The smartphone revolution that's swept the globe over the past decade is just the start, NVIDIA founder and CEO Jensen Huang declared Monday.
Next up: the "smart everything revolution," Huang told a crowd of hundreds from telcos, device manufacturers, developers and press at his keynote ahead of the Mobile World Congress gathering in Los Angeles this week.
"The smartphone revolution is the first of what people will realize someday is the IoT revolution, where everything is intelligent, where everything is smart," Huang said. He squarely positioned NVIDIA to power AI at the edge of enterprise networks and in the virtual radio access networks – or vRANs – powering next-generation 5G wireless services.
Among the dozens of leading companies joining NVIDIA as customers and partners cited during Huang's 90-minute address are Walmart — which is already building NVIDIA's latest technologies into its showcase Intelligent Retail Lab — BMW, Ericsson, Microsoft, NTT East, Procter & Gamble, Red Hat and Samsung Electronics.
Anchoring NVIDIA's story: the NVIDIA EGX Edge Supercomputing Platform , a high-performance, cloud-native platform optimized to take advantage of three key revolutions – AI, IoT and 5G – and provide the world's companies the ability to build next-generation services.
"The smartphone moment for edge computing is here and a new type of computer has to be created to provision these applications," said Huang speaking at the LA Convention Center. He noted that if the global economy can be made just a little more efficient with such pervasive technology, the opportunity can be measured in "trillions of dollars per year."
Ericsson Exec Joins on Stage Marking Collaboration
A key highlight: a new collaboration on 5G with Erisson to build high-performance, software-defined radio access networks.
Joining Huang on stage was Ericsson's Fredrik Jejdling, executive vice president and head of business area networks. The company is a leader in the RAN industry, one of the key building blocks for high-speed wireless networks.
"As an industry we've, in all honesty, been struggling to find alternatives that are better and higher performance than our current bespoke environment," Jejdling said. "Our collaboration is figuring out an efficient way of providing that, combining your GPUs with our heritage."
The collaboration brings Ericsson's expertise in RAN technology together with NVIDIA's leadership in high performance computing to fully virtualize the 5G radio, giving telcos unprecedented flexibility.
Together NVIDIA and Ericsson are innovating to fuse 5G, supercomputing and AI for a revolutionary communications platform that will someday support trillions of always-on devices.
Red Hat, NVIDIA to Create Carrier-Grade Telecommunications Infrastructure
Huang also announced a new collaboration with Red Hat to build carrier-grade, cloud-native telecom infrastructure with NVIDIA EGX for AI, 5G RAN and other workloads. The enterprise software provider already serves 120 telcos around the world, powering every member of the Fortune 500.
Together, NVIDIA and Red Hat will bring carrier-grade Kubernetes — which automates the deployment, scaling and management of applications — to telcos so they can orchestrate and manage 5G RAN networks in a truly software-defined mobile edge.
"Red Hat is joining us to integrate everything we're working on and make it a carrier grade stack," Huang said. "The rest of the industry has joined us as well — every single data center computer maker, the world's leading enterprise software makers have all joined us to take this platform to market."
NVIDIA Aerial to Accelerate 5G
For carriers, Huang also announced NVIDIA Aerial , a CUDA-X software developer kit running on top of EGX.
Aerial allows telecommunications companies to build completely virtualized 5G RAN networks that are highly programmable, scalable and energy efficient — enabling telcos to offer new AI services such as smart cities , smart factories, AR/VR and cloud gaming.
Technology for the Enterprise Edge
In addition to telcos, enterprises will increasingly need high-performance edge servers to make decisions from large amounts of data in real time using AI.
EGX combines NVIDIA CUDA-X software, a collection of NVIDIA libraries that provide a flexible and high-performance programming language to developers, with NVIDIA-certified GPU servers and devices.
The result enables companies to harness rapidly streaming data — from factory floors to manufacturing inspection lines to city streets — delivering AI and other next-generation services.
Microsoft, NVIDIA Technology Collaboration
To offer customers an end-to-end solution from edge to cloud, Microsoft and NVIDIA are working together in a new collaboration to more closely integrate Microsoft Azure with EGX. In addition, NVIDIA T4 GPUs are featured in a new form factor of Microsoft's Azure Data Box edge appliance.
Other top technology companies collaborating with NVIDIA on the EGX platform include Cisco, Dell Technologies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Mellanox and VMware.
Walmart Adopts EGX to Create Store of the Future
Huang cited Walmart as an example of EGX's power.
The retail giant is deploying it in its Levittown, New York, Intelligent Retail Lab. It's a unique, fully operating grocery store where the retail giant explores the ways AI can further improve in-store shopping experiences.
