On 04 June techUK hosted the online webinar Building private networks for edge computing. This was co-hosted by techUK’s Comms and Infrastructure Programme and the Technology and Innovation Programme.
techUK was joined by Ian Henderson, HPE, Gunjan Ghandi, Ericsson, Stephen Muldowney, Huawei, Nanda Menon, Athonet, and Dean Bubley, Disruptive Analysis. The session was co-chaired by Laura Foster, Programme Manager Technology and Innovation, techUK and Jo O’Riordan, Head of Spectrum Policy and Telecoms, techUK.
The webinar kicked-off with an opening presentation from Ian Henderson of HPE, who began the session by exploring what is driving the need for edge computing across enterprises. He started by identifying seven core benefits of edge computing: Reduced latency, bandwidth, reduced costs, reducing cyber-threats of data transfers, streamlining of data, reduction of possible data corruption and issues with data compliance needed for data transfers. These benefits required most compute to be moved away from data centers and to the network edge. This streamline of data meant that only necessary data would be sent to a central computing system for non-critical, high compute analytics and necessary data storage. As such, businesses can drive the best value from their data which was highlighted through key use cases.
Taking a deeper look at the network infrastructure for edge computing, Gunjan Gandhi, Ericsson explored the role and relevance of communications service providers (CSP’s) in the edge ecosystem. Edge computing has the potential to open new business models and drive forward enterprise use cases and emphasised that CSP’s can play different roles in the value chain depending on the services they deliver and their position in the market. Gunjan explored how to utilise network API’s to manage cloud and edge services and succeed with edge solutions.
The conversation then moved to the role of 5G, where Stephen Muldowney from Huawei showed 5G as a key tool that will allow edge to interact with other forms of emerging technologies as a possible end-to-end network. This included the role of AI platforms to provide intelligent service capabilities. At this stage of the webinar it was useful to understand the different transaction models of building 5G private networks with ecosystem partners, which was then explored through an enterprise use-case.
Nanda Menon of Athonet explored ways to ‘hyper-scale’ edge networks. He provided several examples including example of a windfarm which required as minimal latency as possible to perform predictive maintenance and enable staff communications. The solution was Hybrid-Onsite EPC with a focus on ensuring IT professional standards, keeping the solution simple and economical, keeping data local, and delivering low latency.
Finally, Dean Bubley of Disruptive Analysis explored the future of emerging 4G and 5G networks that would accelerate the edge opportunity. He identified three categories where edge IoT was emerging (identified as mission critical IoT, Industrial IoT, and non-critical IoT such as venues and some consumer use cases.) However, he emphasised that 5G networks are complex and edge compute is part of a much wider ecosystem.
These presentations highlighted that the increase in data collected and created by an enterprises, coupled with the cost to send this data back to a data center, means businesses will look towards enabling computing power ‘locally’. However, best practice of private networks for edge computing is still emerging and the best solution is dependent on the tools available for that use case. Whilst 5G will become a crucial component for some use cases, it is unrealistic to think it will accelerate the use of edge across all industries. For long range data transmission and less ‘mission critical’ compute, businesses may look to other forms of connectivity to power edge.
This session is part of techUK’s edge computing campaign and will feed into a larger report on enterprise adoption of edge computing. Please email email@example.com if you would like any further information about the edge computing campaign.