Sponsored If the agenda and sessions at MWC 2019 don’t explicitly mention cloud computing, then there’s a good reason. The emerging technologies that will be explored at the show, which runs as ever in Barcelona from February 25-28, from artificial intelligence (AI), to 5G, to the Internet of Things, all need cloud to underpin them.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking there won’t be any presence on that front. The vendor literature is naturally full of advocating a holistic, tech-utopian landscape. Mavenir describes itself on its page as “the industry’s only 100% software, end-to-end, cloud-native network software provider.” Gemalto on its page puts as a key strength “trusted data exchange from edge devices up to the cloud”, while Huawei in its invitation notes now “new technologies like 5G, AI, IoT and cloud computing are more important than ever.” Exhibitors at this year’s event include, in the shape of Google Cloud, Alibaba Cloud, and IBM, three of the biggest cloud vendors in the space.
Regular readers of this publication will be more than aware of how cloud is the glue which holds the more emerging technologies together. Speaking last year Pat Gelsinger, the CEO of VMware, summed it up nicely. Cloud enables mobile connectivity; mobile connectivity creates more data; more data makes artificial intelligence better; AI enables more edge use cases; and more edge needs more cloud for storage and compute.
Indeed, the links between cloud and AI go deeper. Writing in November, Dr. Wanli Min, chief machine intelligence scientist at Alibaba Cloud, noted that while AI “seems to mean all things to all people”, the evidence suggests a gradual path.
“Crucially, cloud computing using AI isn’t a radical or revolutionary change. In many respects it’s an evolutionary one,” he wrote. “For many organisations, it has been a seamless integration from existing systems, with AI investment gathering pace quickly. Over the next few years we can expect to see the industry continue to boom, with AI driving cloud computing to new heights, while the cloud industry helps bring the benefits of AI to the mainstream.”
If you do look hard enough you will see more concrete references, including an interesting session on February 27 around the concept of ‘cloud XR’ (extended reality) – ‘the spectrum of technologies [combining] generated virtual elements into the real environment.’
Yet this coming together has seen MWC’s message change. Indeed, as is shown in its 2019 theme of ‘intelligent connectivity’, the industry has gone beyond the original ethos of mobile. “We are rapidly moving to a world where mobile will connect everyone and everything, but at the same time, we are expanding our reach beyond ‘just’ mobile,” a blog post explains.
“The theme of this year’s event is ‘intelligent connectivity’ – the term we use to describe the powerful combination of flexible, high-speed 5G networks, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and big data. Intelligent connectivity marks the beginning of a new era defined by highly contextualised and personalised experiences, delivered as and when you want them. This is the future of our industry and our world.”
Editor’s note: This article is brought to you alongside MWC19.