And Why It Matters for Telcos
In a very well written Forbes article this week, Olivier Garret – founding Partner and CEO of RiskHedge – states that edge computing is the “golden thread that connects today’s most exciting megatrends”, and that “technologies like self-driving cars, IoT, AR, and the commercialization of 5G will never get off the ground without it.” (Emphasis is mine.)
Garret is absolutely correct, and the fact that he has ‘the commercialization of 5G’ sitting alongside such media darlings as self-driving cars and AR is especially telling. 5G makes ubiquitous connectivity a reality and, with it – as Garret mentions – come unfathomable amounts of data, driven by explosive growth of IoT devices, along with AI, machine learning, real-time analytics, stream processing and other disruptive technologies. No industry is more affected by this than the telecommunications (telco) industry – the very companies responsible for the commercialization of 5G.
What’s really interesting is that new monetization opportunities for businesses in that ecosystem lie beyond their traditional consumer markets. Market growth will be driven by enterprise applications for enhanced customer experience and process optimization. For perspective, a recent Markets and Markets Research report valued the overall 5G enterprise market at USD 2.3 billion in 2020, and projected to reach USD 31.7 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 54.4%.
But 5G is about much more than connectivity. What it really unleashes is the ability for businesses to make real-time decisions on enormous volumes of data streaming in from billions of devices. And by real-time, we mean decisions being made within 10 milliseconds of an event. That’s the only way to capitalize on monetization opportunities, such as mapping machine-learned usage patterns to billing plans to make a highly personalized ‘in the moment’ offer.
And that leads us to the focus of the Forbes article, ‘edge computing’. Garret suggests three important advantages of edge computing – it saves companies money, it’s more reliable, and – the advantage he correctly calls the most important, it “allows for faster decision-making by reducing latency”.
The ability to make sub 10 millisecond decisions requires pushing compute and storage to the network’s edge. Monetization decisions, where time (i.e. latency) is the critical element, must happen as close to the event source as possible. You simply can’t achieve the latencies necessary for real-time decisioning when you need to make trips back to the centralized data center or run a batch process on your backend database.
That’s why Gartner estimates that 75% of data will be generated and processed at the edge by 2025, up from 10% as recently as 2018. It’s also why we built VoltDB specifically to deliver 5G real-time capabilities at the edge. We knew that 5G monetization requires much more than simple ingestion and movement of data:
- It requires bringing database and stream processing together – at the edge – to address the entire event data management cycle of ingest-store-aggregate-measure-detect-decide-act.
- It requires applying sophisticated rules, algorithms, and machine learning models to massive streams of event data, using that analysis to detect exceptions, and then making and acting upon a decision
- And it requires doing all of that in real-time – within 10 milliseconds – consistently and accurately.
Which is exactly what VoltDB enables.
When we read articles such as this one in Forbes, we can’t help but be proud of what we envisioned and what we’ve built – validated by the fact that so many telco leaders have chosen VoltDB to power their 5G, edge-ready applications and services.
Learn more about how VoltDB works with telcos. Or, share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.