Edge and 5G computing have long been considered as revolutionary in the world of technology, but only recently have we started to see the true potential and practical applications of these technologies emerge. According to the latest data from the Global Mobile Suppliers Association, there are over 1,650 commercially available 5G devices from 238 manufacturers, growing at a rate of 50% per year. These devices are able to gather, transmit, and process data across a wide range of systems, from aircraft to automobiles to factory floors and more.
One of the main issues with previous generations of wireless and edge computing has been the speed, which often did not deliver the low latency required for increasingly complex constellations of machines, devices, and corporate networks. However, with the arrival of 5G technology, and eventually 6G, the edge is set to become a new epicenter of innovation for organizations.
One of the most significant benefits of 5G is its lightning-fast speeds. According to a report by McKinsey, 5G will deliver network speeds that are about ten times faster than current speeds on 4G LTE networks, with expectations of speeds that are up to 100 times faster with 40 times faster latency. This means that applications such as AI-driven speech, written word, or computer-vision algorithms can now operate in real-time.
The high-speed edge that 5G enables also brings about a range of cutting-edge use cases. For example, in smart cities, high-speed edge enables the monitoring and management of traffic, pollution control, and even crime prevention. In autonomous vehicles, 5G allows for communication between vehicles and other connected, intelligent parts of the transportation grid. In the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), edge and 5G devices can enhance manufacturing processes and applications by measuring the efficiency of factory machines and environmental factors affecting operations. Additionally, technologies such as digital twins and extended reality (XR) are becoming more feasible and practical with the power and speed that 5G brings to the edge.
Ultimately, the growth of these technologies is not isolated. Adjacent technologies such as AI, microprocessors, and hybrid cloud are also contributing to the proliferation of edge and 5G innovation. The potential for these technologies to have a transformative impact on various industries, from manufacturing to medicine, is immense, and we are beginning to see the early stages of this shift.