Device Virtualization: Less Than a Decade Away?

November 20, 2017 / SEA, 5G, FLIPS, MEC, NFV, SDN / Posted By: Kelly Capizzi

Device virtualization is on its way and may become a reality far faster than you can imagine. A recent BizTech article explores the road to device virtualization and how 5G can make service endpoint agents (SEA) a reality in potentially less than a decade.  

So, let’s back up – what is a SEA? A SEA device will work differently than your current smartphone. In the device virtualization paradigm, the same principles that allow virtualization across data centers or the abstractions of EPC elements in the cloud are applied to enable the dynamic decomposition of functions in a device into executable tasks. These functions may then be assigned for execution wherever this may be optimal, e.g., in another end user device or in a nearby Edge node. According to Alan Carlton, Vice President, InterDigital Europe, “the essential notion of the SEA is that any user interface can become yours when you need it,” as quoted in the BizTech article.  

While there have been steps toward device virtualization, a mature 5G network will be required for SEAs to be fully functioning devices that offer benefits to end-users. SEAs require the increase in internet speeds and lower latency that 5G is expected to bring by 2020. However, Ted Rappaport, professor of electrical engineering at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering, explains in the article that, “it will take a few years for the 5G technology to mature and reduce in price before we see SEAs, but the world will begin to use them in the early to mid-2020s.”  

InterDigital has been an active contributor to wireless standards for over four decades and currently is focused on helping establish the next generation of wireless. In August, the company announced the world’s first successful Mobile Edge Computing 5G network architecture trial that unveiled new IP networking technology expected to form part of the 5G network architecture.  

Click here to read the full article or for more on device virtualization and SEAs, click here.