NVIDIA unveils EGX edge AI platform, Aerial 5G SDK; teams up with Microsoft, Ericsson
NVIDIA has announced a combination of edge computing and 5G networking innovations around its graphics processing unit (GPU) technologies, to drive scale of artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT), and 5G applications.
Its new NVIDIA EGX Edge Supercomputing Platform is geared for rapid-fire data analytics to support artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT), and 5G applications, at scale, with low latency, the company said. It is targeted at industrialists and enterprises looking to harness streaming data from factory floors, manufacturing lines, and city streets.
Early adopters of the platform include BMW, Procter & Gamble, Samsung Electronics NTT East, and Walmart, along with the cities of San Francisco and Las Vegas. Early ecosystem partners include Microsoft, Ericsson and Red Hat. More than 100 tech companies, from startups to establishment firms, are also experimenting, it said.
In parallel, NVIDIA has released a new 5G software developer kit (SDK), called Aerial, to work with NVIDIA GPUs, and enable telcos to create more programmable and scalable 5G networks that can deliver AI-intensive services such as smart factories, and mixed reality solutions.
In a keynote at MWC Americas in Los Angeles, Jensen Huang, the company’s founder and chief executive, said: “The world’s largest industries want to have AI computing at the edge, to extract insight from continuous streams of data, and to sense, reason and act at the point of action. In time, this will be the largest-scale computing ever created, connecting trillions of smart sensors.”
He said: “We’ve entered a new era, where billions of always-on IoT sensors will be connected by 5G and processed by AI. Its foundation requires a new class of highly secure, networked computers operated with ease from far away. We’ve created the EGX platform for this world, where computing moves beyond personal and beyond the cloud to operate at planetary scale.”
The EGX platform combines the Santa Clara based computing company’s CUDA-X software and GPU servers and devices. It features software to support applications including NVIDIA’s Metropolis AI video analytics programme for smart cities and its new Aerial 5G software developer kit (SDK).
The NVIDIA Aerial SDK runs on the EGX stack, bringing GPU acceleration to Kubernetes infrastructure. The EGX stack includes an NVIDIA driver, NVIDIA Kubernetes plug-in, NVIDIA Container runtime plug-in and NVIDIA GPU monitoring software.
Telcos can install all required NVIDIA software as containers that run on Kubernetes. The company said in a statement: “In short, Aerial enables the highest return on investment by providing elasticity as network traffic changes throughout the day, as well as the flexibility to offer services based on changing customer needs.”
Red Hat and NVIDIA are seeking to accelerate adoption of Kubernetes in enterprise data centres, letting customers use the EGX platform and Red Hat’s OpenShift, providing Kubernetes for automating the 5G network functions and edge services, to more easily deploy NVIDIA GPUs to accelerate machine learning at the edge.
Jim Whitehurst, president and chief at Red Hat, said: “The next generation of mobile networks won’t be defined by inflexible, proprietary solutions – they will be founded in open cloud-native technologies. We see a tremendous advantage to running standardised software at the telco edge, helping to enable a range of new workloads via dynamically scalable services.”
Meanwhile, Metropolis, NVIDIA’s AI video analytics programme, has been optimised to work with Microsoft’s Azure IoT edge and machine learning solutions, as well as a new version of its ‘data box edge’ appliance, which runs on NVIDIA’s T4 GPUs.
Satya Nadella, chief executive at Microsoft, said: “Computing is becoming embedded in every place and every thing. Organisations require a distributed computing fabric that spans the cloud and edge. With NVIDIA, we’re bringing the power of Azure and Azure AI to the edge, enabling breakthrough experiences for our customers.”
A number of telcos voiced their support for the twin announcements. Yasuyuki Nakajima, president and chief at KDDI Research, said: “The telco industry is eagerly adopting cloud-native architecture to meet the growing compute demands of 5G. We are learning how the compute performance of NVIDIA GPUs, together with NVIDIA’s Aerial SDKs, can address the challenges of building flexible, high-performance virtualized telecom networks.”
Chris Wright, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Red Hat, commented: “5G networks must rely on software-defined infrastructure from the core to the edge to enable a range of high-value services, like AI/ML, IoT and autonomous driving. Red Hat’s vision of extending cloud-native technologies to the edge combined with NVIDIA’s flexible Aerial SDK aims to bring GPU-acceleration to 5G RAN.”
As well, NVIDIA and Ericsson have announced a collaboration at MWC Americas to bring together Ericsson’s RAN technology with NVIDIA’s GPU-powered computing platforms, as well as AI and supercomputing. The pair are seeking ways to help telcos virtualise the RAN solution, whilst saving on cost, form factor, and energy usage.
Fredrik Jejdling, executive vice president and head of networks at Ericsson, said: “We will jointly look at bringing alternatives to market for virtualizing the complete radio access network.”
The EGX software stack architecture is supported by Canonical, Cisco, Nutanix, Red Hat and VMware. NVIDIA highlighted initial EGX use cases in its MWC press announcement.
Walmart is using EGX at its ‘intelligent retail lab’ in Levittown, New York, a fully operating grocery store exploring how to use AI to improve in-store shopping. With EGX, NVIDIA said Walmart is able to compute in real time more than 1.6 terabytes of data each second, and use AI to automatically alert associates to restock shelves, open checkout lanes, retrieve shopping carts, and ensure product freshness in meat and produce departments.
Samsung Electronics is using AI at the edge for its semiconductor design and manufacturing processes. The Korean firm said the EGX platform is helping it to extend manufacturing and design applications onto its factory floors.
The German automaker is using intelligent video analytics in its South Carolina manufacturing facility to automate inspection. EGX is helping to gather data from cameras and other sensors in inspection lines.
The Japanese telecom services company is using EGX in its data centres to develop new AI-powered services in remote areas in its broadband access network. NTT East said it will provide remote populations the computing power and connectivity required to build and deploy a wide range of AI applications at the edge.
Procter & Gamble
Consumer goods company Procter & Gamble is working with NVIDIA to develop AI-enabled applications on top of the EGX platform for the inspection of products and packaging to help ensure they meet the highest safety and quality standards. With EGX, the company said it can analyse thousands of hours of footage from inspection lines and flag imperfections.
City of Las Vegas
Las Vegas is using EGX to capture vehicle and pedestrian data to ensure safer streets and expand economic opportunity. It plans to use the data to autonomously manage signal timing and other operational capabilities.
City of San Francisco
The city’s Union Square business district is using EGX to capture real-time pedestrian counts for local retailers, providing business intelligence for engaging with customers. Retailers in the area can deliver better customer experience, reduced waiting times and higher operational efficiency.