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Center for Edge Computing and 5G

How Edge Will Help Telecoms Enable a New Generation of Services and Applications


A discussion about the need for telcos to modernize their infrastructure and the role edge can play in bringing innovative applications and services to market.

Edge applications enabled by 5G services from telecom providers are poised to disrupt (in a good way) everything from the way we work to the way businesses operate. However, telecom providers must modernize their infrastructures to deliver on the promise of edge.

Recently, RTInsights sat down with Erin K. Banks, Product Marketing Director in the Telco Systems Business at Dell Technologies, and talked about the technology challenges telcos face with edge, the need to modernize their infrastructure, and the role edge can play in bringing innovative applications and services to market. Here is a summary of our conversation. 

RTInsights: When we talk about telecom and edge, what are the problems telcos hope to address?

Erin Banks, Dell Technologies

Banks: Telcom operators, also known as Communication Service Providers (CSPs), need to address the day-to-day tasks, so they can focus on developing new advanced and profitable services for the customers.

The problem of trying to deal with this is that the technology they currently have in place limits their ability to create these services. It doesn’t allow them to be quick and efficient and develop and design new capabilities. As a result, many feel like they’re falling behind. One problem leads to the next when they are trying to build these services.

RTInsights: What’s needed to implement telecom edge solutions?

Banks: CSPs need to modernize their network architecture, leveraging open technologies and software-defined solutions, and they need to utilize automation and CI/CD (continuous innovation/continuous development). This will enable them to be agile and implement new services and capabilities.

Modernization is essential and requires industry-standard infrastructure in order to develop cloud-native workloads. Implementing these workloads allows them to develop and deploy these new services and capabilities. And it also lets them implement processes that allow them to quickly and efficiently develop the software and services that the consumers need and want.

Right now, technology and the infrastructure is fragmented, outdated, and siloed. It doesn’t enable the capabilities they need. CSPs must transform the infrastructure. This is a new domain for CSPs. It’s not quick, and it’s not an easy process, and it can be a struggle for many organizations. So, they need to find the right partner that’s going to help them on this journey.

RTInsights: Where or how does 5G fit in? 

Banks: 5G, without a doubt, is the catalyst for the telecom transformation. It’s the whole reason why we’re having these conversations. It’s a disruptive, game-changing technology. If we go back to our conversation about the challenges, for a second, we addressed the fact that consumers, people like us, and organizations want new services. We want to download our movies faster, or we want better quality for our video. Think about what happened during the pandemic. We had to change our industry events, and now everything is videos, and we want better quality capability. We also want more connected capabilities to use IoT more in our personal lives.

We want these services to be able to use them in a new way that will improve both our work and personal lives. That’s where 5G helps. It reduces delays and latencies and improves reliability.

5G can connect anything and change everything. 5G will lead to better cities, better homes, and better transportation in the long run. I think the ultimate goal is just a better life for all.

RTInsights: What interesting edge applications are you seeing in the telecom space?

Banks: This is probably one of the most important questions to ask because sometimes people don’t necessarily see the vision and don’t understand what’s possible. When you think about all the technologies that we had previously and all the things that are changing, it is great to recognize the outcomes that the technology will provide. From that perspective, edge is revolutionary.

Just the investments overall give an indication of edge’s expected role. Arthur D. Little said by 2030, the annual spend across this market will be $700 billion. It’s going to change how we manufacture and how we consume the goods that are being manufactured. It’s changing how we’re transporting people, how we heal the sick, and how we feed the world. When you think about technology being able to do all those things, that’s very impactful.

Some of the bigger investment areas are manufacturing, healthcare, automotive, and energy and utilities. Just take one of those industries like automotive. Think about what is already happening with cars, IoT, and 5G.

Speculating on the future now, imagine a world where you will never have car accidents again. I mean, could you imagine a world like that? Imagine the ripple effect of something like that. The role of outlying industries that handle insurance and car repairs are completely changed. Who knows if someday, with autonomous cars, we can get to a point where we will not need traffic lights? Traffic engineering in cities would be fundamentally transformed, and all the organizations in this industry will need to evolve to address this new reality.

That’s why I say that 5G is this disruptive technology, and businesses that think that 5G will not impact them need to think bigger because, more than likely, they are relying on organizations that 5G will impact. It’s the ripple effect. It’s just going to happen overall.

There are very few times that technology really has impacted change, our world, and what we’re doing end to end, and we’re certainly on the cusp of that right now.

Salvatore Salamone

About Salvatore Salamone

Salvatore Salamone is a physicist by training who has been writing about science and information technology for more than 30 years. During that time, he has been a senior or executive editor at many industry-leading publications including High Technology, Network World, Byte Magazine, Data Communications, LAN Times, InternetWeek, Bio-IT World, and Lightwave, The Journal of Fiber Optics. He also is the author of three business technology books.

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