Using EGX's advanced AI and edge capabilities, Walmart can compute in real time more than 1.6 terabytes of data generated per second. This helps it automatically alert associates to restock shelves, open up new checkout lanes, retrieve shopping carts and ensure product freshness in meat and produce departments.
Just squeezing out a half a percent of efficiencies in the $30 trillion retail market represents an enormous opportunity, Huang noted. "The opportunity for using automation to improve efficiency in retail is extraordinary," Huang said.
BMW, Procter & Gamble, Samsung, Among Leaders Adopting EGX
That power is already being harnessed for a dizzying array of applications across the world:
- Korea's Samsung Electronics, in another early EGX deployment, is using AI at the edge for highly complex semiconductor design and manufacturing processes.
- Germany's BMW is using intelligent video analytics and EGX edge servers in its South Carolina manufacturing facility to automate inspection.
- Japan's NTT East uses EGX in its data centers to develop new AI-powered services in remote areas through its broadband access network.
- The U.S.'s Procter & Gamble, the world's top consumer goods company, is working with NVIDIA to develop AI-enabled applications on top of the EGX platform for the inspection of products and packaging.
Cities, too, are grasping the opportunity. Las Vegas uses EGX to capture vehicle and pedestrian data to ensure safer streets and expand economic opportunity. And San Francisco's premier shopping area, the Union Square Business Improvement District, uses EGX to capture real-time pedestrian counts for local retailers.
Stunning New Possibilities
To demonstrate the possibilities, Huang punctuated his keynote with demos showing what AI can unleash in the world around us.
In a flourish that stunned the crowd, Huang made a red McLaren Senna prototype — which carries a price tag a hair under $1 million — materialize on stage in augmented reality. It could be viewed from any angle — including from the inside — on a smartphone streaming data over Verizon's 5G network from a Verizon data center in Los Angeles.
The technology behind the demo: Autodesk VRED running in a virtual machine on an NVIDIA Quadro RTX 8000 server. On the phone: a 5G client built with NVIDIA's CloudXR client application software development kit for mobile devices and head-mounted displays.
And, in a video, Huang showed how the Jarvis multi-modal AI (since renamed Riva ) was able to to follow queries from two different speakers conversing on different topics — the weather and restaurants — as they drove down the road. Jarvis reacted to what it sees inside their car as well as what is said.
In another video, Jarvis guided a shopper through a purchase in a real-world store.
"In the future these kind of multi-modal AIs will make the conversation and the engagement you have with the AI much, much better," Huang said.
Cloud Gaming Goes Global
Huang also detailed how NVIDIA is expanding its cloud gaming network through partnerships with global telecommunications companies.
GeForce NOW , NVIDIA's cloud gaming service, transforms underpowered or incompatible devices into powerful GeForce gaming PCs with access to popular online game stores.
Taiwan Mobile joins industry leaders rolling out GeForce NOW, including Korea's LG U+, Japan's SoftBank and Russia's Rostelecom in partnership with GFN.RU . Additionally, Telefonica will kick off a cloud gaming proof of concept in Spain.
Huang showed what's now possible with a real-time demo of a gamer playing Assetto Corsa Competizione on GeForce NOW — as a cameraman watched over his shoulder — on a smartphone over a 5G network. The gamer navigated through the demanding racing game's action with no noticeable lag.
The mobile version of GeForce NOW for Android devices is available in Korea and will be available widely later this year, with a preview on display at Mobile World Congress Los Angeles.
"These servers are going to be the same servers that run intelligent agriculture and intelligent retail," Huang said. "The future is software defined and these low-latency services that need to be deployed at the edge can now be provisioned at the edge with these servers."
A Trillion New Devices
The opportunities for AI, IoT, cloud gaming, augmented reality and 5G network acceleration are huge — with a trillion new IoT devices to be produced between now and 2035, according to industry estimates .
And GPUs are up to the challenge, with GPU computing power growing 300,000x from 2013, driving down the cost per teraflops of computing power, even as gains in CPU performance level off, Huang said.
NVIDIA is well positioned to help telcos and enterprises make the most of this by helping customers combine AI algorithms, powerful GPUs, smart NICs — or network interface cards — cloud-native technologies, the NVIDIA EGX Edge Supercomputing Platform, and 5G high-speed wireless networks.
Huang compared all these elements to the powerful "infinity stones" featured in Marvel's movies and comic books.
"What you're looking at are the six miracles that will make it possible to put 5G at the edge, to virtualize the 5G data center and create a world of smart everything," Huang said, and that, in turn, will add intelligence to everything in the world around us.
"This will be a pillar, a foundation for the smart everything revolution," Huang said.
Watch a replay of NVIDIA's event at MWC Los Angeles below.
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