Murli Thirumale is VP-GM of the Cloud Native BU, Pure Storage which acquired Portworx Inc. where he was Co-Founder & CEO.
When a transformative technology comes along, smart businesses should look at it closely to determine the opportunities — and threats — that it might present. Not doing so could leave new revenue streams and exciting new products on the table — or worse, allow a competitor to step in. Just ask Blockbuster about the arrival of the cloud or the taxi industry about mobile apps. It pays to think broadly and think ahead.
5G falls squarely into this disruptive camp. 5G is the fifth generation of broadband cellular technology that service providers started deploying in 2019. In the U.S., all major operators have started to roll out 5G services, and GSMA Intelligence believes 5G networks will cover one-third of the world’s population by 2025.
5G brings much greater bandwidth — up to 600 times faster than today’s typical 4G speeds — but just as significant is that it can increase device density by up to 100 times per unit area and bring latency down to 1 millisecond. That creates an exciting canvas for all kinds of innovation in both consumer and business applications.
Before we look at the infrastructure requirements that CIOs should be providing to support 5G applications, here are some of the industries that 5G is primed to disrupt — and keep in mind that the most transformative developments are likely still unknown:
Manufacturing: 5G may disrupt the manufacturing industry through new production models based on the exchange of information between connected objects. Quality control, industrial automation and supply chain management are a few areas ripe for transformation.
Entertainment And Media: Content is increasingly generated by users — video will account for almost 80% of mobile data traffic by 2022, according to a recent Cisco report — opening the door to all kinds of social and entertainment possibilities. 5G also ups the ante for both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).
Transportation: High-speed, consistent internet access with minimal latency opens the door to advances in new driver assistance technologies and autonomous vehicles for both consumers and commercial logistics.
Energy: 5G will enable the widespread establishment of smart grids for a much more efficient and sustainable distribution of energy to industries and homes.
Health: Patients will receive more personalized services, and there will be an increase in virtual health centers and hospitals. Complex surgical operations can be performed remotely using robots.
Behind the scenes, one of the biggest effects of 5G will be a whole lot more data, which will be crucial to operating and continuously improving these new services. That means CIOs need to take a fresh look at their data infrastructure to ensure they can support the innovation that will be made possible.
A modern data experience, in which data can be easily accessed and delivered where it is needed instantly, can’t come about when silos exist between different environments. Enterprises need an infrastructure that makes data readily available, on demand, to any department or application that can make use of it.
One way to think about this is in terms of new types of data services. Here are five services that CIOs should be deploying for their organization to enable maximum innovation around 5G data:
• Analytics and AI/ML as a service to provide intelligent, personalized services and understand usage patterns.
• Database as a service for scalable, cross-platform data repositories that are available across teams and applications.
• Data search as a service for ad hoc queries to understand usage and improve products.
• Messaging as a service for connecting different 5G applications and microservices.
• Streaming data as a service to support apps that depend on real-time data to deliver information to consumers or operation machines
The good news is that the cloud and cloud-native technologies make it relatively simple and affordable to establish these data services and scale them as needed over time. What once required significant time and investment can now be built in a hybrid model, combining on-premises equipment with a variety of services available in the public cloud.
Ubiquitous 5G networks are approaching fast, presenting a new opportunity for innovation. Companies should look hard at what this means for their businesses and their customers, and CIOs should prepare to take advantage of a fresh surge in data.