Inside 5G Edge Cloud Opportunities

Edge Cloud Futuriom

By: R. Scott Raynovich

Futuriom has released the first report as part of our premium research subscription service, Primo Pro. 5G Catalysts: Opportunities at the Edge takes a detailed look at the evolving technology applications, business models, and architectures driving the creation of a new edge cloud infrastructure that enables a host of new services enabled by 5G as well as LTE.

We spent three months gathering information and analyzing what is likely to happen with the emerging 5G edge. What we have concluded is that it’s far larger than just connecting consumer phones to fixed wireless broadband. The emergence of 5G is driving the development of an entirely new technology stack at the edge.

This presents huge opportunities as well as risks for service providers, cloud providers, and technology vendors. First of all, it means that a huge shift in the cloud landscape is coming, as applications move data closer to the customer. This will drive demand for edge-compute and high-performance at the edge of the network, which comprises colocation facilities, central offices, mobile cell sites, and access points at enterprise and municipal locations.

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The emergence of the new edge cloud architecture, catalyzed by 5G, will become a key strategic growth platform for the communications technology industry. The business impact will be in the trillions of dollars. The service providers that successfully launch new services enabled by this infrastructure have the chance to avenge their losses in the public cloud battleground, while at the same time public cloud providers have the opportunity to extend their reach. And for the technology companies building networking, compute, and storage software and hardware, this represents an enormous new market.

Special thanks to Dell Technologies, Itential, Mellanox, and VMware for sponsoring this research!

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The full report is available to Primo Pro subscribers. But the highlights are included below.

Key Findings and Highlights:

  • The emergence of the new edge cloud architecture, catalyzed by 5G, will become a key strategic growth platform for the communications technology industry. The business impact will be in the trillions of dollars.
  • The arrival of 5G will serve as a catalyst to accelerate network architectures built on technologies such as virtualization and microservices. This will benefit software virtualization technology and expertise.
  • The emergence of the edge could transform the public cloud by shifting the center of gravity away from public cloud, providing opportunities for cloud providers, communications service providers (CSPs), and enterprises alike. Service providers have a new opportunity to monetize networks.
  • Futuriom’s top public companies to watch in the 5G edge include AT&T (T), Ciena (CIEN), Dell (DELL), HPE, Nokia (NOK), NVDIA (NVDA), and Verizon (VZ). More public companies as well as a number of interesting startups are listed in the report as well in our “Companies to Watch” section.
  • Key applications for the edge cloud and 5G include Industrial IoT (IIoT) , video surveillance, Augmented Reality (AR), cloud gaming, smart cities, smart environments, smart retail, and autonomous driving.
  • 5G properties such as high connection density, low latency, high bandwidth, and network slicing are catalysts for new edge applications.
  • Business challenges with 5G deployment include: Ecosystem complexity, edge applications development, integration and operation, cloud-native architectures, software expertise, security, and network availability and resiliency.
  • Technology areas particularly suited to benefit from the new edge cloud include content delivery networks (CDNs), distributed routing, edge networking, micro data center technology, smart Network Interface Cards (NICs), network integration and automation software; edge-compute gear; and edge-data management and operations.

Companies discussed in this report: ADVA, Affirmed Networks (Microsoft), Akamai, Amazon, Arrcus, AT&T, Ciena, Cisco, Cloudflare, Cradlepoint, Dell, DriveNets, Edgeworx, EDJX, Enea, Equinix, Ericsson, Google, Haste, HPE, Itential, Macrometa, Mellanox, Microsoft, MobiledgeX, NetFoundry, Nokia, NTT Data, NVDIA, Pensando Systems, Red Hat (IBM), Stateless Networks, UBIqube, Vapor IO, Verizon, Wind River, Zededa.

(Note: This is not an exhaustive list, but a description of compelling technology visions collected by Futuriom analysts.)

Methodology: Over the course of several months, Futuriom analysts interviewed and surveyed dozens of service providers, technology providers, and enterprise end users to synthesize a vision for the new edge cloud. This information gathering process included the collecting answers to surveys we sent to more than 30 technology vendors asking for input, some of which is included in this report.

Total Pages: 41

Price: $895 with an annual Primo Pro subscription.

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The 5G Edge - Introduction

Technology companies of all types are aggressively exploring new business opportunities enabled by extending cloud computing to the edge of the network. Applications such as industrial IoT, video surveillance, augmented reality, and online gaming promise to leverage edge compute to achieve critical low-latency processing and/or to minimize the bandwidth required for backhaul to the cloud.

Many existing edge-compute applications can be supported with 4G/LTE connectivity or even low-power, wide area networking protocols. A wide range of new use cases, however, will require 5G in order to maximize connection density, boost bandwidth, minimize latency, or guarantee quality of service via network slicing.

It’s true there is significant hype about 5G. At the same time, there are many challenges in deploying the technology in a cost-effective way. But the deployment is inevitable – it’s just a matter of time. Futuriom believes there’s no doubt that the arrival of 5G has the potential to change the technology landscape for many players, in a significant way. The arrival of 5G is not just about the potential for more bandwidth and features such as network slicing – it will also serve as a catalyst for evolving network architectures built on technologies such as virtualizations and microservices. But the key to its success will be enterprises and service providers finding more “edge-enabled” cloud-based applications to drive new services and business models.

All new platforms create new applications and business opportunities that are difficult to recognize ahead of time. Think of the emergence of Internet broadband, which created opportunities for applications such as enterprise cloud services and over-the-top video streaming. The emergence of the new edge cloud architecture, catalyzed by 5G, will have a large impact on the communications technology industry on the economic and strategic business side. There will be many opportunities in both the technology infrastructure and applications.

So how did we investigate this topic? Over the course of several months, Futuriom analysts interviewed and surveyed dozens of service providers, technology providers, and enterprise end users to compile a vision for the new edge cloud. This information gathering process included the answers to surveys we sent to technology vendors asking for input, some of which is included in this report. We also combed through information on trends from the Futuriom.com website, news reports, and market releases. This report represents our findings, including conclusions about the potential emerging business opportunities in edge compute that will be enabled by 5G. We also outline key use cases and various technology approaches to edge deployments. The report also profiles multiple companies providing solutions throughout the end-to-end edge compute ecosystem and discusses the business challenges presented by this new market.

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