AT&T announced at MWC 2019 that it is working with Microsoft on a proof of concept to integrate network edge compute (NEC) capabilities with its 5G network and Microsoft Azure cloud services. The solution would be important for the industries and Internet of Things (IoT) use cases of retail, healthcare, public safety, entertainment, and manufacturing, AT&T said, as it would provide businesses with lower latency, access to high compute power, and network routing without needing on-premises hardware.
“We’re testing our ability to substantially reduce latency and improve user experience by deploying advanced cloud services in specific geographic locations closer to business sites. A fully-scaled deployment will give businesses access to compute power, lower latency and optimized network routing without the need for dedicated on-premises hardware.” These advantages will be important for the low-latency cloud and IoT solutions used by retail, healthcare, public safety, manufacturing and entertainment.
Last month, AT&T* announced its approach to 5G for businesses, laying out three key pillars: mobile, fixed and edge computing.
“Our collaboration will pave the way to enable Microsoft Azure cloud services to connect to more customers and devices across the US through AT&T’s nationwide wireless network,” Microsoft corporate VP of Azure Networking Yousef Khalidi said. “Our two companies are working together to achieve the low-latency connectivity needed for the explosion of devices and immense amount of data being created by computing at the edge,” he added.
AT&T is using drones to test the network edge compute capabilities with Azure, working with Israel-based startup Vorpal in its foundry in Plano, Texas. Vorpal’s VigilAir product detects and geo-locates drones in real-time, which could be used by law enforcement agencies and airports.
“By running their VigilAir application using Azure cloud services delivered through the Plano AT&T test environment, and connecting their drone-tracking sensors using AT&T LTE and 5G networks, Vorpal could achieve the low latency and compute scalability required,” the carrier said.
AT&T expects to share more details about NEC services with Microsoft Azure later this year. NEC is part of AT&T’s broader edge compute strategy that also includes AT&T Multi-Access Edge Compute (MEC).
Earlier at MWC 2019, AT&T announced it’s working with Vodafone Business on IoT applications for the automotive space, including safety, security, and entertainment.
“This alliance with Vodafone Business is a natural extension of our existing relationship,” said Chris Penrose, President, Internet of Things Solutions, AT&T. “We each have rich experience in connected vehicle technology. By working together, we can innovate faster and help our global customers bring connectivity, entertainment and telematics to more vehicles across our respective footprints.”
“Our work with AT&T will benefit automotive manufacturers and their customers around the world as we simplify processes and provide a consistent experience to accelerate IoT adoption in this fast-moving market,” said Stefano Gastaut, IoT Director, Vodafone Business. “As technology complexity increases, this is the right time to make technology adoption easier for the automotive industry to help them achieve their business outcomes. This is the goal of this alliance.”
The two companies said they would develop connected car solutions across 5G and autonomous vehicle technology; vehicle-to-everything (V2X) capabilities; in-vehicle entertainment; connected car applications and services; global service quality models; and the intersection of connected cars and smart cities.
The companies will prioritize projects to enhance safety, security and entertainment capabilities. Key areas of focus will be:
- 5G and autonomous vehicle technology
- V2X capabilities (vehicle-to-everything)
- In-vehicle entertainment
- Connected car applications and services
- Global service quality models
- Connected car/ smart cities intersection
AT&T and Vodafone Business each provide connected car services and products for the automotive, fleet and insurance industries. They integrate electronic and telematics systems into complex vehicles, both at the point of manufacture and beyond. Together, the companies bring more than 50 years of experience in the automotive industry. And they collectively work with nearly 50 global automotive brands and connect more than 43 million cars and trucks on the road today.