Published on November 16, 2023, 4:18 pm

As the commercial rollout of 5G continues, the importance of distributed computing in enabling edge-to-cloud compute operations has become increasingly evident. However, in the transition to 6G, distributed computing will take on a leading role, transforming from a supportive function to a critical component.

According to ABI Research, a solid strategy for distributed computing and artificial intelligence (AI) will be essential for successful commercial deployment and enterprise use cases in the 6G era. “End users in the 6G era will not simply be concerned with connecting devices and generating data. Instead, they will focus on extracting valuable insights from this data to make real-time operational decisions,” says Reece Hayden, analyst specializing in distributed and edge computing at ABI Research.

Hayden predicts that as enterprises and service providers adopt 6G networks, the role of distributed computing will undergo significant changes. He emphasizes the need for deploying 6G networks across distributed computing domains with integrated edge AI resources to deliver effective services for enterprise applications.

The shift towards 6G will drive greater convergence of technologies and an increased role for distributed computing integrated with edge AI. Three core expectations of 6G – technology, commercialization, and society – will contribute to this growth:

1. **Technology**: 6G networks are expected to operate in the sub-terahertz spectrum, resulting in denser deployment and higher data speeds. To meet real-time deployment requirements and support revolutionary enterprise use cases, these networks must be built on cloud-native architectures that are highly disaggregated, agile, and capable of intelligent scaling.

2. **Commercialization**: The enablement of use cases, extraction of data value, and fulfillment of end-to-end network service expectations will render best-effort service level agreements (SLAs) inadequate. Instead, distributed intelligence resources will be crucial for real-time data computation, value extraction support, guaranteed SLAs, and telco network monetization through ubiquitous network slice deployment.

3. **Society**: 6G is anticipated to promote sustainability and bridge the digital divide. The integration of distributed computing will facilitate data localization, reduce backhauling, lower network power consumption, and prioritize social value.

However, achieving seamless integration between distributed computing and AI will not be a simple task. Reece Hayden highlights the importance of market standardization through increased cooperation and openness to overcome knowledge gaps and investment costs that could hinder telco-led technological convergence.

Though it is still early in the development process for 6G, meeting the ambitious expectations for 6G networks will require a mature strategy for distributed intelligence that fully leverages the network edge, telco cloud, and integrates intelligence within network deployment and enterprise services.

In conclusion, as we move towards commercializing 6G networks, distributed computing will take center stage with its integration with edge AI. This shift promises greater convergence of technologies and opens up new possibilities for enterprises and service providers. However, it will require a well-thought-out strategy and collaboration among stakeholders to overcome challenges along the way.

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