I. Digital Realty, the largest global provider of cloud- and carrier-neutral data center, colocation and interconnection solutions, announced today the deployment of Amazon Web Services (AWS) Direct Connect 100Gbps capability at the company’s Westin Building Exchange in Seattle, Washington and on its Interxion Dublin Campus in Ireland, bringing one of the fastest AWS Direct Connect [1.] capabilities to PlatformDIGITAL®. Digital Realty’s platform connects 290 centers of data exchange with over 4,000 participants around the world, enabling enterprise customers to scale digital business and interconnect distributed workflows on a first of its kind global data center platform.
Note 1. AWS Direct Connect is a cloud service solution that makes it easy to establish a dedicated network connection from your premises to AWS. This can increase bandwidth throughput and provide a more consistent network experience than internet-based connections.
As organizations bring on new technologies and solutions such as artificial intelligence (AI) and IoT at scale, the explosive growth of digital business is posing new challenges, as data takes on its own gravity, becoming heavier, denser, and more expensive to move.
The new AWS Direct Connect 100Gbps is tailored to providing easy access to larger data sets, enabling high availability, reliability and lower latency. As a result, customers will be able to move bandwidth-heavy workloads seamlessly – and break through the barriers posed by data gravity. Customers gain access to strategic IT infrastructure that can aggregate and maintain data with less design time and spend, enabling access to AWS with one of the fastest and highest quality AWS network connections available.
As an AWS Outposts Ready Partner, Digital Realty’s global platform is optimized to support the needs of data-intensive, secure hybrid IT deployments. Digital Realty supports AWS Outposts deployments by enabling access to more than 40 AWS Direct Connect locations globally to address local processing, compliance, and storage requirements, while optimizing cost and performance. When coupled with the availability of AWS Direct Connect 100Gbps connections, the Westin Building Exchange and Interxion Dublin campuses become ideal meeting places for customers to tackle data gravity challenges and unlock new opportunities with their AWS Outposts deployments.
“As emerging technologies such as AI, VR and blockchain move from the margins to the mainstream, enterprises need new levels of performance from their hybrid solutions,” said Tom Sly, General Manager, AWS Direct Connect. “Deploying AWS Direct Connect at 100Gbps at Digital Realty facilities in Seattle and Dublin is critical to our strategy of helping customers build more sophisticated applications with increased flexibility, scalability and reliability. We’re excited to see the value Digital Realty’s PlatformDIGITAL® delivers for our mutual customers.”
The Westin Building Exchange serves as a primary interconnection hub for the Pacific Northwest, linking Canada, Alaska and Asia along the Pacific Rim. The building is one of the most densely interconnected facilities in North America, and is home to leading global cloud, content and interconnection providers, housing over 150 carriers and more than 10,000 cross-connects, giving Amazon customers low-latency access to the largest companies and services representing the digital economy. The 34-story tower is adjacent to Amazon’s existing 4.1 million square foot campus in Seattle.
Digital Realty offers six colocation data centers in the Irish capital, which forms a strategic bridge between Europe and the U.S. Ireland has particular significance as a global trading hub and provides the headquarters location for several global multinationals within the software, finance and life science industries. Multiple transatlantic cables also land in Ireland before continuing to the UK or continental Europe, making Interxion Dublin a prime location for the new AWS Direct Connect 100Gbps at the heart of a vibrant connected data community.
“Today’s announcement of the opening of AWS Direct Connect 100Gbps on-ramps significantly expands opportunities for customers to scale their digital transformation through our global PlatformDIGITAL®,” added Digital Realty Chief Technology Officer Chris Sharp. “AWS serves some of the world’s most innovative and demanding customers, from start-up to enterprise, that are looking to drive the digital economy forward. Our platform expands the coverage, capacity, and next-generation connectivity that AWS customers need to extend workloads to the cloud rapidly. We are honored to open up next-generation access in collaboration with AWS and specifically at the heart of the rich digital communities at the Westin Building Exchange and on our Interxion Dublin campus.”
The new deployments create centers of data exchange in Network Hubs deployed on PlatformDIGITAL®, enabling distributed workflows to be rapidly scaled and securely interconnected – reducing operating costs, enhancing visibility, saving time and improving compliance. The new capability also gives AWS customers instant access to a growing list of powerful AWS services such as Blockchain, Machine Learning, IoT and countless others – all over a direct, private connection optimized for high performance and security.
AIB, Inc., a leading data exchange and management firm with a software as a service platform deployed at over 1,600 automotive industry customers, recognized the value of deploying a physical Network Hub on PlatformDIGITAL® coupled with a virtual direct interconnection to AWS to enable flexibility in its hybrid IT environment.
“Our Texas-based operations required new cloud zone diversity solutions for our cloud native national vision. Digital Realty provided an innovative and comprehensive solution for AWS cloud access through PlatformDIGITAL®,” said Kellen Dunham, CTO, AIB, Inc.
Digital Realty’s global platform enables low-latency access to both the nearest AWS Region as well as a wide array of options to connect edge deployments or devices. Customers can securely connect to their desired AWS Region using both physical and virtual connectivity options. Globally, PlatformDIGITAL® offers access to more than 40 AWS Direct Connect locations, including 11 in EMEA, providing secure, high-performance access to numerous AWS Outposts-Ready data centers around the world. In addition, the Digital Realty Internet Exchange (DRIX) supports AWS Direct Peering capabilities and dedicated access to multiple third-party Internet Exchanges on PlatformDIGITAL®, providing a direct path from on-premise networks to AWS. The solution is part of PlatformDIGITAL®’s robust and expanding partner community that solves hybrid IT challenges for the enterprise.
About Digital Realty:
Digital Realty supports the world’s leading enterprises and service providers by delivering the full spectrum of data center, colocation and interconnection solutions. PlatformDIGITAL®, the company’s global data center platform, provides customers a trusted foundation and proven Pervasive Datacenter Architecture (PDx™) solution methodology for scaling digital business and efficiently managing data gravity challenges. Digital Realty’s global data center footprint gives customers access to the connected communities that matter to them with 290 facilities in 47 metros across 24 countries on six continents. To learn more about Digital Realty, please visit digitalrealty.com or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.
