Red Hat: The evolution of IoT and 5G technologies

By Georgia Wilson

Ian Hood, Chief Technologist, Global Service Provider at Red Hat, is an “engineer and problem solver at heart.” Throughout the last few decades of his career, Hood has worked in the telecommunication sector designing hardware, software and networks, for governments, banks and global providers.

Hood was drawn to Red Hat just over three years ago, finding the “open source way of life quite intriguing.” From software development, to marketing, sales and support, the open source “approach is applied to every aspect of the business,” says Hood. He goes on to say that “being able to work together with customers to solve complex technical and business challenges around the world and being able to share that knowledge with other customers, partners and industries,” is a key aspect of his role at Red Hat that initially led him to the company in the first place.

Day to day in his role, Hood primarily engages with telecommunication, media and digital service providers to architect and optimize the efficiency of next generation 5G, MEC and edge infrastructure as well as the innovative cloud-native services and applications that the technology may be combined with.

“Our customers are already demonstrating innovations in their 5G and Edge labs that use drones with high definition camera recording for public safety and firefighting; healthcare is making use of data sharing for brain scans between hospitals and clinics; manufacturing and mining sites are using innovations to control heavy equipment,” says Hood.

Current trends that are exciting Hood the most relate to “the intelligent use of data streams and telemetry for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).” Many examples of this can be seen in healthcare and customer services, but Hood sees “a broad potential to combine AI and ML with software-defined infrastructure and cloud native applications deployed at the far edges of networks, to bring these services beyond urban centers and improve lives everywhere.” Key industries that Hood feels will benefit most from the adoption on IoT technologies “to affect our quality of life” for the good include: healthcare, manufacturing, agriculture, transportation and automotive.

“Everywhere around the world, communications service providers are aggressively testing 5G innovations and multi-access edge computing (MAEC) technology,” says Hood. While he believes many connected IoT business applications can run on current Long-Term Evolution (LTE) networks “those that require consistent low latency, high bandwidth and large-scale distribution of end points will gain a significant boost from 5G and perhaps be impossible without it.”

Hood believes industries that stand to benefit from 5G include:


“Monitoring and reporting low data streams in real time – machine operating data like temperature or air pressure, for example – is already a central component of plant management,” says Hood. However, the development of 5G will continue to “evolve manufacturing by making much higher data streams possible, creating a ‘factory of the future,’ where networked machines will be able to respond efficiently to tasks, whether they are issued by human commands or through AI and robotics.” Additionally, “the consistency of lower latency rates enabled by 5G distributed architectures enables improved reliability of remote applications and processes, reducing risk.”


“Transportation of the future will benefit greatly from a hybrid of distributed 5G and MEC architectures and the dynamism of software-defined networking,” says Hood. Implementation of this hybrid technology will “enable efficient and reliable delivery of applications at massive scale anywhere on the planet.”

Smart cities:

In order for a city comprised of interconnected solutions to function, millions of sensors must transmit data simultaneously, making a smart city essentially a blended workload bringing together upwards of 20-30 or more IoT devices each with different requirements,” says Hood who believes “the seamless connectivity, telemetry, security and analytics capabilities offered by 5G can ensure every sensor and device work together effectively.”

Hood does however, acknowledge that with these 5G innovations there are challenges and risks, in particular – cyber threats. “The key to securing any system is to design with all aspects of security in mind. ood,.HThis means everything in the entire supply chain,” says Hood. Key implementations to stay ahead of cyber threats include “organisation-wide commitment, risk management, clear governance, and accountability, with requirements for consistent, repeatable processes and best practices. Being secure means maximizing the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the systems and infrastructure that comprise the 5G, MEC and IoT environment.”

Looking to the future, Red Hat looks to continue towards its vision of an open hybrid cloud enabling customers to deliver any application or service on any infrastructure. “We are already seeing many deployments of hybrid cloud for enterprise as well as service providers, and with the expansion of the 5G, MEC infrastructure being deployed, these applications may be deployed across a collection of open edge clouds,” says Hood. “We also expect to see applications of AI, ML, blockchain, AR, VR and the advent of serverless computing across healthcare, automotive, agriculture, manufacturing and finance.”

Going forward, Red Hat – while retaining its independence and continuing to build and expand all its partnerships – will look to continue its relationship of over 20 years with IBM, “working together to solve compelling business challenges for customers.” IBM and Red Hat share a common objective to drive innovation across the hybrid cloud with choice and flexibility. As well as giving customers the opportunity “to take advantage of Red Hat and IBM’s modular agile integration and business intelligence and open API management tools to accelerate their time to revenues.”

“The key focus for us is how to help them expand and evolve their current environments in a practical manner while providing compelling business benefits along with improved customer experiences - quite an exciting time for all of us.”

Established over 25 years ago, Red Hat are leading global providers of open source solutions to help companies in all industries and regions to digitally transform and become better interconnected. Red Hat’s open source portfolio covers: hybrid cloud infrastructure, middleware, agile integration, cloud-native application development, management solutions and automation solutions.


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