Figure 1: Advantages of 5G
Edge computing with 5G
Edge computing is gaining traction as enterprises leverage distributed computing power to bring processing and data storage closer to the physical location. Next-gen technologies, including the internet of things (IoT), cloud computing, and software-defined networking (SDN), require vast volumes of data to be transmitted, analyzed, and processed in real-time. The advent of 5G promises to provide a fillip to cloud computing, helping organizations harness edge computing power with real-time connectivity across the spectrum of devices and the cloud. Future computing resources will be widely distributed across the networking landscape, with edge computing complementing centralized cloud computing environments.
Edge computing brings the power of a supercomputer to every device. Moving workloads from devices into the cloud, edge computing optimizes latency and reliability issues – two of cloud computing’s most significant limitations. At the same time, it facilitates substantial savings in processing resources by placing application components close to the devices. As a result, critical data is processed on the “edge” at lightning speed, while secondary data is processed on the cloud.
As 5G and edge grows in popularity, the industry is divided in its opinion on cloud computing’s future. Some experts argue that edge heralds the beginning of the end of cloud computing as we know it. However, the reality is likely that most forward-looking organizations will leverage the combined powers of edge computing and the public cloud to optimize and amplify their computing power and resources. 5G technologies facilitate increased network capacity and reduced latency, enabling public cloud service providers to offer fast delivery to enterprise mobile customers across a wide range of IoT-enabled devices. 5G will expand the cloud storage capacity for big data and support storage and data retrieval from the cloud at breakneck speeds. It will also enable faster machine-to-machine communication and lead to mobile cloud services’ growth, helping enterprise workers easily access virtual machines via their phones. 5G will also enable faster hotspots, giving remote workers reliable access to cloud services even with limited or poor internet connectivity.
This can transform how government organizations, large-scale enterprises, and large sectors, including healthcare and the education segment, operate. In developing nations like India, 5G can facilitate the growth of cloud computing services in rural areas that have previously had poor or zero access to high-speed internet. 5G can also facilitate large-scale adoption of IoT across industries, supporting a vast array of connected devices across a wide range.
The emergence of 5G along edge and cloud computing will result in superior capacity and flexibility, leading to the next generation of highly competitive IoT and cloud services, reducing costs, and boosting innovation.
Leverage the power of 5G, edge, and cloud
5G and edge computing can provide better control over data, faster processing and analysis, and seamless operational agility. Unified communications services used across organizations will benefit from 5G’s improved speed and service reliability. Here are three use cases of how 5G, together with IoT, edge computing, and cloud, can transform the landscape for organizations of the future:
Transformed healthcare: The adoption of 5G, cloud, and IoT has revolutionized healthcare during the pandemic. With patients hesitant to visit the hospital for fear of exposure to infection, 5G and IoT together enable remote monitoring and tracking of a patient’s health through various IoT enabled wearables and connected devices. Doctors can assess a patient’s health condition virtually and leverage the cloud to instantaneously analyze historical data on similar situations to determine the best course of treatment for the patient. What’s more, if the patient’s health records over the last 3-5 years are available on the cloud, the doctor can study the patient’s history to offer a more holistic diagnosis. 5G applications include:
- Enabling the transmission of heavy diagnostic files like PET and MRI scans in split seconds to the remotest areas
- Improving the use of AR and VR in healthcare for both simulated studies and improved patient engagement
- Supporting telemedicine and virtual consultation in remote, far-flung areas to provide healthcare access to millions who have hitherto been denied the basic services
Pivotal role in Insurance: 5G, IoT, and cloud have revolutionized the automobile and insurance segments. Automobile owners typically pay insurance premiums based on the age and value of the vehicle. However, it is not uncommon to find cases where the car is relatively new, but the premium is rather high. This is because insurance provision is linked to the driver’s license and driving history based on data and traffic violations logged against the license.
This has now been taken a step further with insurance providers in the US and other developed countries installing sensors in the car to study and determine driving patterns, including braking, speed, and acceleration in relation to other vehicles around them. All of this data is transmitted via IoT to the cloud, processed in batches, and analyzed thoroughly by insurance providers before determining the insurance amount.
Immersive retail experiences: A Gartner study revealed that by 2020, 100 million consumers would be using augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) for both online and in-store shopping.2 Adoption of AR and VR has been slow in retail despite all the hype and excitement. This is primarily due to connectivity and speed issues, as these devices need to access and process vast volumes of data on the fly. 5G, with IoT and edge, will revolutionize the mixed reality market, enabling these technologies to become mainstream, taking retail experiences to the next level. IoT-based facial recognition supported by 5G speed will provide retailers with the shoppers’ demographics and sentiments enabling a hyper customized shopping experience including real-time price and product updates. The combination of technologies also supports different payment systems with wearables and can eliminate lengthy queues at point-of-sale (PoS) terminals.
5G enabled computing: the next frontier
Imagine a world where there is no need for cables and wires to deliver communication or entertainment content to your devices at work and home. This will be the reality soon as network service providers across the globe prepare to embrace 5G.
5G and edge computing, combined with the cloud’s computational power, will improve response time, save bandwidth, and push processing and analyzing power and capabilities to the next frontier. Together, they have the potential to unleash an unmatched computing and communication power across the enterprise world, transforming the very nature of business operations across verticals.
1 Nokia, Accessed September 2020, https://www.nokia.com/networks/research/5g-enterprise-market-research/
2 Gartner, Accessed September 2020, https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2019-04-01-gartner-says-100-million-consumers-will-shop-in-augme