10 ways 5G and mobile edge computing could change your life

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Mobile edge computing (MEC), also known as multi-access edge computing, drives data closer to the end user and device where data is created. In other words, cloud resources typically located in data centers hundreds or thousands of miles away are shifted to local data centers, base stations and individual servers to boost capabilities. Helping critical, performance-impacting applications respond more quickly and efficiently, MEC is poised to transform nearly every aspect of life. As carriers and network operators start rolling out the initial phase of 5G networks and services, the implementation of edge computing architecture will be central in supporting 5G and IoT devices. With speed, bandwidth and scale the cornerstones of the next generation of connectivity, MEC will help fulfill the promises of 5G and the benefits it will bring to consumers everywhere. Take a look at our list of the top 10 ways you can expect it to change yours:

  1. Streaming – Watching videos on a mobile device is fast becoming one of the most preferred ways of viewing content. Consider YouTube, the second most popular social media platform where more than one billion hours of videos are viewed every day. That’s according to Brandwatch, which reports that roughly 70% are streamed on a mobile device. With those numbers expected to increase as consumers stream more content from providers, MEC should help reduce latency, increase video resolution and enable subscribed viewers to watch virtually anything on the go.

  2. Content creation – In addition to watching, nearly everyone is creating and sharing video content today. And there is no shortage of platforms for uploading. Even sites that typically host still photos, like social media platforms, are increasingly expanding to video. With mobile phones evolving to enable professional quality video, and more content creators choosing them for simplicity and flexibility, MEC should help increase upload speeds and data throughput while ensuring a rich media experience for audiences.

  3. Remote work – 2020 has ushered in major life-changing shifts. As millions of employees adjust to an online-only environment, enterprises are utilizing mobile apps and video platforms to communicate. With MEC, both organizations and employees can take collaboration to a new level. From delivery and ride-sharing to the industrial sector, where real-time monitoring of assets at the edge can reduce operating costs and downtime, MEC can enable new pathways for productivity. IDC predicts that by 2022 more than 40 percent of enterprises’ cloud deployments will include edge computing.

  4. Gaming – In 2019 WIRED reported there were more than 2.5 billion active gamers and e-sports professionals around the world, with a majority playing—even with multiple participants—from an active mobile device. And it’s not just for fun. Many are monetizing the experience but must choose between quality and mobility, however. That’s where MEC should be a game changer. Matching mobility with performance, gamers can experience high quality, whether they are hosting or playing.

  5. Healthcare – Imagine being able to monitor the health of a family member or yourself 24/7 without visiting a clinic or hospital. Thanks to a myriad of connected technologies, many things--from glucose levels and blood pressure to medicine doses and side effects--could be accurately measured and monitored at home. With processing done at the edge, data can be analyzed instantly, triggering devices to either automatically adjust or alert healthcare professionals, both of which can save lives and reduce healthcare costs dramatically.

  6. Smart cities – Cities across the globe are increasingly deploying millions of sensors that collect and monitor traffic, infrastructure, crime and environmental data to improve the quality of life for residents and visitors. With MEC, all that information can be sent to a nearby data center rather than a large centralized one, enabling real-time insights that can drive better, more cost-effective decision making.

  7. Smart homes – With more homes using connected devices—from smart speakers, security cameras and lights to thermostats, appliances and TVs—centralized servers that process data collected from these devices increase privacy risk and latency. MEC addresses those challenges by enabling mobile or IoT devices to process data within the periphery of the home network rather than the cloud, which enhances privacy and security while reducing latency.

  8. Vehicles – As connected vehicle features become standard in many new automobiles, there may come a day in the not-so-distance future where vehicle-to-infrastructure, vehicle-to-pedestrian and vehicle-to-vehicle communication is commonplace. With MEC and the proliferation of sensors that collect and share data in real time, certain vehicles should have the capability to do things like alert another vehicle if it is too close, activate the brakes to avoid a collision and detect if a driver is impaired and temporarily assist the driver with the wheel, all of which help to improve the driving experience while saving lives.

  9. Public safety – Emergency workers and first responders can be equipped with sensor, drone and satellite technology to assist them on dangerous missions. From body cameras to aerial surveillance, data processed at the edge can enable real-time intelligence for reporting and critical updates, which can empower first responders and emergency crews to take decisive and quick action that could dramatically improve public safety. 

  10. Entertainment – While live performances, concerts, conferences and sporting events are on pause, businesses are looking for ways to deliver bold new experiences from a distance. With MEC and 5G, virtual engagement opportunities could include not only live stream but also holograms that may bring the game, the music, the play and the performers all within arm’s reach, right from your sofa. 

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