- For more information on locations and availability please visit www.digitalrealty.com/cloud/aws-direct-connect
- Learn about Digital Realty’s Data Hub featuring AWS Outposts solution for data localization and compliance on PlatformDIGITAL
- Explore global coverage options on PlatformDIGITAL®
- Read the AIB case study on deploying hybrid IT flexibly with Digital Realty and AWS
II. Bell Canada today announced it has entered into an agreement with Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS) to modernize the digital experience for Bell customers and support 5G innovation across Canada. Bell will use the breadth and depth of AWS technologies to create and scale new consumer and business applications faster, as well as enhance how its voice, wireless, television and internet subscribers engage with Bell services and content such as streaming video. In addition, AWS and Bell are teaming up to bring AWS Wavelength to Canada, deploying it at the edge of Bell’s 5G network to allow developers to build ultra-low-latency applications for mobile devices and users. With this rollout, Bell will become the first Canadian communications company to offer AWS-powered multi-access edge computing (MEC) to business and government users.
“Bell’s partnership with AWS further heightens both our 5G network leadership and the Bell customer experience with greater automation, enhanced agility and streamlined service options. Together, we’ll provide the next-generation service innovations for consumers and business customers that will support Canada’s growth and prosperity in the years ahead,” said Mirko Bibic, President and CEO of BCE and Bell Canada. “With this first in Canada partnership to deploy AWS Wavelength at the network edge, where 5G’s high capacity, unprecedented speed and ultra low latency are crucial for next-generation applications, Bell and AWS are opening up all-new opportunities for developers to enhance our customers’ digital experiences. As Canada recovers from COVID-19 and looks forward to the economic, social and sustainability advantages of 5G, Bell is moving rapidly to expand the country’s next-generation network infrastructure capabilities. Bell’s accelerated capital investment plan, supported by government and regulatory policies that encourage significant investment and innovation in network facilities, will double our 5G coverage this year while growing the high-capacity fibre connections linking our national network footprint.”
The speed and increased bandwidth capacity of the Bell 5G network support applications that can respond much more quickly and handle greater volumes of data than previous generations of wireless technology. Through its relationship with AWS, Bell will leverage AWS Wavelength to embed AWS compute and storage services at the edge of its 5G telco networks so that applications developers can serve edge computing workloads like machine learning, IoT, and content streaming. Bell and AWS will move 5G data processing to the network edge to minimize latency and power customer-led 5G use cases such as immersive gaming, ultra-high-definition video streaming, self-driving vehicles, smart manufacturing, augmented reality, machine learning inference and distance learning throughout Canada. Developers will also have direct access to AWS’s full portfolio of cloud services to enhance and scale their 5G applications.
Optimized for MEC applications, AWS Wavelength minimizes the latency involved in sending data to and from a mobile device. AWS delivers the service through Wavelength Zones, which are AWS infrastructure deployments that embed AWS compute and storage services within a telecommunications provider’s datacenters at the edge of the 5G network so that data traffic can reach application servers within the zones without leaving the mobile provider’s network. Application data need only travel from the device to a cell tower to an AWS Wavelength Zone running in a metro aggregation site. This results in increased performance by avoiding the multiple hops between regional aggregation sites and across the internet that traditional mobile architectures require.
Outside of the AWS Wavelength deployment, Bell is also continuing to evolve its offerings to enhance its customers’ digital experiences. From streaming media to network performance to customer service, Bell will leverage AWS’s extensive portfolio of cloud capabilities to better serve its tens of millions of customers coast to coast. This work will allow Bell’s product innovation teams to streamline and automate processes as well as adapt more quickly to changing market conditions and customer preferences.
“As the first telecommunications company in Canada to provide access to AWS Wavelength, Bell is opening the door for businesses and organizations throughout the country to combine the speed of its 5G network with the power and versatility of the world’s leading cloud. Together, Bell and AWS are bringing the transformative power of cloud and 5G to users all across Canada,” said Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services, Inc. “Cloud and 5G are changing the business models for telecommunications companies worldwide, and AWS’s unmatched infrastructure capabilities in areas like machine learning and IoT will enable leaders like Bell to deliver new digital experiences that will enhance their customers’ lives.”
Launched in June 2020, Bell’s 5G network is now available to approximately 35% of the Canadian population. On February 4, Bell announced it was accelerating its typical annual capital investment of $4 billion by an additional $1 billion to $1.2 billion over the next 2 years to rapidly expand its fibre, rural Wireless Home Internet and 5G networks, followed May 31 by the announcement of a further up to $500 million increase in capital spending. With this accelerated capital investment plan, Bell’s 5G network is on track to reach approximately 70% of the Canadian population by year end.
5G will support a wide range of new consumer and business applications in coming years, including virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence and machine learning, connected vehicles, remote workforces, telehealth and Smart Cities, with unprecedented IoT opportunities for business and government. 5G is also accelerating the positive environmental impact of Bell’s networks. The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association estimates 5G technology can support 1000x the traffic at half of current energy consumption over the next decade, enhancing the potential of IoT and other next-generation technologies to support sustainable economic growth, and supporting Bell’s own objective to be carbon neutral across its operations in 2025.
About Bell Canada:
The Bell team builds world-leading broadband wireless and fiber networks, provides innovative mobile, TV, Internet and business communications services and delivers the most compelling content with premier television, radio, out of home and digital media brands. With a goal to advance how Canadians connect with each other and the world, Bell serves more than 22 million consumer and business customer connections across every province and territory. Founded in Montréal in 1880, Bell is wholly owned by BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE). To learn more, please visit Bell.ca or BCE.ca.
