Why does 5G matter in a world of IoT, VR, AR, AI and Edge?
The long-term answer could be “potential”. When 4G was launched people looked forward to better smartphone performance, voice over LTE, new apps – but who could have predicted new world-shifting services like Uber? Perhaps 5G is better explored as opening doors of possibility, rather than enabling or enhancing specific applications.
Machine learning and AI depends on mining massive quantities of data, and an IoT can link thousands of sensors in the field to feed back such data. But even with 5G’s greater capacity, it makes sense to pre-process the data closer to the Edge. An autonomous vehicle, for example, will be a data center on wheels, making real-time decisions requiring minimal latency while sharing performance and environmental data to and from the cloud. AI models developed in a central database will be pushed out to the edge for real world inferencing applications, while 5G, feeds back ongoing data for continuous learning and model enhancement.
VR and AR make exceptional demands on latency and – when deployed in critical applications such as medical diagnostics or surgical assistance – security and privacy become paramount. 5G network slicing enables QoS to be fine-tuned to application needs, but optimizing multiple services across a limited and expensive spectrum band is a major computational challenge only possible using sophisticated AI-informed automation.
How does one prepare for a future that opens so many possibilities? Decoupling hardware and software to create a general-purpose 5G Telco *plus* AI computing platform offers greater future flexibility, but can it match the immediate performance of custom solutions?
We are inviting a select panel of industry visionaries to explore the potential offered by 5G in a world of both intimate and exclusive connectivity, to discuss the challenges and suggest possible ways forward.
Analyst Chair: Patrick Filkins
Senior Research Analyst, IoT and Mobile Network Infrastructure, IDC