Software for 5G
The next generation of mobile broadband, 5G, is nearing its time. The technology promises to allow mobile consumers to browse the web at 10x current speed, stream 4K videos with little to no delay, and experience entirely new versions of entertainment and media. The forthcoming arrival of the next generation of wireless technology, however, is much more than just about a better mobile experience. 5G represents a new, digital underpinning that will allow virtually everything around us to be connected, and in doing so create opportunities for new businesses.
Certainly, there will be companies that leverage 5G to fundamentally change the way things operate across sectors, from healthcare to manufacturing and beyond. However, there’s also a very interesting opportunity for businesses to develop in support of the paradigm shifts.
Orchestration of Hyper-local Compute:
With 5G, connectivity will reach an entirely new level. Hundreds of thousands – even potentially millions – of simultaneously connected devices will spread throughout our world, and with it the need for near real-time analytics and services. Whether powering IoT, self-driving vehicles, drones, or smart cities, edge computing will play a massive role in supporting the proliferation of connected devices that accomplish incredible tasks. With edge, an entirely new infrastructure is starting to emerge. On-device computing and micro data centers that are as close as possible to the consumption point will be commonplace. This new foundation, however, will require the development of software that can orchestrate the real-time delivery of compute to all of the devices, securely and without delay.
There will also need to be tools and frameworks that make it simple to deploy, manage, and provision all of the applications and their hardware counterparts. Network virtualization will be a key part of making this happen. In many ways, the full promise of 5G cannot be realized without software-based networking, which dramatically brings down CAPEX and OPEX, all the while lowering the time-to-market and increasing network flexibility. As 5G begins to roll-out, there will soon be startups that begin to fill the demand for this technology.
With the spread of millions of connected devices, virtualized networks, near-point data centers and edge computing, will come a great deal of complexity. Network providers will have to rely on tools to help them understand how their network is operating and what can be done to further optimize network delivery. Because software-based networks will become the norm, providers will be able to further rely on ML/AI to manage their networks, providing advanced insights that can minimize network failures and aid in troubleshooting, mitigation, and remediation.
5G will fundamentally change how our world operates. It will open up a new set of network interactions and connectivity. Opportunities exist for software companies to help build the underlying services and applications that will support 5G, so that it can live up to its game changing potential.
I'm currently exploring this topic further via a WIP report. I'll regularly make updates to this report, feel free to use at your own convenience, but realize it's still a work-in-progress.