Bell supports the social and economic prosperity of our communities with a commitment to the highest environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards. We measure our progress in increasing environmental sustainability, achieving a diverse and inclusive workplace, leading data governance and protection, and building stronger and healthier communities. This includes confronting the challenge of mental illness with the Bell Let’s Talk initiative, which drives mental health awareness and action with programs like the annual Bell Let’s Talk Day and Bell funding for community care, research and workplace programs nationwide all year round.
Comment and Analysis:
AWS already has an edge compute footprint that covers parts of Asia, Europe and North America. AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure increasingly (unsurprisingly) look like the real power brokers and empire builders in multi-access/mobile edge computing. Rogers and Telus, Bell’s two main rivals. will likely contract with one of the three big cloud service providers for their 5G edge computing needs.
Following this week’s Verizon-AWS announcement on Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC), T-Mobile US has entered the mobile edge computing business using wireline carrier Lumen Technologies (formerly CenturyLink) as its initial preferred vendor.
T-Mobile US has taken a decidedly different MEC approach compared to its two domestic rivals (Verizon and AT&T). The U.S.’s #2 wireless network operator effectively views the edge as a latter opportunity that doesn’t merit a large initial investment. Its edge computing initiatives are exclusively focused on businesses and government agencies that fall under Lumen’s enterprise unit and T-Mobile for business.
“By pairing America’s largest and fastest 5G network with Lumen’s enterprise solutions, we can break down industry barriers and deliver unparalleled network reach to enterprise and government organizations looking to optimize their applications across networks,” Mike Katz, EVP for T-Mobile for Business, said in a prepared statement. “With our leading 5G network, Lumen and T-Mobile have the opportunity to accelerate business innovation in an era where the network is more critical than ever,” Katz added,
Enterprise applications will likely benefit from Lumen’s hundreds of thousands of fiber connected enterprise locations paired with T-Mobile’s “largest and fastest 5G network.”
“The Lumen platform, with 60 plus planned edge market nodes distributed on our high-capacity global fiber network enables application designs with latency of 5 milliseconds or less between the workload and the endpoint device,” wrote David Shacochis, VP of enterprise technology and field CTO at Lumen.
“Lumen’s fiber reach and edge computing resources can augment business solutions for T-Mobile customers, and private wireless solutions can augment business solutions for Lumen customers,” Shacochis added.
“The companies envision starting with metropolitan areas where they are already well connected, and expanding their joint go-to-market over time,” Shacochis wrote, adding that more details about commercial availability and services will be shared throughout 2021.
These efforts aim to address the pressing needs of enterprises to transform their networks to meet the data-intensive challenges across a variety of industries and use cases. Both companies will also continue to drive innovation in this space through T-Mobile’s labs and Tech Experience Center and the Lumen Edge Experience Center.
“Our relationship with T-Mobile aims to introduce a powerful trifecta – access to national 5G wireless and fiber connectivity, managed services across a range of technologies and edge computing resources,” said Shaun Andrews, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Lumen Technologies. “T-Mobile’s expansive 5G footprint coupled with our extensive edge computing platform would provide enterprise developers with the best of both worlds to power the next wave of digital business.”
- For a current list of Lumen live and planned edge locations, visit: https://www.lumen.com/en-us/solutions/edge-computing.html#edge-computing-map
- The Lumen low latency network is comprised of approximately 450,000 global route miles of fiber and more than 180,000 on-net buildings, seamlessly connected to:
- 2,200 public and private third-party data centers in North America, Europe & Middle East, Latin America, and Asia Pacific
- Leading public cloud service providers including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute & Azure Government, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud and Oracle Cloud
T-Mobile’s partnership with Lumen is likely just the beginning. “As in all things with 5G, I think a lot of our efforts have to be done through partnerships,” said John Saw, EVP of advanced and emerging technologies at T-Mobile. Apparently, the network operator will form partnerships with many of the big vendors in the space, including hyperscalers (Google, Amazon, Microsoft), and other specialized mobile edge computing vendors.
Similarly, Shacochis said Lumen is also “open to and looking at” other partnerships in the wireless space. Lumen executives outlined a plan to offer edge compute services in August 2019. The company deployed its first block of edge nodes and obtained its first customer in Q3-2020, before formally launching its edge platform in December 2020.
Building on cloud partnerships with Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services (AWS), Lumen bolstered its edge capabilities through additional deals with VMware and IBM.
South Korea’s #1 wireless network operator SK Telecom (SKT) has launched a 5G edge cloud service in partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS). ‘SKT 5GX Edge’ uses AWS Wavelength at the edge of SKT’s 5G network. SKT said that SKT 5GX Edge will enable customers to develop mobile applications that require ultra-low latency.
With SKT 5GX Edge, applications are connected to ‘AWS Wavelength Zones’, which are located at the edge of SK Telecom’s 5G network, making it unnecessary for application traffic to hop through regional aggregation sites and the public internet.
SKT 5GX Edge with AWS Wavelength is expected to enable SK Telecom’s enterprise customers and developers to build innovative services in areas including machine learning, IoT, video games and streaming using the AWS services, APIs, and tools they already use.
SK Telecom and AWS started operating the first AWS Wavelength Zone in South Korea in the central city of Daejeon (140 kilometers south of Seoul) earlier this month. They plan to expand the SKT 5GX Edge infrastructure to other parts of the country, including Seoul in 2021.
SK Telecom has been cooperating with AWS since February of this year to deploy AWS Wavelength Zones on SK Telecom’s 5G network and worked with 20 enterprise customers to test the service.
SKT and AWS are actively cooperating in the area of non-face-to-face services as demand grows due to the pandemic. The two companies have been working with video conferencing solution provider Gooroomee to build an environment where two-way video conferencing and remote education services are provided without delay, and have realized a service with a latency of less than 100 milliseconds for multiple simultaneous sessions.
“With AWS Wavelength on SKT’s 5G network, customers in South Korea can develop applications that take advantage of ultra-low latencies to address use cases like machine learning inference at the edge, smart cities and smart factories, and autonomous vehicles – all while using the same familiar AWS services, API, and tools to deploy them to 5G networks worldwide,” said Matt Garman, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, AWS.
