Cloud Computing

One issue that comes into mind for cloud computing is the future development of cloud computing and where innovation and advancements in technology will take it. The fact that it was none of the companies that “owned” the network that pioneered in cloud computing is remarkable. The network operators (e.g. AT&T, Comcast, Verizon in the United States) were placed in the number one position to start the cloud computing business and expand their revenue streams by providing cloud services. A look at the current incumbents in terms of revenue shows that no communications service provider (CSP) is among the leading players in cloud computing ( ).

In 2017 Microsoft and Amazon lead the space with each over $20B reported annual revenue from their cloud computing business units, followed by IBM ($10B) , Oracle ($6B), Google ($4B) and, Alibaba ($2B).


Breaking down cloud computing into the three models is a good way of understanding the space:


  1. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (fundamental building blocks of computing)
  2. Platform-as-a-Service (underlying storage, virtual servers, tools and software for developers)
  3. Software-as-a-Service (delivery of applications as a service)


The following article gives more details and information on this: (


Looking forward, it will be interesting to see how cloud computing will develop in the future and if new players will disrupt the current cloud computing landscape. The terms and buzzwords that come to mind here are:


Mobile Edge Compute (MEC) – Fog Computing – Low Latency Compute


The terms are often used interchangeably and industry players like Verizon or AT&T (communications service providers) and companies like Nokia and Ericsson (suppliers for mobile network equipment) are in a fierce race for defining and marketing these terms and the services that will be built with these technologies.


An IEEE newsletter article gives an introductory overview what can be understood as MEC ( ): The general idea of cloud computing is to offload computing tasks to the cloud to achieve better performance or battery life on mobile devices. When it comes to computing or storage intensive operations the idea is to bring the cloud closer to the edge of the network and to the users. So mobile edge computing can be described as computing, storage and networking resources integrated with the base station of wireless networks.


For the end user, the benefits of such an architecture can be described as:


  1. High speed (>10 Gbps peak data rates)
  2. Low latency (extreme responsiveness of critical machine communications)
  3. Massive scale (10-100 times more devices will be connected to wireless networks compared to today)


The high speed will enable immersive video experiences, low latency will make remote control of devices without any lag possible, the massive scale refers to the rapidly growing amount of connected devices at consumers homes as well as in businesses.


Let’s have a closer look at what kind of use cases will be enabled by 5G technology. Some examples are:


  1. Virtual Reality with HD video streaming
  2. High-Bandwidth upload for Drones with 4K video transmission
  3. Ultra-low latency in telemedicine and remote surgeries of patients
  4. Vehicle to Vehicle communications and Vehicle-to-X communications for autonomous vehicles
  5. Remote video surveillance with facial recognition technologies through AI and ML
  6. Remote expertise, guidance and communication through real-time augmented reality experiences


So as we have seen with the cloud computing benefits of rapid deployment of resources and quick scalability the wireless networks of the future will include mobile edge compute capabilities and become smarter. One way to achieve that is what is described with the term network slicing. On the operator side applications can be clustered together and then supported by dedicated network slices specified for these applications. The following article gives a good overview of how 5G network slicing will allow operators to split a single physical network into multiple virtual networks ( ).



Finally, it is important to understand that communication service providers (CSPs) will be able to create new revenue streams through 5G. The CSPs were raking up huge revenues by their recurring revenue through selling mobile cellular phone connection contracts. These services are currently getting commoditized. Serving new industries and emerging 5G use cases opens up the opportunity to build new business models in the same way cloud service providers have done over the past decade.

Further reading on the topic: