Connectivity is undergoing an evolutionary change. The promise of 5G in building a connected world has captured the attention of business leaders and policy makers across the globe. As existing connectivity technologies continuously expand and evolve, we are gradually tapping into the many innovation challenges and opportunities presented by network transformation and how next-gen communication can take it from passive consumption to interactive and immersive visual experiences.
With Intel and Reliance Jio at the helm of this transformation, we put together an esteemed panel to understand the myriad applications around cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and more such technologies in the 5G era. The panel was moderated by CNBC-TV18 anchor Kritika Saxena and comprised of Nivruti Rai, Country Head, Intel India, VP - Data Platforms Group, Intel Corp; Anish Shah, President and Head, Information Technology - Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, Reliance Industries Limited; Lynn A Comp, VP - Data Platforms Group, GM - Visual Infrastructure Division & NPG Strategy, Intel Corp; and Kiran Thomas, President and Director, Reliance Industries Limited.
Excerpts from the discussion:
Kritika Saxena: How are technologies such as ML enabling the transformation that 5G aims to bring in?
Anish Shah: One of the important foundations here is the consumption of data, and so far, Reliance Jio has created the consumption economy. Before Jio began its services, data consumption was 0.2 exabyte per month. But after it was launched, it has gone up to 8 exabytes per month. In fact, within the first six months of Jio's launch, consumption went up by almost 5 times. If you review the details, you’ll see that the primary consumption is largely driven by video-based streaming services. Jio’s connectivity contributed to the rise and popularity of streaming platforms, such as Hotstar and Netflix.
Even the enterprise side of the business uses SaaS applications and video conferencing with the foundation of 4G. The real power of 5G technologies will be in the ability to expand beyond mobile phone applications. We're now also talking about IoT and many more rich applications and services, which can be driven on 5G. Jio's entire strategy of fibre to the home, complemented by 5G, will be in the forefront to provide coverage, low latency and high-speed network. 5G will certainly provide enhanced mobile broadband and also enable machine-like communication, which are IoT-based services. While consumers will gain high-speed data connectivity, it's IoT that will drive the core 5G business.
Kritika Saxena: What role will AI and cloud computing play in changing the current network infrastructure in India? And what role will Intel play in accelerating that vision?
Nivruti Rai: Connectivity is going to be a key enabler. What Reliance Jio has done is, it has laid the complete infrastructure and the generation of required services. But as Anish pointed out, 5G is going to be completely different. The reason behind this is not just the evolution of technology—with 4G going to 5G—but that it's a revolutionary technology. It will not only enable phones but a plethora of activities and value-add usages and services. Be it factory automation, smart cities, intelligent retail to name a few, it will go way beyond phones. With regard to AI and cloud, the market is saying in the next 5 years, you'll see so many digital services come into existence and double in value as compared to today. Whether it's e-commerce or digital ads, they will require enhanced connectivity. To enable these market trends, AI and edge computing will be critical inflection technologies that will drive growth for our country and the world. Also, this is an opportunity for technologists to put these technologies together as a solution and create a platform to enable them. In India, we have millions of MSMEs who will go through a massive transformation through technologies like AI, edge and more enabled through cloud. This will greatly increase their contribution to the economy.
I believe the partnership between Intel and Reliance is a beautiful yin and yang. While Reliance drives services and reaches the masses across the world, Intel looks at technologies which have the ability of compute, storage, graphics, connectivity and memory, and then put all of these nodes into a cluster to create the data centre. Intel has a wide-ranging portfolio of products, including the many forms of AI, which gives it an advantage. We can look at the entire data centre and optimise for power, performance and the usage of components through the Intel® Resource Director Technology (Intel® RDT).
Kritika Saxena: How do you see the emergence of 5G and edge computing as relevant to Reliance Jio now versus what it was 1-2 years ago?
Kiran Thomas: In the last few years, there has been a great acceleration of digital conversion. The other big trend happening now, which is at an inflection point, is that software and algorithms are making everything smarter. Reliance Jio was committed to connecting everyone with everything and providing people with smart devices such as Jio smartphones and IoT devices for homes. The need for data is slated to explode. 5G is the fastest way to bring about that transformation, while fibre will eventually catch up to it and power richer technologies.
Talking briefly about edge computing. When the consumption was lesser, organisations wanted to centralise their supply as it's more efficient to serve small fragments of demand from a few central locations. But that reality is quickly changing as consumption is heating up across the globe. This impacts the cost as we have to create huge capacities within those few locations, and it also generates risks in optimising services in case of security breaches or outages. Hence, it makes sense to push out the content and services towards the edge - closer to where the requirement is - so that we have a resilient infrastructure to mitigate potential risks.
Kritika Saxena: What challenges and opportunities do you see for communications service providers on visual cloud and how can they overcome these challenges and democratise it?
Lynn A Comp: I think it's a great opportunity because communications service providers have so much to be proud of, as they have democratised information and communication. I like to think of AI in two simple ways. AI takes a lot of complicated information and generates insights from the breadth of data coming in, and it also tells you what to do about it. So 5G and AI can allow communications service providers to provide resilience to their infrastructure, to uncover popular content pieces in particular locations, and move it to the edge, in order to gather key insights for better resource management. This ensures that those who need critical information or need to communicate, be it individuals or machines, have what they need. The partnership with Reliance Jio and Intel really comes down to what we are trying to solve together, what platforms we are trying to build together, and what tools can we give to other problem solvers to unleash solutions we've never seen before.
Watch the complete discussion here
This is a partnered post.