“In collaboration with AWS, SK Telecom has successfully integrated private 5G and edge cloud. By leveraging this new technology, we will lead the efforts to create and expand innovative business models in game, media services, logistics, and manufacturing industries,” said Ryu Young-sang, President of MNO at SK Telecom.
SK Telecom and AWS also report that they have been working to improve operational stability of autonomous robots and efficiency in remote monitoring and control. Together with Woowa Brothers, the operator of food delivery app ‘Baedal Minjok,’ the two companies have completed tests of applying the 5G MEC service to outdoor food delivery robot Dilly Drive. Meanwhile, work continues with local robotics company Robotis to test run autonomous robots in the 5G cloud environment.
SK Telecom and AWS have also signed an agreement with Shinsegae I&C and Maxst to build an AR navigation and guidance system in the Coex Starfield shopping mall in Seoul. They are also working on potential use of the 5G cloud service with Deep Fine, an AR glass solution developer, and Dabeeo, a spatial recognition service provider. With the National IT Industry Promotion Agency (NIPA), SK Telecom has launched an open lab to develop realistic contents optimized for the 5G network and to support the growth of the related ecosystem.
Collaboration is also ongoing with Looxid Labs, a provider of real-time analysis for eye-gaze tracking and brain wave data, to develop services on the 5G MEC for a senior citizen center in Busan.
SK Telecom and AWS are also cooperating in the area of non-face-to-face services as demand grows due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The two companies have been working with video conferencing services provider Gooroomee to develop an environment where 2-way video conferencing and remote education services are provided without delay, and claim they have achieved a service with a latency of less than 100 milliseconds for multiple simultaneous sessions.
New data from Synergy Research Group shows that just 25 metro areas account for 65% of worldwide retail and wholesale colocation revenues. Ranked by revenue generated in Q2 2020, the top five metros are Washington, Tokyo, London, New York and Shanghai, which in aggregate account for 27% of the worldwide market. The next 20 largest metro markets account for another 38% of the market.
Those top 25 metros include eleven in North America, nine in the APAC region, four in EMEA and one in Latin America. The world’s three largest colocation providers are Equinix, Digital Realty and NTT. One of those three is the market leader in 17 of the top 25 metros. The global footprint of Equinix is particularly notable and it is the retail colocation leader in 16 of the top 25 metros. In the wholesale segment Digital Realty is leader in seven of the metros, with NTT, Global Switch and GDS each leading in at least two metros. Other colocation operators that feature heavily in the top 25 metros include 21Vianet, @Tokyo, China Telecom, China Unicom, CoreSite, CyrusOne, Cyxtera, KDDI and QTS.
Over the last twenty quarters the top 25 metro share of the worldwide retail colocation market has been relatively constant at around the 63-65% mark, despite a push to expand data center footprints and to build out more edge locations.
->That seems to indicate that edge computing hasn’t made a wider impact beyond the 25 largest colo metro areas.
Among the top 25 metros, those with the highest colocation growth rates (measured in local currencies) are Sao Paulo, Beijing, Shanghai and Seoul, all of which grew by well over 20% in the last year. Other metros with growth rates well above the worldwide average include Phoenix, Frankfurt, Mumbai and Osaka. While not in the group of highest growth metros overall, growth in wholesale revenues was particularly strong in Washington DC/Northern Virginia and London.
“We continue to see strong demand for colocation, with the standout regional growth numbers coming from APAC. Revenue growth from hyperscale operator customers remains particularly strong, demonstrating the symbiotic nature of the relationship between cloud and colocation,” said John Dinsdale, a Chief Analyst at Synergy Research Group. “The major economic hubs around the world are naturally the most important colocation markets, while hyperscale operators tend to focus their own data center operations in more remote areas with much lower real estate and operating costs. These cloud providers will continue to rely on colocation firms to help better serve major clients in key cities, ensuring the large metros will maintain their share of the colocation market over the coming years.”
About Synergy Research Group
Synergy provides quarterly market tracking and segmentation data on IT and Cloud related markets, including vendor revenues by segment and by region. Market shares and forecasts are provided via Synergy’s uniquely designed online database tool, which enables easy access to complex data sets. Synergy’s CustomView ™ takes this research capability one step further, enabling our clients to receive ongoing quantitative market research that matches their internal, executive view of the market segments they compete in.
Verizon Business and IBM are working together on 5G and edge computing innovation to help enable the future of “Industry 4.0.” The two companies plan to combine the high speed and (yet to be proven) low latency of Verizon’s 5G and Multi-access Edge Compute (MEC) functionalities, IoT devices and sensors at the edge, and IBM’s expertise in AI, hybrid multi-cloud, edge computing, asset management and connected operations. These will be jointly offered with IBM’s Maximo Monitor with IBM Watson and advanced analytics. The combined products may help clients detect, locate, diagnose and respond to system anomalies, monitor asset health and help predict failures in near real-time. The first solutions to be aimed at helping improve industrial quality, availability and performance.
“Through this collaboration, we plan to build upon our longstanding relationship with Verizon to help industrial enterprises capitalize on joint solutions that are designed to be multi-cloud ready, secured and scalable, from the data center all the way out to the enterprise edge,” IBM’s Bob Lord, SVP of cognitive applications, blockchain and ecosystems, said in a press release from the companies.
“Through this collaboration, we plan to build upon our longstanding relationship with Verizon to help industrial enterprises capitalize on joint solutions that are designed to be multi-cloud ready, secured and scalable, from the data center all the way out to the enterprise edge.”
“This collaboration is all about enabling the future of industry in the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” said Tami Erwin, CEO, Verizon Business. “Combining the high speed and low latency of Verizon’s 5G UWB Network and MEC capabilities with IBM’s expertise in enterprise-grade AI and production automation can provide industrial innovation on a massive scale and can help companies increase automation, minimize waste, lower costs, and offer their own clients a better response time and customer experience.”
