• There are many potential use cases in the enterprise for generative AI, but many will be enabled by existing cloud solutions.
• Some use cases requiring real-time responses may emerge, generating modest demand for MEC and/or 5G services.
Expectations of demand for 5G and multi-access edge computing (MEC) services from the enterprise segment are established – in part – on enabling artificial intelligence (AI) to be used in real-time applications. AI requires considerable computing power, usually achieved in the cloud where its demanding requirements can be scaled, but where such resources are too distant (due to network latency) to be relied upon for use cases where seconds or milliseconds in application response time can determine success or failure. There are other reasons why MEC makes sense in this scenario, including both the security benefits and cost savings achieved by not sending massive amounts of data to and from the cloud. With the recent hype around generative AI and the potential impact on various professions, industries, and organizations, it is worth considering whether its uptake will mean even more demand for MEC and/or 5G.
• Tech buzzwords work when they successfully communicate innovation in a catchy phrase.
• The emerging ‘AIoT’ construction is awkward, but it may help IoT providers communicate their value to knowledgeable tech audiences.
The concept of combining AI and IoT has been around for a few years. More recently, some tech market players have begun using the phraseology ‘AIoT’ to capture it. A good technology buzzword helps communicate instantly to tech and non-tech audiences what the innovation is all about, or at least provides a sizable hint. Both ‘artificial intelligence’ and ‘Internet of Things’ have been pretty good at this, but the mashup term AIoT (or ‘artificial intelligence of things’) is awkward, not self-explanatory, and ultimately, unhelpful.
• NB-IoT and LTE-M took several years to build market momentum due to the significant work required upfront by service providers and device makers.
• Despite that, low-power wide-area networks (LPWANs) remains a fundamental aspect of leading IoT service provider strategies.
LPWANs for IoT did not achieve the kind of growth that analysts, network operators, device makers, and even potential users (like utilities and local governments) predicted 10 years ago. Even five years ago, the IoT industry confidently expected the advent of narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) and LTE-M standards to kickstart deployments on a vast scale.
• The Global Mobile Suppliers’ Association (GSA) report demonstrates continued growth in private LTE/5G network deployments within key sectors and regions.
• The report is mostly consistent with GlobalData’s own market tracking data, but not always; variances in definitions and available data sources can account for discrepancies between the different databases.
The GSA has published its latest quarterly report on private cellular networks, adding data from another 66 new networks in Q3 2022 (and 214 during Q1 2022 to Q3 2022) for a total of 955. Its aggregate tracking statistics provide perhaps the most comprehensive view of trends in private LTE and 5G technology deployment over the last few years, given the participation of GSA members such as Ericsson, Huawei, Mavenir, and Nokia in the data collection. Among its key messages for Q3 2022 is that the three fastest-growing industry sectors had been mining, defense, and manufacturing. It also reports that manufacturing, education, and mining remain the three largest sectors in terms of number of deployments, although the actual size and scale of deployments varies by user type.
• NTT and VMware integrated their respective private network and edge compute offerings – both were originally launched in 2021 – to offer the new Edge-as-a-Service.
• The partners will go to market jointly and coordinate sales, marketing, and customer co-innovations, with NTT delivering the managed service across its global footprint.
NTT Ltd. and VMware launched Edge-as-a-Service, a fully managed edge compute platform that runs on the Intel network and edge infrastructure and is complemented by NTT’s existing private LTE/5G offering based on technology from Celona. NTT is using VMware’s Edge Compute Stack, an integrated virtual machine (VM) and container-based stack to help organizations modernize and secure edge-native apps close to end users, while VMware – despite already offering a private cellular connectivity platform built on components from Druid Software and ASOCS – is now adopting NTT’s Private 5G as part of its edge solution.
Vodafone’s data analytics strategy continues to focus on both internal and external opportunities to harvest data (including aggregated, anonymized customer data) for increased efficiency and monetization.
Its update briefing for analysts was notable more about its progress in the latter.
IoT is reducing costs, eliminating waste, and improving quality across the agriculture sector.
The next step is automation, with 5G-enabled robots in Sweden poised to get their hands dirty in the field.
There is now an autonomous ‘field robot’ which can pull weeds faster – and presumably more accurately – than any farmworker, at least according to Ekobot AB’s ‘precision agriculture’ tagline. The smart agriculture approach, which utilizes artificial intelligence, automation, and the public 5G network, should reduce costs and improve performance of the farm. Ekobot’s mission is to be able to offer practical and sustainable solutions to agricultural issues while reducing workloads with autonomous tools for vegetable farmers. Continue reading “Robot Farmers Will Require 5G, but Agriculture Is Already Getting Smart with IoT”→
‘Service robots’ are coming outdoors as 5G enables operation beyond the range of WiFi.
In Europe, early trials in the Nordics point towards both industrial and B2C use cases.
When 5G networks were first deployed in China, mobile robots were wheeled out almost immediately, demonstrating the possibilities of using the wireless network to control connected devices beyond the range of WiFi. As early as February of last year, makeshift hospitals set up in Wuhan to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic were using robots to perform ultrasonic scans, while on streets around the country, 5G-enabled robots were providing body temperature testing, spraying disinfectants, cleaning surfaces, and delivering prescriptions.
Private 5G networks using unlicensed spectrum could play a major role in the digital transformation of business operations, especially within industrial sectors. Having opened up the market, German regulator Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA) has already received 78 applications, all but four of which have been assigned.
A published list of private spectrum buyers is intended to let enterprises know who else has been approved, in order to avoid interference from overlapping use of radio frequencies in local deployments. So far, it is mostly network consulting and engineering specialists along with research and educational institutions that have gone public with their private spectrum applications.
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