Why 5G + edge computing is a critical digital initiative

5G communication is now a reality, but many application and service providers are questioning how it can make money. The emergence of edge computing makes monetization more achievable, and 5G + edge computing is getting great buzz, traction, and attention.

But what is edge computing? Will Internet of Things (IoT) technology communication combined with 5G last into the future? What is the practical application of 5G + edge computing? Let’s discuss the implementation of 5G + edge computing, and its practical uses that can impact your business.

WHAT IS EDGE COMPUTING? 

In a traditional cloud or data center-based application, all device interactions and data are sent to a centralized processing system potentially located thousands of miles away. The application processing associated with these devices can consume a high amount of bandwidth, create higher latency, and deliver a less immersive experience.

On the other hand, edge computing is a distributed computing methodology that relocates computation and data storage closer to wherever it is needed, either at the edge of a network or in a device. With edge computing, issues common to data traveling long distances, such as latency and bandwidth constraints, are reduced.

Edge computing is still nascent but proliferating; many businesses are already using it for data-driven operations that require quick results. Even with some security challenges, edge computing can yield considerable benefits to traditional or cloud-based data centers working with connected devices and users.

When combined with 5G networking, edge computing provides a way to produce rapid response experiences. Processing the data closer to the source of end users and devices increases the responsiveness of the experience for the IoT or smart device. It reduces the bandwidth consumed by the centralized processing model.

WHY IS 5G + EDGE COMPUTING RELEVANT TO YOUR BUSINESS? 

Every five years, the number of devices connected to the internet doubles. In a populated area spanning roughly 300 square miles, there may be as many as a billion devices that will need network access in the future.

Computing has to become more distributed to respond effectively to the vast growth of devices and users we are experiencing in the new digital world. Current 4G networks can support around 4,000 devices per square mile, but 5G-connected networks may dramatically improve that number to as many as 3 million per square mile. The combination of 5G + edge computing gives technology providers a means to distribute part of the processing closer to users and devices, thereby providing a more responsive experience.

WHAT PRACTICAL USE CASES OF 5G + EDGE COMPUTING ARE EMERGING NOW?

The following practical use cases are some of the most prevalent scenarios in which 5G + edge has an impact at present, and where investment is happening for growth in the next few years.

Smart Mobility

Smart mobility is an intelligent network for transport and mobile transport devices giving rise to new mobility options. The ecosystem includes traditional motor vehicles, electric vehicles, public transportation, and new transportation modes like autonomous vehicles, bike and scooter sharing, and connected rail.

Media and Entertainment (M&E)

The impact of 5G + edge computing affects content distribution and consumption, too. Content becomes much more easily distributed because data is stored closer to the user, allowing M&E companies to deliver content and digital experiences more quickly and with much better performance. Social media users will be less frustrated because their feeds will load faster—even in periods of heavy traffic—while those watching live-stream videos will experience fewer choppy or pixelated videos.

Gaming

With 5G + edge computing, game developers and studios can distribute their content in a more distributed fashion closer to the end user. This change will reduce ping times and latency, thereby producing a more responsive and immersive gaming experience.

Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR)

This technology depends heavily on other technologies constantly emerging and maturing themselves, including display technologies, computer-graphics processing and rendering, and powerful compute processing to generate the virtual experience. Edge + 5G creates strong coaction between the immersive experience processed at the edge and the computationally excessive elements processed natively in the cloud.

Healthcare Devices

The rise of intelligent devices within the healthcare facility, at home, and on the go necessitates a more performant and reliable experience. Our phones have expanded beyond just tracking steps to covering things like blood sugar levels and smart breathalyzers, to name but a few. Placing the processing in the metropolitan areas where these devices are most present enables healthcare application providers to respond with a more performant, accurate, and reliable experience.

Smart Security Solutions

The explosive growth of cameras, carbon monoxide detectors, door locks, and motion detectors is only accelerating. There will be even more types of devices with more responsive and accurate real-time experiences to alert you to issues as they are happening with advanced detection and trend analysis.

Though many businesses are already using it for quick data-driven results, edge computing is still developing. Even with some current security concerns, edge computing can significantly benefit traditional data centers. 5G + edge computing is creating the opportunity for rapid advancements thought unrealistic just a couple of years ago. Understanding this emerging technology and how it can develop a better experience for your customers and your employees is essential. Working with an advisor to help you create a roadmap and guide you through the process will help you accelerate your success.


CEO, FifthVantage. We help you create clear and actionable technology strategies that power digital transformation for business success.

Computers and Technology