Vodafone expands 5G-MEC co-creation programme to include private edge
Vodafone has launched a new ‘edge innovation programme’ (2.0) to offer enterprise customers and technology partners the chance to co-create new applications with on-premise edge and network-based edge multi-access edge compute (MEC) resources, as well as with standard centralise cloud functions. The UK operator said the programme covers the whole edge between the cloud, Vodafone’s local data centres, and enterprises’ on-site edge reserves.
Vodafone is also to launch mixed (augmented and virtual) reality and visual inspection services, for industry to take advantage of. It said “businesses of all sizes, in any industry, will have the chance to co-create pioneering MEC use cases on a ‘try-before-you-buy’ basis”. It cited examples of partners in driverless vehicle safety, sports monitoring technology, smart manufacturing, and biometric authentication that have already used its edge and networking platform to drive innovation.
The operator debuted its 5G/MEC co-creation platform in July last year. The 2.0 version introduces dedicated on-site MEC. Vodafone is offering its own RF, IoT, and cloud experts into the mix. The closer to the action that the compute processing occurs, the lower the latency in the communications network, noted Vodafone. It said: When using 4G and hosting applications in traditional data centres, users could expect to see latency of around 200 milliseconds. A combination of 5G and MEC could see latency reduced to less than 10 milliseconds.”
The 1.0 version of the programme, which saw 20 partners selected from “hundreds” of applicants, saw Cambridge-based SME Aurrigo use MEC and 4G/5G to improve the safety and performance of its driverless vehicles, Sports IoT firm Sportable develop a ball embedded with IT sensors to deliver real-time sports insights to fans, coaches, officials and broadcasters, InterDigital develop applications for ‘zero-defect’ manufacturing to unlock benefits for Industry 4.0 and smart factories, and Keyless offer a “privacy-first biometric authentication solution” that makes the authentication processes for digital payments faster.
Vodafone stated: “The ‘edge innovation programme 2.0’ will inspire the creation of innovative and futuristic services, products and applications. Alongside Vodafone’s 5G network, MEC technology can make the seemingly impossible a reality by almost eradicating the response time of apps, smart devices and cloud services.”