Home5GVodafone quickest off mark with AWS at 5G network edge; Verizon, SK, KDDI to follow

Vodafone quickest off mark with AWS at 5G network edge; Verizon, SK, KDDI to follow

Vodafone is embedding AWS compute and storage services at the edge of its 5G network in Europe, starting in the UK and Germany and rolling out to other European territories. IoT devices and developers will be able to take advantage of single-digit millisecond latencies, it said.

Vodafone is the first operator to confirm availability the new Wavelength multi-access edge compute (MEC) service from Amazon Web Services (AWS), which integrates compute and storage at the edge of 5G networks. Verizon, SK Telecom, and KDDI have said they will launch Wavelength, variously, across North America, Japan, and South Korea in 2020. 

Verizon is piloting Wavelength in Chicago with the National Football League (NFL) and game developer Bethesda, among others. Verizon chief executive Hans Vestberg was on stage at AWS re:Invent to announce the partnership. He claimed Verizon is the first to go live with the service, albeit in limited form.

“We are first in the world to launch Mobile Edge Compute — deeply integrating Verizon’s 5G Edge platform with Wavelength to allow developers to build new categories of applications and network cloud experiences built in ways we can’t even imagine yet,” he said.

Wavelength will support provision of low-latency consumer 5G services such as game and live video streaming and augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) applications, which are likely to align with Verizon’s demo projects.

But Vodafone Business, the company’s enterprise sales division, has announced the initiative in support of rapid-fire artificial intelligence and machine learning inference in the industrial IoT category, alongside associated analytics and automation functions. 

It said in a statement: “Responsiveness matters when it comes to artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, video analytics, autonomous vehicles, robotics and drone control. These applications require latencies that are 5-10 times lower to deliver business impact. Vodafone Business and AWS are bringing the AWS cloud closer to the devices that need it by running AWS Wavelength in strategic locations within Vodafone’s 5G network.”

MEC minimizes the number and distance of network hops between sensor devices and analytics engines. AWS said Wavelength delivers consistency across 5G networks, allowing developers to build applications using the same services, APIs, and tools. 

Vinod Kumar, chief executive of Vodafone’s business division, said: “Faster speeds and lower latencies have the potential to revolutionize how our customers do business, and they can rely on Vodafone’s existing capabilities and security layers within our own network.”

Vodafone has launched 5G in 58 cities; it claims around 90 million IoT connections.

T-Systems, the digital services division of Deutsche Telekom, has meanwhile gone a step closer to the coal-face, by introducing an on-premise edge cloud solution for lower-latency analytics and automation, and on-site data processing. Is new EdgeAIR platform will enable so-called ‘real-time’ data transfers, it said, also quoting sub-10 millisecond latencies.

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