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5G digital transformation: Capturing and analyzing data in a continuous flow

by Blogs & Opinions
Article Image As 5G networks continue to roll out across the globe, 5G-enabled phones with data processing speeds never seen before are creating quite a bit of consumer hype. But they're not the ones poised to gain the most from 5G's unprecedented speed.

According to a recent GSMA Intelligence report, by 2025 5G will become the first mobile generation to have a bigger impact on the enterprise than consumers. The organizations that understand this have already begun the digital transformation process and are making huge investments in intelligent connectivity. The imperative for these enterprise organizations is now to shift their focus toward strategies that monetize their investments.

In a traditional data setting, organizations have the luxury of capturing and analyzing data as separate processes. With 5G, this is no longer the case. In the 21st century, data has become more valuable than oil, and organizations must identify ways to monetize the data they ingest in order to gain a competitive edge in today's fail-fast business economy.

To do this, organizations must move data-driven intelligence closer to the edge of the network while also improving business operations in the midst of a digital transformation.

Redesigning data infrastructure

Capturing and then analyzing data in batched queues is no longer fast enough for organizations to gain a competitive advantage. The solution to this problem requires a drastic reduction in the time to value of event data. Real-time data's value is the most contextually important within 10 milliseconds or less. Beyond this timeframe, the data is best used for retraining models generating insights, i.e., Big Data.

Enterprises need a data strategy that can capture and analyze in-event data as it flows through the stream in real-time. When implemented correctly, the two processes feed each other, creating a data streaming loop that utilizes the actionable insights produced by big data in real-time decisions to drive actions recommended by the predictive and prescriptive models. This uncovers the data value that differentiates the leaders from the mediocre.

To achieve this data streaming loop and the latency constraints, organizations must tier their data processing closer to the edge of the network. Moving intelligence closer to the event source is mandatory for enterprises to leverage machine-to-machine (M2M) communication and API-based integration.

Machine-to-machine communication

While not limited to manufacturing, M2M communication has become attractive to many manufacturers and factories looking to automate and monitor production.

5G delivers a real-time control loop where telemetry data from physical assets is used to drive decisions in the digital twins, which in turn invoke control actions in their physical counterparts. In fact, the demand for this level of sophistication has prompted enterprises to turn to private 5G to eliminate any dependencies on service providers that might hinder the required level of agility.

While these requirements can be challenging and expensive, they are necessary to the overall success of a true digital transformation and a successful participation in the fourth industrial revolution. Without the need for human inputs or assistance, IoT devices installed throughout the organization, factory or city are able to communicate with one another in real-time.

As a result of 5G connections, this communication creates data at torrent speeds that require action or insight in real-time to continue its journey to the next device. The fast decision making of M2M communication, which has been refined as a result of millions of in-event decisions on data, can direct and monitor other devices as data continuously flows through the organization's technological infrastructure, being shared and analyzed by each device along the way.

Cisco predicts that the share of M2M connections will grow to 50% of all networked connections by 2023 to make up 14.7 billion connections. That's up significantly from 33.1% in 2018 and just 3.1% in 2017. The organizations that move their decision-making closer to the edge through M2M communication are best positioned to make these billions of connections intelligent.

The speed of 5G is useless without the right infrastructure in place to capture and analyze the data in one succinct process. Logistics, automotive, manufacturing and retail industries all stand to gain from these increased data points and speeds that are promised with 5G infrastructure. Provided with better visibility into overall business processes, enterprise decision-makers will gain access to predictive and prescriptive analytics that drive better business outcomes.

As 5G digital transformation continues to upend traditional business processes, the enterprises that begin investing and refining their data infrastructure now will be the most successful. This begins by auditing the current data stack and redesigning data processing and analysis into one streaming loop at the edge of the network.

Once this has been achieved, organizations can focus on implementing IoT devices that relay actionable insights to other devices in real-time through M2M communication. It's clear that we're in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution and as businesses continue to shift their focus toward data, the speed and scale of that data combined with real-time intelligence is the difference between success and shuttered doors.

Dheeraj Remella, Chief Product Officer, VoltDB

Photo by Franki Chamaki on Unsplash.

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