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Cloud Will Continue Regardless of 5G

5G will eventually become the de facto network standard for mobile networks. Currently, anyone with a modern smartphone will find their smartphones powered by 4G. However, it won’t be long before 5G is rolled out. In fact, China recently started to release the world’s largest 5G network.

5G will bring many benefits, amongst those the ability to use artificial intelligence on a mass scale and reducing the restrictions on storing data. As such, there have been debates about whether cloud storage will continue to exist in the same capacity it does now.

At Fortune’s Global Tech Forum in Guangzhou, China, a panel of technology experts concluded that cloud computing will definitely continue to exist. Expanding on that, they said cloud computing will be vital when it comes to building a future with 5G. That’s because big data storage demands – which grow by the day – are so vast that 5G cannot handle them alone.

“We still think that cloud computing and storage will play a primary role in managing the 'internet of things' and also of large scale data and data sets,” said Enita Pu, partner at Sequoia Capital China. That’s because one major drawback to 5G is that the devices that run it are only designed to process local data. This makes it tricky when it comes to big data analysis from a broader perspective.

According to Zhang Xia, Principal Enterprise Strategic Evangelist for Amazon Web Services in China, 5G will bring together big data, data analytics, artificial intelligence and the internet of things, therefore creating demand for a mobile cloud network where everything is connected.

Edge computing is where data is processed where it is generated – at the edge – rather than in a centralised warehouse. Xia says that the 5G technologies support this and support cloud technology, making 5G something to complement rather than compete.

“I would not say it’s a post-cloud era, these technologies will co-exist,” said Li Shuo, Deputy General Manager of A.I. Cloud Group at Baidu. His company have an ABC-Stack hybrid-cloud platform. “We see huge potential market through A.I.”

Xia estimates that around 20 to 30 percent of China’s businesses, and half of the developed world’s companies, use the cloud as a key component of their operations. These numbers are only going to grow. As the technological world moves into 5G, the cloud will grow with it.

The movement of cloud computing alongside 5G technology could have a huge impact on our day-to-day lives, if Pu’s theories come true. He believes that we will see the introduction of more immersive online learning, robotic surgeries, and revolutionising how pharmaceuticals are created.

While 5G is a brand new radio technology compared to 4G, you may not immediately notice a different in your phone’s internet speeds. This is because network operators will initially use it as a way to boost existing 4G capacity to provide a consistent service for everyone. Your service will also depend on your carrier and their investment in masts and transmitters. Nevertheless, the future of 5G is exciting.


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