Market watcher ABI Research has published a report highlighting a “‘white space’ opportunity” for edge computing in the telecommunications sector, advising of impending “hero applications” including those addressing the needs of self-driving cars, augmented and virtual reality, and artificial intelligence.
“On one hand, the increasingly growing market for telco edge solutions and services is no doubt tomorrow’s opportunity, but it is one that is currently very complex in terms of technologies and competing stakeholders,” explains ABI Research analyst Don Alusha of the report. “MSPs, on the other hand, are in limbo – they understand the edge holds great potential, but they don’t yet know how to make money out of it. They need a ‘hero’ edge application to kick-start this market.”
These applications, Alusha explains, are beginning to arrive: data-heavy systems such as those in self-driving vehicles, augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) systems, and even the growing trend for embedded artificial intelligence systems, all of which rely on low-latency communications – the sort of low latency where sending data to and from a remote data centre simply isn’t possible, leaving only edge processing as an option.
“In the long run, telco edge deployments will become the de facto platforms to deliver services close to end users and enterprise facilities,” Alusha concludes. “5G and edge are partner technologies, and in the long term neither can become truly profitable without the other. It’s just that operators must identify both the enterprise vertical to prioritise and the ideal position of their edge servers. If they don’t do this immediately, Amazon, Google, and Facebook will target the very same enterprise verticals MSPs are trying to address. This will seriously devalue 5G and the future of mobile service providers in general.”
Edge processing as a key part of cellular infrastructure is at the heart of Lime Microsystems’ vision for the future of 5G and beyond: a key demonstration of this is the LimeNET CrowdCell small-cell network-in-a-box, which provides software-defined radio and general-purpose processing capabilities for the network edge in a modular plug-and-play design backed by an ‘app store’ model for easy deployment and role-switching. This is in addition to the existing LimeNET family and new LimeNET Micro, the latter of which offers hobbyists and educators a chance to experiment with edge network processing at a very low cost.
ABI Research’s full report is available to purchase now from its official website.