5G requires edge computing

5G brings many new possibilities. Thanks to this fast mobile network, we can use digital applications faster and more smoothly with large numbers at the same time. However we take into account data flows that are becoming larger than ever before. Can we rely on guaranteed, reliable real-time data exchange? To confirm this question, companies can no longer ignore edge computing.

The arrival of 5G was announced years ago. However, there is still a lot that is unclear about the new technology. Some see 5G as the saviour of digitisation, the announcement of even more innovation. Others mainly see the possible pitfalls. A challenge for companies and developers is the development of a central technology that can handle the massive amounts of data associated with 5G, internet of things (IoT) and other trends. That is ‘edge computing’: bringing computing power to ‘the edge’, the edge of the network. Device and application developers must increasingly take this shift in computing power and data flows into account.

Dealing with large data flows

5G and IoT are increasing data flows. However, business still do not always have the strategies, architectures and technologies to deal with them. How do you collect data in the most efficient way? How do you strategically deal with the large pool of ​​data that is available to you at all times?

There are billions of situations when central processing of all this data is simply not possible. To stay in the context of the 5G network: what happens if the data processing is not fast enough? The cloud alone cannot handle the workload created by 5G, and that’s where edge computing offers a solution: a kind of ‘mini-cloud’ between the device and the cloud, in which machine learning algorithms store and analyse data at the machine level.

What does edge computing actually do?

Edge computing makes it possible to collect data locally, at the device at the end of the network chain. At the same time, edge computing makes it possible to perform AI analysis and select the data that really needs to be stored in the cloud. It filters irrelevant information and sends only what is necessary to the cloud. Take a security camera as an example. Instead of sending video to the cloud 24 hours a day, a local-level camera can store and analyse the footage. An algorithm ensures that data is only stored on the cloud when necessary.

Edge computing is increasingly used at machine level to support predictive maintenance. Sensitive data in particular should often not reach the cloud directly or at all. The edge technology in the company’s data centre then not only manages the workload, and therefore the pressure on the cloud, but also takes on an important gatekeeper function.

5G requires edge computing

5G and edge computing complement each other

Edge computing is faster, more secure, more direct and more reliable than other data architecture technologies. However, data cannot be stored forever at the machine level – every server has its capacity. Therefore, a network standard such as 5G speeds up information processing. So you can say that 5G and edge computing complement each other. A challenge facing companies in this area is the inability to communicate seamlessly with the many different devices, systems and solutions of the most diverse users. To manage the data flows, a data platform is needed that supports 5G and other technologies and can work with different (programming) languages. In this way, data is made uniform and therefore usable. Data must be processed efficiently, business and security requirements must be applied and the data flow must be coordinated. And all that in real time. On top of all that it should also support machine learning algorithms, supporting all major standards and specifications.

To be prepared for all the new challenges mentioned above, companies will have to get started with the development of a new and, above all, future-oriented data strategy. This strategy should include developments such as 5G and edge computing and consider solutions to manage and make usable the growing data flows. That way, companies will be able to really reap the benefits of 5G.

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