Mobile World Congress (Americas) — NVIDIA and Ericsson today announced they are collaborating on technologies that can allow telco operators to build high-performing, efficient and completely virtualized 5G radio access networks (RAN). These virtualized networks can enable faster and more flexible introduction of new AI and IoT services.
The collaboration, announced by NVIDIA founder and CEO Jensen Huang at a keynote ahead of the start of MWC Los Angeles, brings together Ericsson’s expertise in RAN technology with NVIDIA’s leadership in GPU-powered accelerated computing platforms, as well as AI and supercomputing. Read the full press release on NVIDIA’s Blog.
Analyst Take: This announcement from NVIDIA was both big and slightly surprising as the company hasn’t been visibly active on the carrier side, but this partnership with Ericsson, one of the largest infrastructure providers for carriers, will spring NVIDIA right back into the center of the carrier discussion around mobile edge cloud.
Why NVIDIA is Well Positioned to help Ericsson
With 5G still in its infancy, telcos are making massive pivots from hardware to software as the goal is to virtualize just about everything and use software defined and network function virtualization to enable more agile dev ops environments. This is all about a better user experience related to speed, security, and flexibility.
While the goal is to make this pivot, it isn’t as easily done. With massive tech debt, most carriers are challenged by A major industry challenge is how to virtualize the complete RAN solution in a cost-, size- and energy-efficient way, comparable with traditionally built RAN networks. Although the specifics of the new collaboration isn’t fully “Productized” yet, it is obvious that the collaboration will examine how these challenges can be addressed in a commercially viable way and then build the platform to deploy.
Working together, I believe the companies will co-create a virtualized RAN technologies platform to deliver radio networks with flexibility and shorter time to market for new services, such as augmented reality, virtual reality and gaming. These specific applications are those bandwidth intensive apps that will need to be fine tuned to deliver an uninterrupted high quality user experience; and will certainly be differentiated for 5G.
I plan to dive deeper into this partnership to explore the broader possibilities, but to me this really will be all about AI. At this same event, NVIDIA launched its new EGX supercomputing platform for edge cloud. This platform will scale around being able to do acceleration for ML and inference at the edge to save massive data migration costs between the edge and cloud. EGX will enable the processing to happen at the edge.
The partnership with Ericsson will create the platform delivered to the carriers to utilize technologies like EGX at scale. As the carriers seek to offer solutions for Smart Cities and Enterprise, it will be critical to utilize the most advanced acceleration at the edge as opposed to an ASIC, FPGA or powerful CPU. With EGX it’s now one of the most powerful GPUs being utilized by the carriers at scale to do AI and ML at the Edge.
At first glance, this is a strong alignment from NVIDIA and good move by Ericsson to utilize a company with deep AI experience to solve growing complexities at the edge being brought on by 5G and shifting consumer demands.
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Futurum Research provides industry research and analysis. These columns are for educational purposes only and should not be considered in any way investment advice.