How AI and 5G will power the next wave of innovation

Here are four real-world examples of where the combination of AI and 5G connectivity is reshaping industries.
Written by Zeus Kerravala, Contributor

In the next 10 years, artificial intelligence is expected to transform every industry, and the catalyst for this transformation is 5G. Together, the two technologies will enable fast, secure, and cost-effective deployment of internet of things devices and smart networks. 

AI-powered 5G networks will accelerate the "fourth industrial revolution and create unprecedented opportunities in business and society," Ronnie Vasishta, senior vice president of telecom at graphical chipmaker and software platform developer NVIDIA, said in a special address at the 2021 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona several weeks ago. 

"Billions of things are located throughout the network and data centers. A ubiquitous 5G network will connect these data centers and intelligent things at the rate, latency, cost, and power required by the application," Vasishta said. "As this network morphs to adapt to 5G, not only will AI drive innovation, but it will also be required to manage, organize, and increase the efficiency of the network itself."

Unlike previous wireless tech generations, 5G was born in the cloud era and designed specifically for IoT. 5G can connect billions of sensors -- such as video cameras -- to edge data centers for AI processing. 

Every industry will be transformed 

Here are four real-world examples of where the combination of AI and 5G connectivity is reshaping industries:

  • Thousands of cameras monitoring automated vehicle assembly. Visual inspection software with deep learning algorithms is used to recognize defects in vehicles. This allows car manufacturers to analyze and identify quality issues on the assembly line.

  • Urban planning and traffic management for smart cities. In an environment where massive amounts of people and things interact with each other, AI-powered visual inspection software monitors all moving and non-moving elements to improve city safety, space management, and traffic.

  • Conversational AI and natural language processing enabling future services. Chatbots, voice assistants, and other messaging services are helping various industries automate customer support. Conversational AI is evolving to include new ways of communicating with humans using facial expression and contextual awareness.

  • Powerful edge computing for extended reality. Cables no longer tether virtual reality and augmented reality to workstations. Thanks to advanced wireless technologies such as 5G, industry professionals can make real-time design changes in AR or be virtually present anywhere in VR. 

NVIDIA has been developing AI solutions for more than a decade, working with an extensive ecosystem of independent software vendors and startups on the NVDIA platform. The company recently partnered with Google Cloud to establish an AI-on-5G Innovation Lab, which network infrastructure and AI software providers will use to develop, test, and launch 5G/AI apps.

NVIDIA's AI-on-5G portfolio includes a unified platform, servers, software-defined 5G virtual radio area networks, enterprise AI apps, and software development kits such as Isaac and Metropolis. A commercial version of NVIDIA AI-on-5G will become available in the second half of this calendar year.

NVIDIA Aerial A100 is built for the 5G era 

Back in April, NVIDIA launched Aerial A100, which, according to Vasishta, is a "new type of computing platform designed for the (network) edge, combining AI and 5G into EGX for the enterprise." NVIDIA EGX is an accelerated computing platform that allows continuous data streaming between 5G base stations, warehouses, stores, and other locations. When implementing EGX with Aerial A100, organizations get a complete AI suite of capabilities.

5G and AI infrastructures today are inefficient because they're deployed and managed separately. For enterprises, running AI and 5G on the same computing platform reduces equipment, power, and space costs while providing greater security for AI apps. For telcos, deploying AI apps over 5G opens up new uses cases and revenue streams. They can convert every 5G base station to an edge data center to support both 5G workloads and AI services.

Telcos and enterprises can greatly benefit from converged platforms like NVIDIA's AI-on-5G, where 5G serves as a secure, ultra-reliable, and cost-effective communication fabric between sensors and AI apps.

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