Location-based, as-it-happens marketing should become more relevant to individual consumers, and analytics could allow marketers to tweak campaigns on the go. Faster connectivity could also enable higher-resolution and AR ads at the point of purchase (POP); mobile 4K and 8K video streaming; and relevant, omnichannel customer interactions through out-of-home (OOH) networks that feel like they’re happening in real time.
A solution that combines computer vision and augmented reality to enable faster, safer navigation through smoke, dust or fog-filled environments and transmit visual point of view (POV), telemetry data and location to command and control is currently being tested at the Verizon 5G First Responder Lab, along with other solutions to improve responder safety and awareness.
Organizations should be able to develop massive, scalable and valuable IoT capabilities known as MIoT. MIoT deployments could generate and harness huge amounts of data to drive advanced analytical and artificial intelligence (AI) programs and provide mission-critical services known as Ultra Reliable, Low Latency (URLL).
Fully connected and automated factories could detect issues in near real time, potentially reducing error rates, increasing productivity and paving the way for real-time enterprise (RTE)—the holy grail of manufacturing technology.
Data-driven business intelligence
The ability to ingest and process vast amounts of data essentially in real time could empower organizations to rapidly respond to changing markets and demand.
5G and MEC could amplify three key technologies that will transform logistics: IoT performance tracking, robotics and distribution automation.
Communities that tap into the power of 5G and MEC could drive improvements in:
- Public safety (smart streetlights, remote security monitoring, as-it-happens response)
- Transit (intelligent rail, smart parking)
- Utilities (water treatment and management)
- Citizen engagement (public Wi-Fi access and emergency preparedness)
5G and MEC could also profoundly impact next-generation hardware by opening up the opportunity to rethink mobile devices. Smartphones could become more battery efficient, with much of the processing moving off of the device and to the edge.
Processing and capabilities currently reside on the device, making smartphones and other mobile devices expensive, complex and tough on batteries. Enabling near real-time operations on today’s devices would require major improvements in battery life, as well as mobile chipsets for AI/machine learning (ML), computer vision and other complex processes.
Computing at the edge opens the door to low-cost, lightweight mobile devices with wide-ranging capabilities and long battery life. A single device, whether a smartphone, tablet, goggles, headset or biomedical monitor, could leverage a broad range of advanced capabilities located at the network edge.
And because MEC architecture can be deployed on RAN sites at the farthest edge of the network, 5G and MEC could also deliver localized compute services specific to an environment or industry, such as oil and mining operations, manufacturing plants, hospitals, universities, public safety and other government facilities, sports arenas, and business campuses.
The Verizon network: MEC built right
MEC is an essential aspect of Verizon’s network architecture. It is, in fact, one of the four key elements—along with massive fiber resources, small cell deployment and critical millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum holdings—that makes Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband unique.
Verizon operates thousands of C-RAN and SAP sites (Service Access Point or distribution switch locations) that can run MEC services and is currently integrating network and compute in areas throughout the network. Verizon engineers have successfully tested MEC on a live 5G network, cutting latency in half.6
As Adam Koeppe, Verizon Senior Vice President for Network Planning, recently noted, “To achieve near-zero latency, where data moves many times faster than the blink of an eye, having computing functions closer to the user is a vital step.”
Verizon is conducting frequent 5G and MEC tests and simulations, and is working with everyone from NFL players to firefighters to race car drivers to test the boundaries of what the two technologies can do.
At the Verizon 5G Labs, located in New York, Los Angeles, Palo Alto, Waltham and Washington, D.C., innovators, start-ups and entrepreneurs are exploring the power and possibilities of 5G technology as they help grow the 5G ecosystem.
It’s important to note, too, that low latency is far from the only benefit 5G and MEC could bring. We expect businesses and government agencies to also greatly benefit from the unprecedented increases in speed, bandwidth, throughput, reliability, agility, scalability, energy efficiency, privacy and security that these two technologies can deliver.7