Image Credit: iStockphoto/LHG
IBM and Verizon said their first offerings would target “mobile asset tracking and management solutions,” and that, eventually, they hope to offer products for remote control robotics, real-time video analysis and plant automation. The two companies also plan to collaborate on potential joint solutions to address worker safety, predictive maintenance, product quality and production automation.
Many industrial enterprises are today seeking ways to use edge computing to accelerate access to near real-time, actionable insights into operations to improve productivity and reduce costs. To address industrial firms’ need for edge computing ways to accelerate access to near real-time insights into operations, the first products planned from this collaboration are mobile asset tracking and management products to help enterprises improve operations, optimise production quality, and help clients enhance worker safety.
IBM and Verizon are also working on potential combined products for 5G and MEC-enabled use cases such as near real-time cognitive automation for the industrial environment.
Verizon and IBM also plan to collaborate on potential joint products to address worker safety, predictive maintenance, product quality and production automation.
Light Reading’s Mike Dano had this comment:
For IBM, the announcement underscores its efforts to offer products and services in the edge computing marketplace, an area that’s becoming a key focus for a variety of businesses looking for speedy computing services via nearby or onsite facilities.
And for Verizon, the announcement adds further momentum to its 5G and edge computing ambitions. Company executives have long argued that the combination of 5G and edge computing has a wide range of enterprise applications, and Verizon’s new pairing with IBM could open the doors to more potential customers for such services.
To be clear, Verizon has been working to stamp out a position in the 5G and edge computing sector for years. The company hopes to offer its high-speed, millimeter-wave 5G network across 60 cities by the end of this year, and concurrently it has said it will launch nationwide 5G on lowband spectrum in that same timeframe. Separately, Verizon late last year announced it would team up with Amazon to support its AWS edge computing initiative.
But Verizon’s edge computing efforts don’t stop there. The company joined América Móvil, KT, Rogers, Telstra and Vodafone to establish the “5G Future Forum” in January in part to accelerate the development of Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC)-enabled solutions. The group this week announced it will release its first technical specifications in the third quarter.
The rapidly expanding edge computing space represents a $17 billion opportunity for telecom service providers over the next three years, but those companies are being overlooked by enterprises when it comes to deployments, according to a recent study by World Wide Technology done in conjuction with Analysys Mason.
“The Edge Disconnect” report found that service providers’ deep connectivity expertise and investments in 5G infrastructure are advantages, but that they need to fill gaps in their offerings to become a one-stop shop for enterprises looking to expand to the edge with connectivity, infrastructure, and applications.
“Service providers are under immense pressure to monetize 5G infrastructure investments and create cost-reducing efficiencies,” said Dan Graham, global product leader for edge computing at WWT. “Edge computing provides services as close to the end user or device as possible and is essential to the value proposition of 5G. Next-gen applications, including self-driving vehicles, remote surgery, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), will all hinge on the edge.”
The report found that IT companies and tech companies, rather than telecoms service providers, are invariably seen as the “edge experts.” In particular, the report authors wrote:
“Connectivity is the cornerstone of an enterprise edge strategy, yet enterprises don’t see connectivity providers as the partner they need to make their strategy a success.”
How can carriers better show off their edge muscles in front of enterprises? WWT makes a number of suggestions based on the research, which, it insisted, “reflected the market’s view and was in no way influenced by WWT’s own perspective on edge.”
By developing a “pre-packaged edge solution” composed of connectivity and system integration capabilities, as well as an application platform (which WWT thinks will generate nearly 60% of the resulting revenue) “telecoms service providers can cement their place in the new era of enterprise data management.”
“Cloud service providers and systems integrators may talk up to their ability to satisfy customers’ connectivity needs, but telecoms service providers have been delivering these services for decades,” reassured the authors. “They have an innate understanding of the intricacies involved, and how these can be optimized.”
Industries covered by the research include transport, public sector, manufacturing, retail, financial services and healthcare. In each of these sectors, distributing computing through Edge implementations presents an opportunity to transform data management in line with the realities of an increasingly connected digital economy, as well as introducing new cost efficiencies and improvements to data security and compliance.
The report also identifies the 30 industry-specific Edge use cases likely to deliver the greatest revenue potential, all of which benefit from Edge’s suitability for transformative, data-intensive applications.
Key findings in the report:
- Options: Only 6% of enterprise decision-makers would choose service providers for their edge implementations. Instead, 41% would primarily opt for a technology company, while 31% would go with a public cloud provider.
- Demand: 59% of the $17 billion opportunity is at the level of user-facing application and service platforms, far more than connectivity-focused roles telecom service providers play. Telecom service providers need to expand what they offer beyond connectivity to capture more of the opportunity.
- Edge drivers: Across multiple industries, the top reasons organizers are embracing the edge are newer or enhanced customer experiences, data security and privacy, and cost efficiencies.
- Data management: Enterprises see the edge as a way of reducing data management costs by up to 20%.
The edge continues to be a promising opportunity for telecom service providers, cloud service providers, and channel partners. The report says that service providers’ deep understanding of connectivity is a key advantage. With the assistance of a partner who can bridge any gaps in their knowledge of vertical-specific use cases, they can develop pre-packaged solutions covering all three of the above requirements. Achieve this, and service providers will be on the road to changing enterprise perceptions, increasingly cementing themselves as the de facto partners for enterprise Edge deployments.
Grand View Research analysts predict that the global market for edge computing will grow 37.4% a year through 2027, when it will grow to $43.4 billion. A key catalyst for that growth will be 5G technology, which promises significantly faster speeds and more bandwidth and capacity than current 4G LTE networks.
GSMA announced a new initiative to develop a common telco edge cloud platform for network operators. China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, EE, KDDI, Orange, Singtel, SK Telecom, Telefonica and TIM are participating in the project. It will make local network operator assets made available to developers and software vendors to bring their services closer to enterprise customers.
The inter-operable platform will be developed in 2020. The operators have agreed to work together to develop the edge compute architectural framework and reference platform, and the GSMA has launched an Operator Platform Project to support the initiative. Initially, the platform will be deployed across multiple markets in Europe, before expanding to other parts of the world.
