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Channel Opportunities Exist in 5G Rollout, Expansion of Edge Computing

Opportunity compass
Vertiv's Ricardo Duque

Ricardo Duque

By Ricardo Duque, Vice President, Channel Strategy for the Americas, Vertiv

Channel Partners Insights logoThe current generation of wireless technology (4G) was the boost smartphone companies needed years ago to place more applications in the palms of our hands. The transition to 5G will present opportunities for many industries over the next several years, particularly in areas encompassing the Internet of Things (IoT) and computing at the edge.

Before 5G, IoT was being developed for anything with an IP address. Within an IoT-enabled architecture, data is collected by a sensor and, in many instances, sent to the cloud for examination and further action. Because a lot of unnecessary data gets transferred, the process consumes bandwidth and slows response times. To reduce that latency issue, edge computing was instituted.

Edge computing is a distributed computing model that brings computing and data storage closer to the end-user. To deliver better experiences, more personalized services and faster response times, many companies will need to significantly enhance their infrastructure to accommodate 5G and serve edge customers. The conversion will bring significant changes to mission-critical infrastructure requirements and in turn will create opportunities for channel partners.

Channel Support for Customers

5G can be a boon for channel partners, but it will depend on how well those partners can support customers’ 5G networks. Those networks will only be as capable as the standards upon which they’re built. Channel partners will need to be at the forefront of the 5G transformation to support early adopters such as financial institutions and smart phone operators, which also are among the initial users of edge technologies.

All 5G adopters will have similar needs. Customers will require partners to help them with infrastructure, including power. According to a 451 Research report commissioned by Vertiv, the majority of the 105 global telecom operator tech decision-makers surveyed expect that 5G will increase power demand 2-3 times, triggering a corresponding increase in energy consumption. Logically, there will be a need for more UPS units of all sizes to provide additional backup, and a need for more of the supporting batteries. That will increase the need for further thermal management to cool all of the additional heat that will be generated. To hold this equipment, more racks will be needed, which presents connectivity issues to contend with and calls for a knowledgeable partner to pull it all together.

Start at the Beginning

End users with edge sites will need to work with an experienced partner for an initial audit to determine the current state of their sites. This assessment should cover the stage of design, current capabilities, connectivity with global sites, distances to core sites, various equipment at different sites and other factors. This understanding will help inform a strategy for optimizing these edge sites and potential 5G capabilities, and managing energy consumption and costs.

Controlling energy consumption will be a focus. As networks become more distributed across hundreds or even thousands of sites, energy costs are a big concern for operators. Understanding it’s not a linear relationship between energy consumption and capabilities, channel partners must be able to offer…

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