Webinar Takeaways: 3GPP Standards on Edge Computing
In April 2021, a sub-set of 3GPP Market Representation Partners hosted two webinars on edge computing. This second webinar zoomed in on on-going standardisation work in 3GPP TSG Service and System Aspects (SA) to help industry verticals navigate an evolving landscape and understand how they can contribute.
The webinar brought together top experts at the 3GPP plenary level, SA2 (Architecture) and SA6 (application enablement and critical communication applications) for a deep-dive into how 5G and related standards can help harmonise and enable technologies like edge computing and artificial intelligence to work together much more efficiently.
The webinar was co-chaired by Georg Mayer, 3GPP SA Chairman and Stephanie Parker, Trust-IT and Vice-chair of the 5G-IA Pre-Standardisation WG with the John Favaro, Trust-IT and member of the 5G PPP Automotive Working Group.
The webinar was attended by a mix of organisations from both verticals and the telecommunication industry, helping to share a common understanding on edge computing.
Presentations, takeaways and poll findings are published here in our summary report.
Georg Mayer, SA TSG Chairman, 3GPP SA Standardisation Work on Edge Computing
Deep-dive into standardisation work
SA2 – Puneet Jain (Intel), Chairman of 3GPP SA2 - Architecture, SA2 Standards Work on Edge Computing
SA6 – Suresh Chitturi (Samsung), Chairman of 3GPP SA6 - Application Enablement and Critical Communication Applications for vertical markets, EDGEAPP - Architedture for enabling Edge Applications
Panel discussion: Impacts and where we go from here
Panellists: Georg Mayer, SA TSG Chairman, 3GPP SA; Puneet Jain (Intel), Chairman of 3GPP SA2, Suresh Chitturi (Samsung), Chairman of 3GPP SA6,
Chairs: John Favaro and Stephanie Parker, Trust-IT
The interactive discussion highlighted the global scope of 3GPP and the need for industry verticals to get on board and contribute so their voices are heard and see how their requirements could have commonalities with other sector needs.
- 5G will help technologies like edge computing and artificial intelligence to harmonise and enable them to work together much more efficiently.
- 3GPP Release 17 is foundational for edge computing but more will come in future releases given its importance in mobile communications and as we gradually move beyond 5G. The webinar was therefore a timely deep-dive into today's landscape.
- Artificial Intelligence and edge computing can both serve as building blocks but in different ways:
- Network layer perspectives: AI can further optimise edge computing applications.
- Application layer persepctives: Edge computing can be a building block for AI, e.g. offloading limited capabilities from the device to the network.
- Global initiatives like 3GPP can help reduce regional fragmentation, drive convergence and enable network-compliant rollouts that benefit the ecosystem around the world.
- As a global initiative, 3GPP is well placed to build on its strong relationships and collaborations with ETSI MEC and GSMA.
- It is absolutely essential that industry verticals get involved in 3GPP working groups, which is where key activities take place and where their requirements should be channelled. It is also important that verticals understand how their seemingly specific requirements could be relevant to other sectors. Being part of 3GPP is a complex but highly rewarding experience. It does not need to be a life-long commitment.
Poll Findings - Participant Viewpoints
Do you participate in standardization on edge computing?
Interestingly most respondents do not take part in any standardisation initiatives. Hence the webinar series was an opportunity to highlight the many activities taking place and encourage participants to get involved. Those that do take part mostly contribute to 3GPP and other forums (29%) like ETSI (SDO) and industry associations like 5GAA and 5G-ACIA as some of the early movers on edge computing. Beyond 3GPP, a smaller number of respondents (11%) contribute to ETSI and other forums such as 5GAA and GSMA and the same amount (11%) are involved in other forums.
How important do you think coordination on edge computing standardisation is?
Coordination on edge computing standardisation needs to be prioritised with 65% of respondents saying it's vital and another 33% saying it's quite important. Only 1 respondent said it's not needed. An important output via the 5G-IA Pre-Standardisation WG and supported by panellists and organisers (5G-IA, 5GAA, 5G-ACIA and PSCE) would be a user-friendly guide on edge computing standardisation to help stakeholders navigate the landscape.
Do you see a need for new areas of standardisation for edge computing?
Findings from this poll are particularly interesting as we have a close split between those that think more standardisation work is needed (47%) and those that don't know (43%) with just 10% saying it's not needed. Webinar organisers have come up with two possible explanations. On the one hand, we may be looking at a fragmented landscape that would benefit from more unification, also from an architecture perspective. On the other hand, organisations looking at the landscape may simply be overwhelmed by the dverse activities taking place. They may also have new applications sitting on top of the network but are not sure if they need to be standardised. Practical guidance could go a long way in clarifying this uncertainty.
Again, a quick guide on edge computing standardisation could be a useful output, highlighting also the good cooperation already taking place as an important step in the right direction.
Webinar Part 1
The online webinar report on edge computing - industry vertical viewpoints is available here.