UPDATED 19:13 EST / NOVEMBER 17 2020

technology-4816658_1280-1 INFRA

EdgeQ exits stealth with $51M to fuse 5G and AI at the edge

5G system-on-a-chip startup EdgeQ Inc. exited stealth mode today armed with $51 million in funding that includes $38.5 million from a Series A round of funding.

Threshold Ventures, Fusion Fund, Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang (AME Cloud Ventures) and an unannounced strategic customer led investments, which will enable EdgeQ to address what it says is an “untapped 5G infrastructure market” by converging 5G connectivity and artificial intelligence compute onto a system-on-a-chip.

The company explains that by unifying 5G and AI where data is created at the edge of the network, enterprises can take advantage of private networking to enable new, disruptive applications, intelligence services and business models.

EdgeQ is made up of 90 employees, including a bunch of 5G, Wi-Fi and AI industry veterans who formerly worked with companies such as Intel Corp., Qualcomm Inc. and Broadcom Inc. It’s following a software-driven development model for creating private networks that use cellular protocols such as 5G and 4G. The idea, EdgeQ says, is to decouple infrastructure from expensive, closed and inflexible systems to an intelligent software layer that runs on off-the-shelf hardware.

According to the company, most connectivity and compute constructs today are based on largely closed and monolithic legacy networks and are inefficient for new devices such as autonomous vehicles, drones and robotics that need to run AI inference and connect to other devices at the edge. It argues that purpose-built fixed networking hardware can’t scale efficiently to support 5G service-oriented applications, for example.

EdgeQ says AI at the edge is becoming increasingly important, and that pairing this with 5G will enable real-time data creation, a reduction in power consumption and costs for communications in wearable devices, self-driving cars and other applications.

EdgeQ is rivaled in the 5G system-on-a-chip space by companies including Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Qualcomm and MediaTek Inc. that offer chipsets for many edge devices, but says its focus on providing a converged, software programmable platform sets it apart from those competitors.

“We are rapidly evolving from a smartphone economy to a constellation of intelligent edge devices. This will cause massive disruption to the current paradigm, where existing fixed-function approaches are inadequate to meet the scale, speed, and breadth of new end connections,” said EdgeQ founder and Chief Executive Vinay Ravuri. “By building 5G and AI hardware in a newly imaginative, software-friendly manner we empower and inspire customers with an open and programmable platform that is adaptable, configurable and economical for 5G-based applications.”

Although the company is officially launching today, EdgeQ says its platform will be made available in the coming months, targeted at verticals including the automotive, construct, energy, manufacturing, surveillance and warehousing sectors.

Image: mohamed_hassan/pixabay

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