Operators will offer through the platform edge compute, storage and connectivity to their customers. The GSMA said the open platform will ensure data protection and sovereignty mechanisms, while offering carrier-grade reliability, security and trustworthiness. It will leverage existing technology where possible, such as aggregation platforms like MobiledgeX, or the interconnection mechanisms developed as part of the GSMA MultiOperator MEC experience.
Telco Edge Cloud will:
- Be open and inclusive
- Provide data protection and sovereignty mechanisms
- Offer carrier-grade reliability, security, trustworthiness
- Leverage existing technology solutions; as appropriate, including, but not limited to, aggregation platform solutions such as MobiledgeX, or the interconnection mechanisms developed as part of the GSMA MultiOperator MEC experience.
“Operators are very well placed to provide capabilities such as low latency through their network assets,” said Alex Sinclair, CTO at GSMA. “It is essential for enterprises to be able to reach all of their customers from the edge of any network. Based on the GSMA Operator Platform Specification, Telco Edge Cloud will provide enterprise developers and aggregators with a consistent way to reach connected customers.”
“Edge cloud will build a unified network edge ecosystem, providing diversified and customised products and services, and multiple platform capabilities. It will also realise more extensive boundary-crossing cooperation to meet the requirements of digital transformation of various vertical industries,” said Xiongyan Tang, the Chief Scientist of China Unicom Network Technology Research Institute and the Chief Architect of China Unicom Intelligent Network Center, China Unicom.
“Edge Cloud has an exciting potential to enable and enhance many innovative experiences for our customers. I welcome this operator initiative to take ownership of the edge opportunity by joining forces to deliver our capabilities in a federated edge service,” said Claudia Nemat, Board Member Technology & Innovation at Deutsche Telekom. “Leveraging MobiledgeX as platform partner and aggregator in the federation puts operators on the best track to create scale, bring in the developer community and make a market impact.”
“Edge Cloud is a promising opportunity to enable the development of services that need low latency connection and to meet various service demands from enterprise customers. The innovation of telecommunication services will be accelerated by the enhancement of service quality and the customer experience in real-time applications such as cloud XR and cloud gaming,” said Yoshiaki Uchida, Member of the Board, Executive Vice President, Executive Director, Technology Sector at KDDI.
“To address the edge-cloud computing market, operators need to work very closely together to create an interoperable platform and to monetise their extremely valuable assets,” said Mari-Noëlle Jégo-Laveissière, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Chief Technology and Global Innovation Officer, Orange. “We, at Orange, believe that it is a must-have to unleash new business opportunities enabled by both edge computing and 5G. That’s why we are proud to support the GSMA Telco Edge Cloud initiative.”
“We believe that a cross-border edge cloud platform which serves bandwidth needs and lower latency requirements, is what’s needed at this time as it allows organisations with multi-market operations to deploy and manage time-critical applications closer to where the data is collected. We look forward to collaborating with GSMA and the other telcos on this exciting initiative,” said Mark Chong, Group CTO of Singtel.
“Edge Cloud is a key enabler to unlock the full potential of emerging applications such as AR/VR, cloud robots, and smart factory with improved QoS, real-time intelligence, security and data privacy. In order to provide a seamless global MEC experience to our customers, it is critical that mobile operators around the world come together and join forces,” says Dr. Kang-Won Lee, Vice President and Head of Cloud Labs at SK Telecom. “SK Telecom is excited to collaborate with global partners, bringing our edge cloud experience and tech leadership to the team to realise the vision of mobile edge cloud.”
“The market needs an Edge Cloud that meets the enterprise demands to service their customers. Telecom operators are in an extremely good position to provide a trusted and open Edge Cloud, so enterprises can maximise their service offering and business opportunities being as close as needed to their customers,” said Enrique Blanco, Group CTO, Telefonica.
“Edge Cloud is a fundamental asset for the new requirements of many business segments and customers,” said Elisabetta Romano, Chief Innovation & Partnership Officer, TIM. “Edge Cloud will be a formidable enabler to transform the network from a “bit pipe” to an effective digital business platform, thanks to flexible computing capacity and low access latency to computing resources.”
Geoff Hollingworth, CMO of MobiledgeX, told RCR Wireless News that he has been very close to the company’s collaboration with the GSMA/operator initiative. He said that the goal of the program is to build an operator edge platform that presents a solution “as homogenous as possible” to the enterprise market, in the same way that the mobile industry has presented global messaging and data solutions.
“They want to fast-track that in the industry, as much as possible into the real world,” he said. Enterprises, Hollingworth went on, need easy access to high-performance, cloud-native computing close to where they need that data processed, whether it’s in a country where their products are manufactured or perhaps where they are used, or both. He said there is more than one model for providing that, such as a form of aggregated networks where local operators are paid for being part of it and running workloads locally, or via something similar to roaming agreements between operators for so-called “east-west interfaces” that allow access to local edge computing resources. He expects both to be explored in the GSMA initiative.
“It’s purely a question of agreeing to roll out in a way that actually meets the needs of the real customers,” he added. MobiledgeX, Hollingworth said, has been in conversations with operators around the world as it seeks to build its own edge computing platform footprint, and he said it has a good handle on just what enterprise customers and application developers need and brings that knowledge to the table as part of its participation in the GSMA Operator Platform Project.
Edge use cases, he went on, always begin with one thing in common: a large volume of data that is very information-rich, that needs to be interpreted in real-time, probably by artificial intelligence; and then resulting insights need to be transmitted both locally to make an immediate change, and to a larger big-data engine for longer-term processing. MobiledgeX sees that such data streams are often coming from video cameras being used as IoT sensors and requiring vast, fast image processing capabilities. Even in the case of lower-data-intensive IoT sensor capabilities, Hollingworth said, those capabilities are increasingly being built into products and solutions that enterprises are buying—but they’re not being turned up, even if the companies would like to use them, because the enterprises can’t cope with the volume of information that would result. Globally available, easily accessed edge computing resources could change that.
