The Mobile World Congress 2019 (#MWC19) is by far the world’s most important trade show in the telecommunications industry. Around 110,000 professionals from 200 countries attended this year, to see first-hand the 2,400 companies that participated in the congress. With the theme of "Intelligent Connectivity", MWC19 Barcelona highlighted the intersection of "hyper-connectivity", enabled by 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT), and "intelligence", delivered by artificial intelligence (AI) and big data. In addition to the core elements of intelligent connectivity, MWC19 explored key topics like Content, Digital Trust, Digital Wellness and The Future.
As I rode my electrical scooter every day to MWC, I couldn’t help but notice that half the people coming to the event were chinese or of Asian origin, a clear sign of today demographics where most of the technology innovations take place in the Far East. The presence of Chinese, Korean and Japanese companies was very notorious.
5G was clearly the star at MWC19 and it was exciting to see a glimpse of that new world, with 5G-enabled handsets launched, new products and services, and even the first demonstration of live tele-monitored surgery over 5G technology. The MWC19 provided clear evidence that the industry is focusing on the positive revenue impact that this emerging new mobile technology will bring along with plenty of new sophisticated use cases that will put a lot of pressure over existing cloud infrastructure and demand a big investment on the Edge.
5G is real and is here, and nowhere was more obvious than the Ericsson hall, showcasing 5G radio systems, along with 5G dancing spiders, American football stars playing in low-latency VR goggles, or haptic technology for virtual collaboration. Some of these Ericsson cabinets and enclosures had Vertiv power systems and enclosures, including solar hybrid solutions for off-grid or bad-grid sites. Vertiv is part of Ericsson Energy Alliance, a competitive ecosystem and management interface that aims to evolve access networks towards 5G.
For all the hype and buzz around 5G, Edge Computing took center stage and stole some of the attention away of 5G. Telcos are racing to develop new revenue streams around the speed 5G will provide but is the expected low latency that promises an array of new uses and applications that will put a lot of pressure on existing centralized cloud platforms opening a vast business opportunity around Edge Computing. I listened Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella pointing out that what he calls the “Intelligent Edge” will be one of the most powerful developments over the next couple of years
It was a year ago, during the MWC of 2018 that Telefonica and Vertiv announced a partnership to provide Energy Savings as a Service and a year later, during this MWC19 we announced that Vertiv was awarded the “Best Energy Efficiency Solution” which was given to a project carried out at one of the largest locations in Colombia, the Celta Switch in Funza, near Bogota.
Even more compelling than 5G and Edge Computing was the revelation of Vertiv and 451 Group of the research where 90 Percent of Operators Fear Increasing Energy Costs for 5G and Edge. The survey reveals that the move to 5G is likely to increase total network energy consumption by 150-170 percent by 2026, with the largest increases in macro, node and network data center areas. The survey questioned more than 100 global telecoms operators about the opportunities and potential obstacles of deploying 5G services and the impact on edge computing adoption. Vertiv and 451 Research provided more detail on these findings as part of Vertiv’s Partner Programme during MWC19. The program included a keynote by Giordano Albertazzi on the interdependent relationship between 5G and edge computing.
“The challenge for operators considering 5G will be choosing the most mature use cases, verticals and eco-systems where they can play a meaningful and sustainable role. The research Vertiv has undertaken into edge computing use cases and archetypes, together with this latest survey with 451, will help our operator customers and telecoms partners to build more robust business cases for 5G investments and associated edge compute deployments,” said Giordano Albertazzi, president for Vertiv in Europe, Middle East and Africa.
We wrapped up the MWC19 with a mouthful of Barcelona tapas, and many conversations about the challenges and opportunities that 5G and Edge Computing will bring in the years to come, and how to make sure we implement sustainable infrastructures that uses energy saving strategies and minimizes the environmental impact.