data that may require immediate attention. In that, edge computing helps healthcare professionals to respond in real-time to any emergencies or sudden changes in patient health by improving connectivity and latency between the hospital facility’s sensors and smart devices.
5G edge computing also enables hospitals to analyze data that comes from devices, equipment, and tools, helping them categorize it into data that is useful immediately, to be retained for use later, and even data that needs to be eliminated.
Edge computing works as an efficient traffic cop – clearing any traffic congestion on networks, in turn helping users make the best use of networks. Again, this facilitates an incredible cloud gaming experience for users as cloud gaming is highly dependent on latency.
As the gaming industry embraces 5G edge computing technology, most gaming companies are also moving towards lodging the edge servers closer to the gamers – to reduce latency and enhance gaming experiences.
Apart from this, 5G and edge computing is also used across other areas such as retail, smart homes, and even traffic management.
5G edge computing: What’s in it for IT leaders?
1. 5G and edge computing are helping drive innovation
4G exists since 2008 and with 5G entering the picture, the future has tons of possibilities. General Manager and Director of Product Management of AWS, George Elissaios said that 5G is an extremely transformational technology that gives improvements in a lot of metrics about performance, like latency, throughput, and connectivity. The IT sector will heavily benefit from these innovations as it will make their work better as well as smoother.
2. Helps with customer satisfaction and efficiency
The Vice President of global technology strategy and network cloud at Verizon, Srini Kalapala mentions that 5G and edge computing has the power to make factory settings extremely efficient. The more automated and digitized factories will become, the better will be the communication among various smart devices.
3. Lots of short-term and long-term returns
Data transfer costs considerably decrease when companies decide to use 5G technology instead of satellite communications. 5G and edge computing have the potential to generate completely new revenue streams for IT leaders and companies, in addition to bandwidth cost benefits.
Growth opportunities in 5G edge computing
1. Network management based on Artificial Intelligence: Enterprises are increasingly embracing virtualization and cloudification, which necessitates new levels of network automation. A lot of IoT applications require low latency, which in turn requires a shift to AI-enabled network management platforms that would open up a slew of new opportunities and make life easier.
2. Cloud-based virtualized networking: In recent years, the growing number of connections and the demand for lower latency have necessitated the implementation of some transformative cloud-based strategies in our lives. These could include – enabling simplified network management and network capability expansion.Enterprises are increasingly embracing virtualization and cloudification, which necessitates new levels of network automation. A lot of IoT applications require low latency, which in turn requires a shift to AI-enabled network management platforms that would open up a slew of new opportunities and make life easier.
3. SDN and NFV Technology: SDN, NFV, 5G and edge computing are the drivers that will help the communication industry to leapfrog into higher and more sophisticated communication network technologies. These technologies put together will cement the gap in the management of network resources with a higher level of automation, flexibility, and intelligence. Thus, facilitating cost optimization and an augmentative customer experience.
4. Network Operations Via DevOps: DevOps, being a continuous operation of testing, integration, and delivery, can hugely benefit from 5G and edge computing. Stakeholders understand the emphasis on software-defined networks and are intent on investing in reliable solutions (like 5G and edge computing) that facilitate it.
There is no doubt that 5G and edge computing provide several advantages over traditional forms of network architecture and will continue to play an important role for businesses in the future. Implementing transformative network strategies and modernizing enterprise networks will enable forward-thinking businesses to capitalize on this opportunity and deliver new services at the edge. Finally, 5G-enabled edge computing will assist businesses in placing intelligence where it is required to drive meaningful ROI and superior business outcomes.