What was Announced by Google?
Google is focusing on three areas that impact telecommunication providers:
Monetize 5G/Edge as a Business Services Platform
Through 5G, telcos will be able to deliver unmatched speed and bandwidth to businesses. Unlike 4G/LTE which targeted mobile consumers, 5G is built for businesses and enterprises. It can replace fiber and wired networks with a high-speed, secure Radio Access Network (RAN). Since the telecom provider’s network acts as the conduit to the cloud, they can introduce an edge computing layer that offers unique advantages to businesses. Today In: Cloud
Google’s vision is to empower telcos with a modern edge computing platform that delivers some of the best Google Cloud Platform capabilities to the businesses. This partnership with Google will help telecom companies monetize their 5G network services.
AT&T and Google have partnered to build a portfolio of 5G edge computing solutions for industries like retail, manufacturing and transportation. These solutions will take advantage of Google’s investment in Kubernetes and AI along with AT&T’s wide reach and national footprint.
When 5G becomes available, it will fundamentally change the consumer experience. The low-latency and high-speed network will deliver immersive experiences based on augmented reality and virtual reality. Computer vision services that can perform object detection, image classification and image segmentation will change the retail landscape through Amazon Go-like shopping experience. Smart cities, smart buildings, smart healthcare become a reality.
All of the above scenarios heavily depend on data and AI. The edge computing layer powering these applications should have the best of the breed hardware and software platforms. Google’s leadership in analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence will help telecom providers offer a technology stack to developers and businesses building the next-generation consumer experiences.
Google wants to bring solutions like Contact Center AI that helps companies improve customer service while reducing human capital.
Improve Operational Efficiency
5G introduces new challenges to telecom providers in managing existing legacy networks and introducing new services and technologies. Like other businesses, telcos need to modernize their business processes and platforms to become efficient.
Google wants to run the modern OSS (Operations Support Systems), BSS (Business Support Systems) and network functions in its cloud platform. According to Google, this will provide telecom providers with benefits including a Cloud-based platform to reduce costs and improve IT efficiency and using Google Cloud to virtualize network functions for their core communications networks.
Amdocs and Netcracker have partnered with Google to run the entire customer experience platform, digital BSS/OSS and orchestration stack on Google Cloud.
Google’s Competitive Advantage in the Edge Computing Market
Google is uniquely positioned to exploit the edge computing opportunity. Here are a few investments that work in its favor:
Anthos in the Cloud, Data Center and at the Edge
Google’s Anthos is a modular hybrid cloud platform based on containers and Kubernetes. The current design of Anthos is meant for the enterprise data center but it can be easily refactored for the telco edge. Everything You Want To Know About Anthos – Google’s Hybrid And Multi-Cloud PlatformFORBES Janakiram MSV
Developers can package their applications as containers and Kubernetes deployments that can be run at the edge. Google can easily extend its region and zonal footprint to telecom edge locations to empower businesses to deliver immersive, hyper-local experiences to their customers.
Google announced Anthos for Telecom, which will bring Anthos to the network edge, allowing telecommunications companies to run their applications wherever it makes the most sense. Google compares Anthos for Telecom to Android – an open platform for network-centric applications.
Anthos is the cornerstone of Google’s hybrid cloud, multi-cloud, and edge cloud strategy.
Leadership in Analytics, AI and ML
Google built TensorFlow, the most popular open source machine learning framework used by researchers, AI engineers and ML developers. On GCP, Google built managed services that make it easy for businesses to train, build, deploy, and consume AI services. From TensorFlow Enterprise to AI Platform to Cloud AI services, Google has some of the best cloud-based AI and ML tools. Combined with BigQuery, the data warehouse in the cloud, these AI and ML tools enable businesses to build data-driven, intelligent applications. Why You Should Consider Google AI Platform For Your Machine Learning ProjectsFORBES Janakiram MSV
Google’s Global Mobile Edge Computing Platform takes advantage of the AI and ML services on GCP to provide faster inference and analytics to customers. The edge can run optimized machine learning models that help in predictions and classification in near real-time.
Cloud TPU and Edge TPU Innovation
Google built custom hardware to accelerate the training and inference of machine learning models. Cloud TPU, much like GPUs in the cloud, speeds up training deep learning and machine learning models on Google Cloud Platform. Edge TPU is the counterpart of Cloud TPU that can speed up inferencing TensorFlow models running at the edge. How AI Accelerators Are Changing The Face Of Edge ComputingFORBES Janakiram MSV
If Anthos is the software platform for the edge, Edge TPU becomes the hardware component that will complement Anthos to run AI at the edge.
It would not be a surprise if Google builds a hyper-converged Anthos appliance for the telecom providers. This appliance may run a toned-down version of Anthos/Google Kubernetes Engine powered by Edge TPU.
The Global Footprint of CDN
Google has 21 cloud regions and 134+ Content Delivery Network (CDN) locations across the globe. Through its Point of Presence (PoP) and edge locations, Google delivers some of its services such as Search, Gmail, YouTube, Photos and more. Interestingly, most of these PoPs already run within a telco facility or data center.
Google will capitalize on the global footprint by augmenting some of the PoPs with its edge computing platform. When the CDN locations double up as Global Mobile Edge Computing hubs, they expose compute and storage via Anthos.