The 3G, 4G revolutions in the past couple of decades were centered around the mobile phone. 5G as the most advanced wireless protocol invented will extend applications beyond the mobile phone into the enterprise, industrial and even military arenas. However, hitherto, developments in the 5G chipset have really been focused on serving the telco/mobile space and they are closed proprietary systems. There is a need for a 5G hardware solution that is open and flexible to serve enterprise use cases.
Today, OEMs that want to proliferate the use of 5G in the enterprise have to buy a 5G chipset/system from the incumbent players but they are not allowed to change or modify this “monolithic black box” on their own. The toolchains to customise and add features and functionality are proprietary, meaning that while the solutions can be cohesive and compact, companies are locked in with a single vendor. On the other hand, the traditional chip providers lack the software expertise to build out the entire software stack (all the way to the application layer). Companies (who eschew the monolithic solutions) have to then stitch together a less optimal and clunky solution across hardware and software providers just to productionise.
EdgeQ’s base station-on-a-chip is pioneering a converged connectivity and AI platform based on the open RISC-V architecture. We see it as transformational because it is the world’s first 5G + WIFI + AI system on a chip (SoC).
They operate on a SaaS model, where the subscription can be tiered to different services (e.g. scaling from nominal to advanced 5G features such as ultra-reliable low latency communications, geo-location services, massive MIMO, fine-grained network slicing, as well as extending compatibility to other legacy wireless protocols).
EdgeQ is currently focusing on base stations and small cells (~$10B TAM) but can potentially take on the client device market (laptops, tablets, edge devices) which boasts a TAM many times over. The 5G market is undergoing this big shift towards more open standards, and much like how the killer applications of 3G, 4G were backward-looking (i.e. streaming only made possible after 4G invented), we believe we are really at the cusp of enabling new enterprise applications, companies and a whole new ecosystem that will be born out of a more open 5G standards.