How Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) will Drive an Evolution of Communications and Computing and Industry Consolidation

Big Changes are coming to communications and computing oriented businesses.  Which means, big changes are coming everywhere.  Prepare yourself.

In a previous post, Mind Commerce answers the question: What is Multi-access Edge Computing ?  We elaborate on the further here:

Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) is the new ETSI terminology for MEC, which refers to all methods of communications access at the edge of networks.  These methods include the previous emphasis, Communication Service Provider (CSP) cellular mobile systems, as well as WiFi, WiMax, as well as non-wireless access methods.

A New Communications/Computing Paradigm

The implications for multi-access go well beyond simply being inclusive to non-cellular infrastructure providers.  The ramifications also go beyond the acknowledgement that carrier WiFi is an important part of CSP Heterogeneous Networks (HetNet).


MEC to Drive Computing/Communications Network Convergence

With this new definition, there is an opportunity for datacenter providers to expand their operations beyond the traditional centralized approach towards a more distributed approach.  This means that mini-datacenters will be at the edge of networks.  Also, since the very definition of networks is merging with edge computing to include both communications and computing, the new definition also means that datacenter providers will be part of carrier HetNets.

New MEC Communications/Computing Paradigm Impact on Datacenters

There will be a benefit for datacenter providers as they realize opportunities for expansion as edge networks grow.  However, there will also be great challenges as planning between computing and communications become increasingly intertwined.

One of the major outcomes that Mind Commerce sees from this long-term is that CSPs will become even more reliant upon managed services than they already are with current cellular operations.

MEC Impact on Managed Communications Services and Datacenters

While existing communications managed service providers, such as Ericsson, are an integral part of services delivery today, they will be ill equipped to handle the implications of edge computing longer-term as simultaneous communications/computing design, engineering, planning, and operations becomes the norm.  Major issues will come to the forefront including computing efficiency and scalability as well as human resource issues such as expertise and core competency.

Accordingly, Mind Commerce sees the new MEC communications/computing paradigm driving industry consolidation.   For instance, a merger between the likes of Ericsson and Dell EMC would not be out of the question.

Mind Commerce has also suggested the possibility of a merger of a major CSP and a computing company.


A Carrier and Computing Company Merger a Possibility with MEC?

The evolution from the present situation to a more complex web of distributed communications/computing nodes will be largely driven by the uptake of MEC Applications.

See Nokia Multi Access Edge Computing (MEC) Applications presentation

MEC will enable many new and enhanced applications and services including improvements in Augmented Reality, Location-based Services, Enterprise-specific Context Aware Services, Real-time Data as a Service (DaaS), and more.

Some of these applications will require more ongoing computing management than others including data updates for those apps that require frequent re-caching of information.  This will represent a drain on operational resources for most CSPs and even existing managed communication providers.

More Information and Research

MEC is poised to transform ICT to create a new communications-computation paradigm in which planning, engineering, deployment, and operation of telecommunications and computing will occur simultaneously.  The implications will be to blur the lines between Communications Service Providers (CSP) and data/computing companies (datacenter, data services, and/or cloud services).


Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC): Market Outlook and Forecasts 2017 – 2022 evaluates MEC technology, architecture and building blocks, ecosystem, market drivers, applications, solutions, and deployment challenges. The report also analyzes MEC industry initiatives, leading companies, and solutions. The report includes a market assessment and forecast for MEC users and MEC revenue globally, regionally, and within the enterprise market for years 2017 to 2022. Forecasts include MEC infrastructure (equipment, platforms, software, APIs, and services).

Further Reading

See Enterprise Networking Planet article: MEC: The Glue That Will Hold the IoT Together MEC blurs the lines between communications service providers (CSPs) and companies that provide data, data center and cloud services

See Mind Commerce article: What is Multi-access Edge Computing ?

About Mind Commerce

Analysis of telecom and ICT infrastructure, technologies, and applications.
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