AI and 5G to Fuel Next Wave of IoT Services, Says GTC Panel of Telecom Experts

A combination of edge AI and 5G connectivity will usher in industry advances for consumers and enterprises.
by Scott Martin

The rollout of 5G for edge AI services promises to fuel a magic carpet ride into the future for everything from autonomous vehicles, to supply chains and education.

That was a key takeaway from a panel of five 5G experts speaking at NVIDIA’s GPU Technology Conference this week.

With speed boosts up to 10x that of 4G, 5G will offer game-changing features to cellular networks, such as low latency, improved reliability and built-in security. It will also radically improve AI services, such as online gaming, those provided by AVs, and robots used for logistics. In addition, AI on 5G could help deliver services like online learning and micro banking to remote regions of underdeveloped parts of the world today.

Executives from Verizon, Wind River, Mavenir, Google and NVIDIA shared their views on the wide-ranging impact 5G will have on edge AI services. And if just half of their predictions appear within the next decade, the future promises exciting times.

Enhance Human Experience

The next generation of applications is going to enhance the human experience and create new opportunities, said Ganesh Harinath, VP and CTO of 5G MEC and AI platforms at Verizon. But he said the networking requirements for the future call for edge computing.

“The inferencing aspect of machine learning has to be moved closer and closer to where the signals are generated,” said Harinath.

Propel Digital World

Nermin Mohamed, head of telco solutions at embedded systems software provider Wind River, said that 5G, AI and edge computing are “the three magic words that will propel the digital connected world.”

She said that companies are looking at 5G as an accelerator for their revenue and that the rollout of 5G grew four times faster than 4G over the past 18 months.

Bridge Digital Divide

The availability of 5G will usher in digital services to remote places, bridging the digital divide, said Pardeep Kohli, president and CEO of telecom software company Mavenir.

With 5G “you can have low latency and a good experience where this type of connectivity can be used for having an education” where it might otherwise not be available, said Kohli.

Reshape Telecom, Edge

Open ecosystems are key to encouraging developers to build applications, said Shailesh Shukla, vice president and general manager for Networking and Telecom at Google Cloud

“With the advent of 5G and AI, there is an opportunity now to reshape the broader telecom infrastructure and the edge industry by doing something very similar to what was done with Google and Android,” Shukla said.

‘Heady Mix Ahead’

A lot of the applications — autonomous vehicles, augmented and virtual reality — have been restrained by network limitations, said Ronnie Vasishta, NVIDIA senior vice president for Telecoms. NVIDIA has been investing in GPU and DPU platforms for accelerated compute to support the ecosystem of edge AI applications and telecom partners, he said.

“Sometimes we underestimate the impact that 5G will have on our lives,” he said. “We’re really in for a heady mix ahead of us with the combination of AI and 5G.”

The panel discussion, “Is AI at the Edge the Killer App for 5G?,” is available for replay.