By Marc O’Regan, Chief Technology Officer for EMEA at Dell Technologies
5G is set to completely transform the mobile communications network. Yet rarely discussed are two key components to its success: edge and cloud. The reality is that cloud solutions facilitate the cost efficiencies and pace of innovation that make 5G such an exciting prospect – and hybrid cloud is the firm favourite amongst organisations seeking new network speeds.
But businesses, like telecom operators, for example, can’t simply adopt existing available cloud technology. Instead, they need a bespoke cloud platform designed for their requirements and challenges. If 5G Private Mobility and associated technologies are to achieve their true potential, telecom operators need to incorporate highly scalable cloud-native infrastructure into their rollouts. This is a complex task, requiring expertise from trusted technology partners.
The 5G Challenge
Understanding that software is just one piece of the cloud is important. Hardware, services, and additional tools are needed to bring a cohesive cloud strategy together. Therefore, collaboration with experts and integration with other technologies are important parts of the 5G ecosystem in order to achieve a successful outcome.
Many need to question their understanding of 5G – it’s often not what they think. It is software driven, born from and Native to Cloud – and it’s still relatively young. It is the transformer and provider of new cloud-based services. One of the first beneficiaries of this will be rural broadband services. 5G will help progress rural connectivity by using mobile networks to close digital divides, bringing broadband to homes at a reduced cost – without the disruptive need to drag fibre up the driveway.
Meanwhile, 5G will also power a new range of devices and services across industries. In high-density areas such as a Rugby or football stadium – where previously signal bars would be low – now, not only will fans have accessible signal, but they will also have entirely new content-driven experiences. For example, streaming a try or goal via mobile phone from a close-up viewpoint will augment the in-stadium experience. Similarly, at live gigs, concert goers will be able to stream close-ups of their favourite musicians and players live.
These opportunities are driven by fundamental cultural shifts – we have moved from an era of content consumption to content creation, transforming our technological needs.
As businesses respond to the potential offered by lower latency, capturing these new enhanced services will enable organisations to monetise 5G networks. But in order to do this, they need to be nurtured, provided with technological expertise and develop a good level of business savvy.
In the industrial world, 5G will be an enabler of smart factories, providing connectivity for devices in remote locations and streamlining processes. Industrial IoT (Internet of Things) and automation powered by edge technologies are key in this context. Automation has a role to play in the network itself, helping service providers deploy their work. For enterprises looking to leverage automation in their factories, such as warehouse automation for retailers, 5G accelerates that automation with an immediate impact on both the bottom line and the top line of an enterprise. It will be possible for businesses to achieve more in a shorter time because the robots will go faster, and because the response to any needs or obstructions will be resolved faster.
We also have the intersection between 5G and other Emerging Technologies like Machine Learning and Intelligence that will allow us to build and scale new digital services at the point of Data creation. Using new blends of algorithms, Data Scientists can work in teams of OT and IT personnel to scrum their way toward new essential services delivered through information that is extracted from the Edge, near the sensors, alarms, pumps and actuators powered by new and powerful AI Models that are driven by architecture that combines the ability to drive high yield and draw low power in the factory environments and beyond.
Bespoke cloud technologies for telecoms
Underpinning everything is the quest to modernise networks and embrace cloud operating models which provide more choice, speed, and agility – especially in the vital sector of telecommunications. Ultimately, telecom operators want Open Radio Access Network (RAN) technologies that offer better performance and efficiency. The growing open ecosystem offers telecoms greater choice in their technologies and partners as they modernise to cloud-native networks. Telecoms need the various technologies of the open ecosystem to work together seamlessly to offer differentiated edge services and reduce costs.
That’s where Dell Technologies can help and add value. We began building telecom-grade servers and partnering with telecom cloud vendors to create telecom cloud platforms that are pre-integrated, pre-validated, and proven to work out of the box. We have added infrastructure automation tools to make it simple to deploy and manage virtualised network functions at the edge, in the RAN, and the core on purpose-built, standards-based, bare-metal servers. This will give cloud and service providers a scalable cloud foundation. Also, with the introduction of Dell Telecom Multi-Cloud Foundation, we are providing telecoms with a simple way to build and deploy open, cloud-first networks faster with less cost. We’re laying the cloud foundation for an open software ecosystem.
According to Government targets, all Irish households and businesses are set to be covered by a Gigabit network no later than 2028 and all populated areas by 5G by 2030. 5G is an indispensable part of our data-driven future and can unlock the value of data in unprecedented ways. However, to get there, telecommunications companies and the public sector alike need expert partners and a solid foundation of cloud and edge. By adopting this approach, they can deliver agility and reduce operational and capital expenditures, with an open, software defined, cloud native, and data centric approach that can bring innovation to market and allow them to realise the vast opportunities presented by the 5G future.