Friday, March 10, 2017

Have we taken computing, bit storage and bit transport for granted?

If you over heard the terms IoT (internet of Things), AI (Artificial intelligence),  VR (Virtual Reality), AR (Augmented Reality), AV (Autonomous Vehicles) and many others alike, during the past couple of years, especially in the beautiful city of Barcelona - if you happened to be at MWC (Mobile World Congress) 2017, then you’re not the only one. Celicitaciones! (On a different note, I also thought to myself that the abbreviations are also becoming shorter – 2 letters instead of 3 /4 letters).

All of a sudden, the terms we used to hear and discuss often – like IP (Internet Protocol), Ethernet, MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching) - in the Telecom industry have been replaced by a set of more sexy terms like IoT, AI, VR, AR, AV, etc. These new techs have also broken the boundaries of traditional Telco industry and many cross disciplines – like medical, education, transportation, trading, finance, etc.- have been interconnected like never before.
But, one thing that most of the new technologies seems to be taken for granted is the presence of readily available underlying infrastructure, mainly consist of computing, bit storage and bit transport. These are the three fundamental tasks we have been doing in the entire history of ICT (Information and Communications Technology). No doubt that these three areas have also been improved and matured over the years and today we have super computers capable of super-fast computing,  DCs (Data Centers) with massive capacities and networks with Terabit bandwidths.

However, as IoT, AI, VR, AR, AV, etc, are commoditizing and commercializing in a rapid pace than we thought, can we simply take the infrastructure for granted? The size and shape of different vectors like scale, capacity, responsiveness, etc. on the infrastructure to support the requirements of overlay services/applications might suddenly create catastrophes, if we do not prepare ourselves today. It’s a good sign that we now see, at least in small scale, some discussions happen across these areas. Don’t be surprised the next time you go to an optical conference, and you hear someone talking about VR/AR.
What is required is a more collaborated discussions and researches to view and address the total requirement as a whole, making sure to include all the stakeholders. These stakeholders surely will not come entirely from telecom domain, but from different other domains we might never have thought of.

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