What New Services Will 5G Enable?
by Josh Anderson
ATLANTA, GA – The Edge is changing before our eyes, but we may not have seen anything yet, especially when you consider the advent of 5G. That’s why CapRE makes it a priority to understand where the Edge is headed next, and how it will get there. So at our Greater Atlanta Data Center Summit in August, we organized a round-table titled Life on The Edge: The Advent of 5G, Micro Data Centers & Evolution of the Next Generation. Below, we showcase the introductory topics covered in this discussion. Asked Moderator Donald Mitchell, Data Center Division Manager for Victaulic, “How will the new 5G services achieve new services?”
Sudesh Girdhari of Advanced Solutions for the Southeast at CenturyLink offered up a suggestion first. “I’ll take a stab at that. When you guys start thinking and talking about 5g and the impact that it can have on use-cases, I think that the ones that are always the most relevant to me, are how can I get this done better, faster and cheaper?” he shared. “And really those are the outcomes that 5G and wireless are driving for.”
“When I think about the question itself, which is, what are the new services? I think that we will start to see some of those new services when we start to think about things like contextually aware applications,” predicted Girdhari. “Two weeks ago, I bought a lawnmower. It was a very expensive lawnmower. And one week ago, I disabled that lawnmower by hitting a rock. Then I contextually got onto YouTube and tried to figure out how to change the blade.”
“What would have been smarter about that situation would have been if I could take a picture of that lawnmower and then YouTube could have automatically searched for that model,” he contrasted. “Instead of me having to go on and get on the computer, etc. etc. that is a really simple example of how that lawnmower manufacturer could capture me as a customer for a really long-term benefit.”
Queried Girdhari, how will 5G now feed that? “Well what if there were more bandwidth available? What if I wasn’t on my bad wireless connection?” he asked. “And that’s sort of the impact. So once again I’ve tried to be really practical and pragmatic about some of those use-cases, but obviously, as we think about these different areas, and what are those new services? Well some of that are not yet defined.”
Next, Girdhari gave the microphone to co-panelist Brooks Snow, Founder and CEO of LumeCloud. “When trying to see into the future about what 5G will do with technologies, if you look at 4G and 3G and how they’ve really changed our lives, well you can see how now that we have a bigger pipe to shove more data through, we don’t know what it’s going to be,” Snow asserted. “I think that the practical example of the lawnmower is a great idea, but it’s [going to be] about the impact.”
“So I guess the real question is whether a 4G system would be just as powerful at helping you to diagnose your lawnmower as opposed to a 5G system,” asked Moderator Mitchell, seeking some clarification, this time to panelist Bryan Weeks, General Manager for the Southeast Region at EdgeConneX.
“In our discussion with wireless providers, obviously what they see is, bringing the content, the CDN providers, into the regional networks, and then further down into the markets and the metros,” replied Weeks. “They see with the advent of 5G, the more bandwidth you have, the more consumption there is going to be. And the need for bringing that continuously closer and closer to subscribers. The first application for micro [or] edge data centers is the network. Building the main base stations that support the towers.”
“But beyond that they are asking for room at those main base stations to bring in the optimized Googles, the Netflix, to support those customers and that content. Those are the conversations that we’re having,” he concluded.