Imagine a manufacturer tracking the health of equipment to quickly identify potentially costly failures before they become costly. Or, continuously monitor quality issues in near-real time, even in high-speed manufacturing, to make adjustments to ensure consistency. Bringing computing, storage, and servers closer to where data is produced and consumed, edge computing is making such progress in manufacturing, retail, supply chains, and more, thanks to its combination of near-instantaneous computing power and consistent processing power. making the scenario a reality. , reliable connection. 5G and edge computing have the potential to transform enterprises, shaping the way organizations manage data, interact with customers, and drive innovation.
With that in mind, we spoke with two leading industry analysts consulting for Verizon, Zeus Kerravala, Principal Analyst at ZK Research, and Maribel Lopez, Principal Analyst at Lopez Research, to discuss mobile edge computing. and how enterprises are using mobile edge computing to operate and scale. Streamline performance.
Q. What is the difference in mobile edge computing?
Kerabala: Companies often have offsite data centers and use cloud services. Both are centralized computing models. That is, data is sent from the device to a central location where the data is calculated and back to the device. But in between are different types of edges (edges in cellular networks), closer to the user. They can be consumer edge, enterprise edge, and IoT edge. Edge has multiple definitions based on what you’re trying to accomplish or who you’re trying to serve.
Lopez: The centralized cloud computing model has several problems, including increased costs and delays. It also limits the opportunities to perform actions on the data in near real time. Companies that want to support rapid or near real-time analytics need to place computing power and analytics very close to where the data is generated. Adding compute to the mobile edge improves performance, speeds insights, and makes more efficient use of computing resources.
Mobile edge computing is very attractive because computing resources can be matched to application-specific requirements.
Q. How will 5G make the mobile edge even more powerful?
Lopez: When people think of 5G, they focus on speed and bandwidth. Yes, 5G can offer faster speeds and more bandwidth along with network reliability. Extremely low latency enables enterprises to support potential new use cases for mission-critical applications such as smart grids. And unlike the wireless connections we’ve come to, they are likely to be much closer to wired connections in terms of capacity. So you can run bandwidth-hungry applications like streaming movies or cloud gaming on the go. On the business side, 5G can use sensors to detect equipment behavior, send instructional messages to shut down production lines before equipment fails, and order parts before machines fail. It can help enhance services such as connected manufacturing that can This saves companies a lot of time and money.
Kerabala: It also allows you to extend the definition of edges to possibly previously unconnected locations. Consider a local retail store with poor connectivity. Deploying private 5G networks in these regions will give businesses access to high-speed connectivity.
Lopez: Whenever you think of crazy use cases like shutting down a robotic arm before it hits a person or another piece of equipment in a factory, you need to process the data within milliseconds. This is the hallmark of low latency and a key aspect that 5G can offer.
Q. What does that mean for businesses?
Kerabala: Historically, businesses have had to choose between fast wired connections and wireless convenience. Wired connections offer high speed and high connectivity, but limit flexibility in terms of the types of devices and applications that can be powered. And while Wi-Fi makes mobility possible, Wi-Fi is inconsistent and can cause unnecessary downtime. Therefore, 5G can offer parity by eliminating the need for wired connections to achieve true broadband connectivity. Increase agility without sacrificing internet connectivity. If you need to move the edge depending on the type of service you’re looking to deploy, 5G will make it possible.
Lopez: With mobile edge computing, you can choose which data to send to the cloud and which to process locally. Eliminating round trips for at least a fraction of the data means less money spent on unnecessary data transfers. You also get latency benefits because you don’t have to wait for data to come back from a more centralized cloud. Connect it to 5G and you’ll get unprecedented levels of speed and even lower latency. This means not only is computing closer through the mobile edge, but it moves faster, so you can take advantage of near real-time decision making. Zeus mentioned agility. All organizations are looking for ways to become more agile. I believe that 5G combined with the mobile edge can do just that.
The speed, reliability, and scalability of 5G, combined with mobile edge computing, makes data analysis easy, allowing businesses to quickly add new insights to their applications and services. This gives you more context and greater insight into the moment.
Q. How can enterprises take advantage of mobile edge computing?
Lopez: One way is to move to near-real-time, data-driven decision-making. Imagine connected ambulances streaming critical information to hospitals while on the move so that patients receive a higher level of care during the journey and upon arrival.
Then there’s the cost angle. If you send everything to the cloud and wait for it to come back, you pay for it all. Save time and money by processing data right at the edge.
Kerabala: Take oil and gas for example. Edge computing has the potential to enable analysis of more data in the field, such as measuring telemetry away from the pipeline or measuring environmental data. Computing can be taken to a remote location instead of being located elsewhere. This means you can spend more time working in the field.
Q. Will certain industries benefit more from 5G and the mobile edge than others?
Kerabala: I think edge computing can be applied to almost any industry, but I think 5G and edge computing can really apply to the types of companies that have already adopted 4G or private cellular networks. They already see the benefits of edge computing, and 5G components could be a speed and connectivity upgrade for them.
However, we expect to see more deployments in organizations that need to extend connectivity beyond the traditional boundaries of buildings where wired connectivity is not an option, such as venues and entertainment venues, campuses, universities and hospitals. .
Lopez: right. 5G and mobile edge computing enable a larger footprint with indoor and outdoor connectivity. All organizations with these needs, such as airports, which are highly connected environments. There are many moving parts, many travelers and staff, and edge computing can help managers understand a lot about their processes.
Edge computing solutions can support inventory tracking for aircraft maintenance, collect and analyze data from airplanes as they land, determine if repairs are needed, and dispatch staff for repairs. increase. In retail, businesses can use the mobile edge to support computer vision, reduce theft, understand when shelves are empty, and improve store layouts to improve foot traffic.
I believe every business has an opportunity for 5G and edge computing. Just figure out where to start and identify what you want to make easier.