Predictions 2020 | 5G, Edge Computing and AI to Harness Data | TM Forum


Spotlight on Predictions 2020 |

TM Forum betting big on the power of 5G, Edge Computing and AI

As part of our special series around capturing technology predictions for 2020 – we are putting forward thoughts coming from TM Forum executives.

Nik Willetts, CEO, TM Forum

The next decade won’t be about a single technology breakthrough. It will be about a combination of technologies such as 5G, edge computing and AI to harness data, and our ability to harvest insights and intelligence from that data.

I believe this will allow us to understand the world around us in ways we couldn’t before, and, in turn, drive economic success and solve some of the most significant issues facing our planet.

At a macro level, I’m concerned about how to ensure we all leverage technology use responsibly and in a way that genuinely benefits society. The last decade has been a mixed bag because the change happened much faster than anybody imagined, and we are only now fully understanding the good and bad of this change – including security, privacy and more. Our regulatory systems need to catch up with the pace of change, and companies need to strengthen their ethical agenda.

John Gillam, Chief Technology Officer, TM Forum

It’s really difficult to look 10 years out – three years is practical, and the most people can grasp. That said, it’s interesting to think about the current challenges facing the industry as we move toward 5G.

For example, with the explosion of near and far edge devices, edge computing is a natural progression. Coupled with edge computing, I expect to see a rise of human and tech interaction in health, automotive, entertainment and more. In addition, the idea of going “serverless” is an industry-changer for the long term as is the threat mainstream quantum computing will have on security and disrupting the market.

Last but not least, there is data and the human empowerment of owning and controlling access to your own personal data. I think we will see a 180-degree shift from giving it away blindly to recognizing value and taking control.

Aaron Boasman-Patel, Vice President, AI and Customer Experience, TM Forum

The biggest change in digital technology that the next decade will bring will be the automation of networks and the large-scale deployment of artificial intelligence which will undoubtedly be a huge game changer. AI will be used to facilitate autonomous networks, change the way in which service providers handle operations and provide a hyper-personalized customer experience.

In the next decade, I’m looking forward to the deployment of new B2B services enabled AI, especially in intelligent automated manufacturing, fleet management, etc. I am also looking forward to seeing how AI will enable the predicted 30% reduction in infrastructure spending, or a savings of $9 billion in operating profit, from reducing the amount and duration of network outages.

Joann O’Brien, Vice President, Digital Ecosystems, TM Forum

5G, AI, IoT and intelligence at the edge of the network will impact every industry vertical in the next decade. However, bringing intelligence to the edge where data resides will create cyber security challenges which will need to be addressed.

That said, the advantages will be vast including improved customer service across traditional silos, improved businesses operations for efficiency. In addition, the climate crisis will drive demand from enterprise consumers focused on waste and cost reduction as well as reinvention of processes for sustainability.

Finally, digital transformation will impact our personal lives by creating efficiencies in healthcare, connected municipal systems and improvements in city living.

At a recent smart city event, I watched a demo on how cities could use data to improve the experience for people with disabilities making it easier for them to get about. These are the types of life-changing improvements that can happen with data and highly motivated people. Similarly, in healthcare for example, it takes on average seven years to diagnose a rare disease, and sometimes much longer. By applying AI to streams of data this can be vastly reduced to improve and save lives.

George Glass, Vice President, Architecture and APIs, TM Forum

I’m taking a technical approach to my prediction for the next decade – we will see a seismic shift similar to the one that occurred when routers from Cisco and Nortel replaced switches in the core network in the 1980’s. Physical devices or network elements in the network will disappear over the next decade.

Every component will be a software application running either in the hyper cloud or the edge cloud. These software components will reduce capex and opex by 80%. This is essential move as I doubt many companies or even countries will be able to afford the cost of implementing 6G which might be quantum computing based.