The GSMA Operator Platform Project:
The GSMA’s Operator Platform Project intends to develop a framework for operators to expose and monetise their network capabilities. Operators will offer through the Operator Platform edge compute, storage and connectivity to their customers leveraging:
- their existing relationships with enterprises who already have use cases requiring edge,
- their vast local footprint/real estate,
- an inimitable position for stringent security and data privacy, residency, sovereignty and
- the organisational competence from the experience of providing highly reliable (five nines) services over a distributed and capillary network environment.
Cloud capabilities will be treated as a subset of edge.
About the GSMA:
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 750 operators with almost 300 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as Mobile World Congress, Mobile World Congress Shanghai, Mobile World Congress Americas and the Mobile 360 Series of conferences.
For the GSMA
GSMA Press Office
SKT Forms Global Alliance with 9 Telcos on 5G Mobile Edge Computing
SK Telecom Co., South Korea’s largest mobile carrier, said Sunday it has formed an international alliance with nine telecommunication firms to develop 5G mobile edge computing (MEC) technologies and services.
SK Telecom said Telecom Edge Cloud TF was established with nine other companies at a GSMA meeting in London last week. Its members include Deutsche Telekom AG of Germany, KDDI Corp. of Japan and EE Ltd. of Britain. The TF aims to have global commercialization of 5G MEC by sharing each member’s technology and service know-how.
MEC is a key technology in delivering ultra-low latency data communication in 5G networks that allows companies to offer better solutions in cloud gaming, smart factory and autonomous driving. It aims to minimize latency by providing a “shortcut” — which can be completed by installing small-scale data centers at 5G base stations — for data transmission.
SK Telecom has been one of the active players in the mobile industry to develop 5G MEC solutions. In January, the company formed Global MEC TF with five Asian telecommunication firms to develop 5G MEC technologies and services.
Source: Gartner report on Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020
Communicating to the Edge — The Role of 5G
Connecting edge devices with one another and with back-end services is a fundamental aspect of IoT and an enabler of smart spaces. 5G is the next-generation cellular standard after 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE; LTE Advanced [LTE-A] and LTE Advanced Pro [LTE-A Pro]).
Several global standards bodies have defined it — International Telecommunication Union (ITU), 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) [NOT A STANDARDS BODY] and ETSI [Has submitted their IMT 2020 RIT to ITU-R WP5D jointly with DECT Forum].
Successive iterations of the 5G standard also will incorporate support for NarrowBand Internet of Things (NB-IoT) aimed at devices with low-power and low-throughput requirements. New system architectures include core network slicing as well as edge computing.
5G addresses three key technology communication aspects, each of which supports distinct new services, and possibly new business models (such as latency as a service):
■ Enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), which most providers will probably implement first.
■ Ultra-reliable and low-latency communications (URLLC), which addresses many existing industrial, medical, drone and transportation requirements where reliability and latency requirements surpass bandwidth needs.
■ Massive machine-type communications (mMTC), which addresses the scale requirements of IoT edge computing.
Use of higher cellular frequencies and massive capacity will require very dense deployments with higher frequency reuse. As a result, we expect that most public 5G deployments will initially focus on islands of deployment, without continuous national coverage. We expect that, by 2020, 4% of network-based mobile communications service providers globally will launch the 5G network commercially. Many CSPs are uncertain about the nature of the use cases and business models that may drive 5G. We expect that, through 2022, organizations will use 5G mainly to support IoT communications, high-definition video and fixed wireless access. The release of unlicensed radio spectrum (Citizens Broadband Radio Service [CBRS] in the U.S., and similar initiatives in the U.K. and Germany) will facilitate the deployment of private 5G (and LTE) networks.
This will enable enterprises to exploit the advantages of 5G technology without waiting for public networks to build out coverage. Identify use cases that definitely require the high-end performance, low latency or higher densities of 5G for edge computing needs.
Map the organization’s planned exploitation of such use cases against the expected rollout by providers through 2023. Evaluate the available alternatives that may prove adequate and more cost-effective than 5G for particular IoT use cases. Examples include low-power wide-area (LPWA), such as 4G LTE-based NB-IoT or LTE Cat M1, LoRa, Sigfox and Wireless Smart Ubiquitous Networks (Wi-SUN).
Distributed Cloud examines a major evolution in cloud computing where the applications, platforms, tools, security, management and other services are physically shifting from a centralized data center model to one in which the services are distributed and delivered at the point of need. The point of need can extend into customer data centers or all the way to the edge devices.
A distributed cloud refers to the distribution of public cloud services to different locations outside the cloud providers’ data centers, while the originating public cloud provider assumes responsibility for the operation, governance, maintenance and updates. This represents a significant shift from the centralized model of most public cloud services and will lead to a new era in cloud computing.
Concept of Distributed Cloud:
Gartner expects distributed cloud computing will happen in three phases:
■ Phase 1: A like-for-like hybrid mode in which the cloud provider delivers services in a distributed fashion that mirror a subset of services in its centralized cloud for delivery in the enterprise.
■ Phase 2: An extension of the like-for-like model in which the cloud provider teams with third parties to deliver a subset of its centralized cloud services to target communities through the third-party provider. An example is the delivery of services through a telecommunications
provider to support data sovereignty requirements in smaller countries where the provider does not have data centers.
■ Phase 3: Communities of organizations share distributed cloud substations. We use the term“substations” to evoke the image of subsidiary stations (like branch post offices) where people gather to use services.
Cloud customers can gather at a given distributed cloud substation to
consume cloud services for common or varied reasons if it is open for community or public use. This improves the economics associated with paying for the installation and operation of a distributed cloud substation. As other companies use the substation, they can share the cost of
We expect that third parties such as telecommunications service providers will explore the creation of substations in locations where the public cloud provider does not have a presence. If the substation is not open for use by others outside the organization that paid for its installation, then the substation represents a private cloud instance in a hybrid relationship with the public cloud. The distributed cloud supports continuously connected and intermittently connected operation of like-for-like cloud services from the public cloud “distributed” to specific and varied locations. This enables low-latency service execution where the cloud services are closer to the point of need in remote data centers or all the way to the edge device itself.
