The ever-increasing interconnectivity of people and devices around the world has fueled the need for faster and more powerful ways of data collection and processing. Telcos that are the primary providers now look to edge and 5G connections as a way to deliver increased immersion for gamers, streamers, and e-sports fanatics who primarily access their media of choice from mobile devices. This change from current wireless connections to cloud computing offers new possibilities for customer satisfaction and revenue.
Why Edge and 5G Boost Immersive Power
From a technological standpoint, these new advancements offer faster speeds (low latency), higher bandwidth and more immediate access to people and companies outside the most active connectivity zones. As much as the world is crisscrossed with wireless signals these days, there are still places where connecting to the cloud for immersive entertainment experiences the diffusers with high latency and interruptions.
Existing broadband and 4G technologies serve most people near the telco hardware well enough to enjoy the latest games, watch videos on their smartphone, and take care of many business tasks on the go. 5G can reach speeds ten times faster than the 4G, ultra low latency and mobility. Combine this benefit with edge computing, and the same low latency experience will be available for everyone. Edge computing pulls processing out of the cloud and into local space. This can include an individual computer, local edge server, or IOT gadget.
The Human-Interest Factor in Low-latency Connections
With hundreds of billions of dollars involved in the gaming industry, no doubt exists that people are always on the lookout for more extreme experiences with less downtime and interruptions. As games become more advanced and resource hungry, telcos must keep up with demand and provide the type of service that makes it all possible.
These types of improvements go far beyond the realm of gaming and watching live streams, however. As the expectations and realities of constant high-speed access increase, 5G and Edge will fuel advances for business services, greater use of the Internet of Things (IoT) in both home and industrial settings, and ultra low latency dependent practices like distance medical care and telesurgery.
How Telecommunication Companies Missed the Mark
In the past, many telecommunications companies focused on industrial and business uses and providing residents with “fast enough” Internet services. They did not always focus specifically on target markets that needed the lowest latency and continuous uptime. Part of this may come from the difficulties associated with providing gamers or streamers precisely what they need. History shows a habit of playing catch-up with the hottest markets that rely on the Internet: streaming media, online music platforms, gaming in general, cloud computing, and more.
However, with the highest 5G speeds and new forays into edge computing, they can make up for past issues. Telcos may never design games, get involved in the smart gadget development world, or target medicine, mining, or manufacturing with specific systems. Instead, they have the opportunity to focus on their specialty in a brand-new way. By adopting newly available technology and combining its power, they can get out ahead of emerging connectivity needs.
Challenges of 5G Expansion and How Edge Computing Helps
With both technological and some political issues related to the grand-scale adoption of 5G power, its adoption is not spreading as quickly as the end-user or telecommunications companies may want. Part of this comes from the pure necessity of updating existing utilities to handle it. Other issues involve the millions of mobile devices, laptops and home computers, and smart gadgets that are not set up to work with 5G systems.
These issues create dead zones where a new 5G capable gadget will not operate. Companies across industries hesitate to switch their old gear out for new because it may not work correctly in all locations. For example, a service company that utilizes augmented reality (AR) headsets with tech repairs need that device to work no matter where they go for the next job. Latency or low bandwidth could make it impossible for them to function as the end client expects.
When edge computing gets into the mix, both the capability and accessibility increase, because the signal no longer has to travel as far for every processing task necessary to perform, some 4G connections may provide enough power to compensate for lack of 5G services. Where both are available, the technician trying to fix an HVAC system, a doctor performing telesurgery on a patient in an ambulance, or a gamer going for a high score will have the ultra-low latency they need to get the job done right.
How Telecommunication Companies Need to Make This Happen
Some cell phone and Internet service companies may consider development of devices with edge computing access. However, most will not. They look to staying relevant and increasing revenue by providing the fastest, most continuously connected, lowest latency, and highest bandwidth services to everyone in their coverage area. That has been their primary objective since the internet and wireless technology existed, and it most likely will continue even in the face of new technologies.
To do this, however, their efforts must involve rapid adoption of 5G, upgrading cell phone towers, and other existing infrastructure for edge computing processing, constructing new ones and optimizing everything along the way. Intelligent expansion of these unique and powerful technologies requires more than starting at a central hub and spreading outward. Strategizing upgrades will help bring these capabilities to a broader range of users more quickly.
For every mobile gaming enthusiast who wants a more immersive experience while playing or watching an esports championship from their mobile device; and every organization that wants to improve the real-time connectivity of technicians in the field or surgeon who can save a life by operating on a patient with the help of a robotic arm in an ambulance, 5G technology, and edge computing will provide the immediate and uninterrupted connectivity they need. Telcos who want to make a difference in both the world and their future revenue streams must hurry to adopt everything the world of innovation has to offer as quickly and strategically as possible.
Vijai Karthigesu, Founder & CEO, Swarmio Media
Vijai is a serial entrepreneur, innovator, blockchain strategist, and a thought leader in software-defined networking and decentralized computing technologies. He has 20+ years of experience in guiding organizations to create unique and ahead-of-the-curve technology strategies to adapt, change and lead major market transitions. Connect with him on LinkedIn.