Impact of 5g, Edge, and IoT Just Beginning

Reflecting on the past can provide useful insights as the edge of the network continues to expand in order to accommodate the ever-growing number of mobile devices, desktop computers, TVs, streaming sticks, game consoles, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

It is widely recognised that desktop computers and displays are typically connected to a private or public network, as well as the internet, which is referred to as a client/server setup.

The client computer (PC) utilises locally-stored programmes, and only interacts with remote servers (other computers, mainframes and storage networks) when additional information or computational power is required.

Edge computing is conceptually similar; due to the physical distance from a service provider’s data centre, processing power and storage must be located at the network edge, near devices such as smart TVs. Moreover, requests and responses from the data centre take a long time in cyberspace.

In order to tackle this problem, businesses are shifting their data centres, servers and applications closer to the perimeter of the network. This provides users who are located at a distance with easier access to the services and data offered by the company.

Edge computing requires more moving parts and computing power than client/server architectures. The process starts with a device sending a request to an edge gateway device, typically a router with basic request-processing abilities.

The gateway either fulfils the request itself (such as downloading a media file to a mobile device) or passes it on to a server with advanced processing capabilities (frequently hosted in the cloud or a data centre) where Artificial Intelligence is used.

To what extent 5G is applicable

Currently, low-latency, high-speed 5G cellular networks are available, though they are not the ultra-fast mmWave 5G networks that have been widely discussed. These networks, operating in low to mid-frequency ranges, provide download and upload speeds and latency comparable to those of a top-tier residential service. With these networks now live, network expansion is likely to take place at an accelerated rate.

The combination of 5G-enabled Edge Computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) will revolutionise mission-critical services, such as telemedicine, by providing people with a 5G connection instantaneous access to lifesaving medical services. Additionally, this combination is expected to have a significant impact on customer satisfaction, with app downloads and weather app radar updates taking place almost instantaneously.

Edge computing offers a range of possibilities for enhancing the in-store retail experience, such as providing real-time coupons to consumers as they browse. 5G connectivity will also benefit gamers, allowing them to take their favourite games with them wherever they go, via content delivery networks and IoT devices such as smartphone-connected virtual reality headsets.

The introduction of 5G technology has the potential to revolutionise a number of industries, including manufacturing, logistics, transportation, asset management, business and healthcare. This new high-speed networking capability will have far-reaching implications.

The introduction of 5G technology has the potential to revolutionize asset monitoring. Tracking pallets of consumer items, shipping containers, mining equipment and intensive care heart monitors, among others, will be made significantly easier. Currently, hand-held scanners and barcodes, QR codes, and/or radio frequency ID tags are used for the majority of tracking purposes; however, these methods can be tedious, inaccurate and take a considerable amount of time.

With the help of 5G and the Internet of Things, tracking can be automated and optimised. This technology offers a range of benefits to organisations such as hospitals, governments and corporations, including the potential to save thousands of man-hours and millions of dollars. In addition, it allows real-time monitoring of the current status of objects, such as whether they have been dropped or tampered with, as well as providing data about the history, temperature and other factors. The only limit to the data that can be collected is the range and variety of sensors, and the user’s imagination.

Businesses are looking to leverage the potential of 5G networks in the manufacturing sector. By combining IoT and 5G, machines in factories will be able to communicate with one another and with human operators, providing alerts of potential malfunction and suggesting adjustments to optimise performance according to changing conditions and requirements.

Digital twins, which are electronic replicas of physical machines powered by Artificial Intelligence, can be employed to increase performance remotely, reduce the risk of accidents and minimise the number of faulty products.

Efforts are being made to link ambulances directly to emergency room physicians. By transforming the ambulance into an edge device, physicians can monitor the patient’s vital signs and receive real-time video footage from the scene. Upon the patient’s arrival at the emergency room, physicians can collaborate with the paramedics to provide the best possible treatment.

The potential of 5G, the edge, and the Internet of Things is already being realised, with their effects already being felt across many aspects of our lives. Whether it’s playing video games in a park with virtual reality goggles, predicting when a machine is likely to fail, or improving healthcare on the way to hospital, 5G is making its presence known. We can expect to see further developments in this area in the near future.

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