Singtel has partnered with Intel to establish a 5G multi-access edge compute (MEC) incubator aimed at enabling enterprises to adopt 5G, deploy applications that need low latency processing at the edge, drive innovation and accelerate digital transformation efforts.
The incubator will be powered by Intel’s 4th Gen Xeon Scalable processors and Intel Data Center GPU, codenamed Ponte Vecchio, and supported by Singtel’s Paragon – which was launched earlier this year.
Paragon is intended for enterprise customers to maximise the telecommunication provider’s 5G network and activate network slices on-demand, in addition to deploying mission-critical applications on Singtel MEC and accessing a “robust ecosystem” of partner applications.
“Singtel’s 5G network and Paragon MEC platform are transforming operations in sectors such as advanced manufacturing, smart logistics, healthcare, retail, transportation and urban planning,” said Bill Chang, CEO of Group Enterprise and Regional Data Centre Business at Singtel.
“With Intel, we’re collectively bringing together our best of breed knowledge, expertise, assets and ecosystem to help address business needs, improve operational efficiencies, unlock new opportunities and advance in a 5G world.”
With the incubator, enterprises can tap into Singtel and Intel’s ecosystem to deliver their 5G use cases, including ready-to-deploy applications for rapid trials and proof of concepts for research and development.
Specifically, the alliance will focus on developing the application and ecosystems that deliver “transformational” enterprise and consumer use cases like high-definition content delivery, cloud gaming, video analytics, virtual-augmented-mixed reality and metaverse.
One of the first successful trials on the platform is a content delivery solution which has shown a reduction in the time needed to load videos – approximately by up to 46 per cent on 5G Edge MEC compared to 4G with public cloud.
Other ongoing trials include a video analytics artificial intelligence (AI) solution in collaboration with Axis Communications, a mixed reality usage solution for real-time workspace collaboration with HTC, and a liquid cooling solution developed by Quanta that aims to optimise performance through lowering CPU temperature by 11.8 Celsius and enhance power savings.
“As enterprises navigate a significant digital transformation, technologies like 5G, edge, AI and cloud play a key role in helping to deliver new use cases," added Christoph Schell, executive vice president and chief commercial officer at Intel.
"Our collaboration with Singtel will help accelerate use of these technologies to solve real business challenges, by utilising our unique combination of hardware and software spanning Xeon, GPUs, Smart Edge, OpenVINO and more, and also a broad portfolio of ecosystem innovations."
Anticipating a 5G future
Speaking to journalists at the launch event held in Singapore, Chang acknowledged that when it comes to scaling 5G adoption, the ecosystem has an "exciting start" but that there is "still a huge opportunity ahead".
"Many enterprises are starting to understand how the impact of 5G can transform their operations but I think they are still in the midst of figuring out their current-day investments," he evaluated. "So we are in the midst of helping many enterprises to figure out the business case so that they can then scale beyond experimentation."
Chang also anticipated that 5G will "probably [be] mainstream" even in the coming years and viewed it as a "rising tide" that businesses should capitalise on. As such, Chang observed that system integrators and solution providers have started to "move into the 5G era" due to the "opportunities to help customers migrate".
Schell went on to emphasise that considerations for 5G readiness and the opportunities behind its adoption is underscored by digital transformation, and he outlined four factors that businesses or countries can study when evaluating uptake – infrastructure innovation, having an open ecosystem to bring outcomes to life, talent, and customer interest.
“At the end of the day, what you need to think about is the value for a customer,” he asserted. Some arenas Schell cited where digital transformation and 5G can bring value include sustainability and cybersecurity, with a variety of industry use cases such as in transportation and manufacturing.
Chang concluded that countries are or will be looking to digitalise, especially in a post-COVID era, and affirmed that “Singtel will always be on the front foot to open the next frontier” of technology.