How 5G and Edge computing could reshape biz in the Middle East
Published 4 June 2021
5G and edge computing are the emerging technologies that most countries are looking to adopt these technologies, which could open up new business opportunities.
So, what is the scope for these technologies in the Middle East market? At W.Media’s Middle East Cloud and Data Center Market Insights 2021 keynote session titled ‘5G and Edge- What it means for business in Middle East’ Waleed Ali, Senior Specialist Digital Government, Digital Transformation and Emerging Technologies, Government of Qatar did a deep-dive.
By 2025 MENA region is forecasted to have over 80 million subscribers of 5G which means that we will see an increase in the 5G connections.
The increase in the connection is due to new digital behaviors for example virtual meetings and events due to the COVID19 pandemic the users started getting dependent more on fast connections to continue with their work but with a digital lifestyle.
“The demand of 5G is not only from the normal user but there is also a great potential for B2B opportunity and this is going to be the main driver for investing in 5G and 5G is important for the industry and we will see 5G operators connect users to 5G with a great speed.
But at the same time entities like the government and businesses are connected to the data centres and to each other to share the data to its users and this is the B2B opportunity,” said Waleed Ali.
He further added that currently, cloud computing is moving closer to the users because of 5G.
There is a shift in the landscape of the data centres from the traditional data centres and centralised to more distributed data centres because of the speed of the connectivity, low latency and broadband and the millimetre wave that will allow us to connect massive IoT sensors on devices.
According to a report in Gartner 75 percent of enterprise data will be created and processed outside the traditional data centre or cloud by 2025.
This means that the distributed edge computing will be processed and analyse the data.
“Edge computing is now next or near to the sensors and because of 5G we are able to locally process and analyse the data from the data source and with the help of 5G we can analyse the data and send it back to the centralised data centre for further analysis and decision making,” added Ali.
“The government is one of the most important stakeholders in any smart city. No business can be started without the approval of the government.
Governments are organisations that clearly work on the vision, policy and regulations. Government is also responsible for achieving sustainable development goals, this is an international goal that all the UN states are looking forward to achieving by 2030,” pointed Ali.
He further underlined that the ways in which the government helps in achieving sustainable development goals and it affects the businesses in different ways.
There are cloud providers, telecom providers and businesses that are working towards the adaptation of new technologies. The cloud providers are expected to work on new decentralised cloud solutions.
The 5G rollout is the responsibility of the telecom providers and businesses could also work with them or support this.
The investors are responsible for the financing of the new technology and looking for innovative financing models for investing in the technology.
Academia is another very important stakeholder and is responsible for doing the research and has the ability to find a new prototype for a technology. 5G and Edge computing are emerging technologies.
They are also working towards the capacity building to make sure that the students have the required knowledge and after they graduate they have the capability of working on these emerging technologies.
The involvement and business depends upon the entrepreneurs for the innovative ideas and solving work problems and looking for various ways in which technology can be put to use. A lot of businesses acquire startups that have innovative ideas.
Future of 5G and Edge computing
“5G and edge computing will increase the performance, availability, data security and workload portability which is very useful in cases where there is a digital event that will require more workload.
Smart cities are one of the famous use cases for 5G and edge computing and when we say smart cities we know that there will be the involvement of a huge number of sensors, buildings and lights.
These sensors will generate big data along with the users. This will help us in achieving the development goals,” said Ali.
He further added that as most people know that the data from the sensors has to travel through data centres which are usually in remote locations due to security and other reasons.
This takes some time while the sensors are transferring the data to the data centre and getting the results.
As per a use case, we will have the edge computing nodes either inside or physically near to the data source which will capture and analyse the data so that there is a low latency connection and near real-time processing due to which decision making becomes faster.
“Second use case for 5G and edge computing is manufacturing. Imagine a manufacturer is manufacturing products in thousands of units per minute or hour. It becomes difficult to keep an eye on the quality and efficiency, the quality assurance process because even if it is automatic, some error is expected.
But with the help of 5G and edge computing, we can control the quality of the product produced per second. Using this kind of manufacturing process, we process the data in real-time which makes it easy to control the defects in real-time,” pointed out Ali.
Giving an example of the connected cars he explained how transportation will be affected moving from point A to point B. The ways in which people, supply chain or goods can move with the help of connected cars.
“The sensors in the connected cars can monitor a lot of things and can send the data with an increased speed to the edge computing and is also capable of receiving any kind of real-time processing about any kind of issues in the car or road and the driver or the device which is controlling the vehicle can take quick action,” pointed Ali.
Video surveillance is another important aspect and the video files that are stored is in huge numbers and it is easier to analyse them next to the sensors of the cameras. In case of any kind of emergency for example a river afloat or file.
The edge computing servers in real-time can process the images coming from the camera and alert the authorities regarding a disaster.
The images being transferred to data centres being analysed and then coming back with the alert might take some time but by using 5G and edge it can be processed near to the location and can be sent further to the centralised data centre for processing.
Where are the Opportunities
5G and edge computing is an industry innovation. “If businesses are looking forward to trying new innovative approaches then 5G and edge computing will have a huge effect on that along with having the capability and flexibility of tackling the real-world issues and creating values for the business.
There is an increased demand in different domains, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic where people realised that they are heavily dependent upon the technology.
Monitoring the market development is important for businesses as it would help them in engaging with the latest technology that would help in the growth of their business,” said Ali.
He also underlined that it is important to identify the use cases that organisations want to invest in. Prior experience in a particular domain could be put to use in these cases.
Capacity building and trainings are important as businesses need to start training their employees on the emerging technologies as it becomes easier to work with the technologies when it is adapted by the organisations.
Creating new partnerships with other stakeholders is important for businesses as it will help in achieving the required goals.