By Dimitris Mavrakis, Research Director, ABI Research
MWC19 will be all about 5G: mobile service providers will officially announce commercial deployments; handset manufacturers will showcase 5G smartphones and the rest of the supply chain industry will announce new products and services to support these first network deployments. There will be many concepts and technologies developing in parallel to 5G at MWC19, including AR/VR, rich media, robotics, drones, and several other use cases across many end markets. Most of these will likely be proof of concepts or ideas rather than actual live implementations. The majority of 5G developments focus on mobile broadband now, and the US has a significant lead.
Several mobile service providers, including AT&T have discussed that AI will be a critical technology to accelerate 5G deployments. One of the hot topics at the event will be how AI and machine learning can help deploy, manage and automate future 5G deployments. AI will certainly be necessary to manage the millions of new devices 5G promises to connect and manage the Terabytes of data the new generation will transport. However, 5G may have more to offer to AI rather the other way around.
5G will introduce distributed intelligence throughout the cellular network, creating the platform for advanced AI algorithms, including federated and personalized learning. This will create the foundation for new enterprise vertical services that utilize the edge of the network for AI model inference, and perhaps even AI model training. The benefits of this are very much sought after: privacy, security, distributed processing, lower latency and what mobile service providers have been trying to achieve since the early days of 3G: to become much more than connectivity enablers.
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