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Artificial Intelligence, the Hyperscale and 5G Connectivity

A changing landscape in both software and hardware

Alex Moltzau
2 min readJun 25, 2020


In an article in Semiconductor Engineering published on the 25th of June Frank Schirrmeister describes changes reshaping the value chains of hyperscale and artificial intelligence.

In 2002, Grant Martin and Schirrmeister wrote “A Design Chain for Embedded Systems” for IEEE Computer.

They described how a vertically integrated process within product companies became fragmented. Until the early 2000s, the design chain from embedded mobile systems was dominated by platform-based designs.

He describes how semiconductor vendors would interact with software vendors to port their operating system to silicon, then provide it together to device and equipment manufacturers.

Now there is a more mixed industry. Some companies are taking control of more of the full hardware/software stack.

He quotes Alan Kaye, who once said:

“People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware.”

Hyperscale operators accounted for a third of all spending on data center hardware and software in 2019.

According to Schirrmeister the Synergy Research Group defines 24 global companies as “hyperscalers.”

Two tiers are defined by Data Center Frontiers:

  1. Mega hyperscale operators and SAAS.
  2. Platform companies and cloudlets.

In the first category you will find companies such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Facebook, Apple and Alibaba.

In the second category there are cloud providers like Oracle, Baidu and China Telecom, along with SaaS providers like Salesforce, SAP, Workday, Paypal and Dropbox and platform companies like Uber and Lyft.

Now consider the path from the end devices all the way to the data center as pictured below.

Illustratin displayed by Schirrmeister.

Schirrmeister using this illustration argues that one has to consider the overall ecosystem.

Beyond 2020 there 5G end points, hypsercale data centres and artificial intelligence within this digital ecosystem. It includes traditional storage and other requirements.

Schirrmeister points to:

As both software and hardware develop we are likely to see novel solutions combining AI, hyperscale and 5G in the years ahead.

This is #500daysofAI and you are reading article 387. I am writing one new article about or related to artificial intelligence every day for 500 days.



Alex Moltzau

AI Policy, Governance, Ethics and International Partnerships at All views are my own.