The network edge is a critical element to enabling 5G applications and services. While no one knows for certain which mix of 5G technologies, frameworks, and standards will be at the core of next generation networks, the edge is an area brimming with market opportunities today. Trends such as Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) and Fog Computing are causing OEMs, service providers, network operators, and others throughout the IoT and embedded ecosystem to reevaluate their network architectures and data models to position themselves on the front lines of competitive differentiation and services delivery.
5G edge infrastructure solutions support a variety of industries and are comprised of fixed-edge servers, mobile-edge servers, and edge-hardware platforms. Applications such as autonomous driving, image recognition, computational offloading, artificial intelligence, and machine learning feature performance and latency requirements that are decentralizing computing resources from the datacenter/cloud closer to the “connected things.” Edge infrastructure requirements are also fueling the development and use of a variety of embedded processor types, operating systems, workload accelerators, and other stack elements to contend with technical requirements.
Several vendors have already gone to market with edge infrastructure platforms featuring different form factors and target applications. For example, ADLINK was among the first to grapple MEC with the launch of the SETO-1000 specialized mobile-edge server in February 2016, which provides a common platform architecture for virtualized radio access equipment. Some of the other early edge server and hardware platform providers for 5G include Advantech, Cisco, HPE, Huawei, Intel, and NVIDIA.
The 5G edge infrastructure market is not waiting for broader standardization and government support as new high-value applications and services can be delivered today. Much like the Internet of Things market, success will hinge largely on providers’ abilities to build a cohesive platform. Embedded hardware and software players alike must develop new strategic (and channel) partnerships with enterprises, cloud providers, telecom equipment manufacturers, and others to remain at the forefront of the burgeoning 5G market.
VDC Research is currently offering Founding Sponsorship for our latest coverage of the 5G edge infrastructure market. To learn more, please view our 5G Edge Infrastructure Market Intelligence Program Research Outline.