This can deliver major improvements in performance and reduce the risk of global network-related outages, as well as support occasionally connected scenarios. By 2024, most cloud service platforms will provide at least some services that execute at the point of need.
On Dec. 3rd at AWS re:Invent (Dec. 2-6, 2019) in Las Vegas, Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS), announced AWS Wavelength, which provides developers the ability to build applications that serve end-users with single-digit millisecond latencies over the 5G network. AWS is partnering with Verizon on making AWS Wavelength available across the United States. Currently, AWS Wavelength is being piloted by select customers in Verizon’s 5G Edge, Verizon’s mobile edge compute (MEC) solution, in Chicago. Additionally, AWS is collaborating with other global telecommunications companies (including Vodafone, SK Telecom, and KDDI) to launch AWS Wavelength across Europe, South Korea, and Japan in 2020, with more global partners coming soon. From Amazon’s AWS Wavelength press release:
AWS Wavelength enables developers to build applications that deliver single-digit millisecond latencies to mobile devices and end-users. AWS developers can deploy their applications to Wavelength Zones, AWS infrastructure deployments that embed AWS compute and storage services within the wireless telecommunications providers’ data centers at the edge of the 5G networks, and seamlessly access the breadth of AWS services in the region. This enables developers to deliver applications that require single-digit millisecond latencies such as game and live video streaming, machine learning inference at the edge, and augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR).
AWS Wavelength brings AWS services to the edge of the 5G network, minimizing the latency to connect to an application from a mobile device. Application traffic can reach application servers running in Wavelength Zones without leaving the mobile provider’s network. This reduces the extra network hops to the Internet that can result in latencies of more than 100 milliseconds, preventing customers from taking full advantage of the bandwidth and latency advancements of 5G.
More from the press release:
Wavelength embeds AWS compute and storage services at the edge of wireless telecommunications providers’ 5G networks, enabling developers to serve use-cases that require ultra-low latency like machine learning inference at the edge, autonomous industrial equipment, smart cars and cities, Internet of Things (IoT), and Augmented and Virtual Reality. Wavelength brings the power of AWS to the edge of the 5G network, so developers can deploy the portions of an application that require ultra-low latency within the 5G network, and then seamlessly connect back to the rest of their application and full range of cloud services running in AWS. AWS customers can now use the same familiar AWS APIs, tools, and functionality they use today, to deliver-low latency applications at the edge of the 5G network, around the world […]
With infrastructure that consists of 69 Availability Zones, in 22 AWS Regions, AWS enables developers to serve end-users with low latencies worldwide. However, emerging interactive applications like game streaming, virtual reality, and real-time rendering require even lower latencies, of single-digit milliseconds to end-users and devices, connected through mobile networks. In addition, use-cases like industrial automation, smart cities, IoT, and autonomous vehicles require data processing to take place close to the source in order to conserve resources like device power and bandwidth. The 5G network is up to 20 times faster than 4G, and can be used to dramatically increase the number of supported devices and shrink network latency for mobile devices. However, even with the arrival of 5G, mobile devices still have to cross multiple network hops when connecting to an application over the Internet. Today, application traffic has to travel from a device to a cell tower to metro aggregation sites to regional aggregation sites and to the Internet before it can access resources running in AWS. These network hops can result in latencies of more than 100 milliseconds. This prevents developers from realizing the full potential of 5G to address low-latency use-cases.
Wavelength addresses these problems by bringing AWS services to the edge of the 5G network, minimizing the latency to connect to an application from a mobile device. With Wavelength, AWS developers can deploy their applications to Wavelength Zones, AWS infrastructure deployments that embed AWS compute and storage services within the network operators’ datacenters at the edge of the 5G network, so application traffic only needs to travel from the device to a cell tower to a Wavelength Zone running in a metro aggregation site. This removes a lot of the latency that would result from multiple hops between regional aggregation sites and across the Internet, which enables customers to take full advantage of 5G networks. Wavelength also delivers a consistent developer experience across multiple 5G networks around the world, and allows developers to build the next generation of ultra-low latency applications using the familiar AWS services, APIs, and tools they already use today – eliminating the need for developers to negotiate for space and equipment with multiple telecommunications providers, and stitch together application deployment and operations through different management interfaces, before they can begin to deploy their applications.
AWS Wavelength combines the power of the AWS cloud with the cutting-edge 5G networks of leading telecommunications providers like Verizon, Vodafone, KDDI, and SK Telecom to unlock a new wave of innovative applications and services around the world. By delivering these new capabilities, Wavelength enables developers to serve mobile users with single-digit millisecond latency and to optimize their applications by processing data closer to its source, enabling use-cases across a wide range of platforms – from factories to stores to cars to homes.
To deploy their application to the 5G edge, developers can simply extend their Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) to include a Wavelength Zone and then create AWS resources like Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances, Amazon Elastic Block Storage (EBS) volumes, and AWS Elastic Container Service (ECS) and Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Services (EKS) containers. In addition, developers can continue to use familiar and powerful AWS services to manage, secure, and scale their applications like AWS CloudFormation, AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), and AWS Auto Scaling. This enables developers to easily run a wide variety of latency-sensitive workloads like analytics, IoT, machine learning, game streaming, and AR/VR.”
With Wavelength, we bring 5G and cloud together to give our customers the powerful new capability to run cloud services consistently within a few milliseconds of mobile end-users,” said Matt Garman, Vice President Compute Services, AWS. “This is a game changer for developers that is going to unlock a whole new generation of applications and services. We are really excited to see our customers innovate with these unique new capabilities that they did not have access to before.
AWS Wavelength: Partner testimonials:
From the AWS press announcement, here are current Amazon’s Wavelength partners’ testimonial statements:
“Verizon is building the most powerful 5G network in the U.S. Launched in April, Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network is currently live in 18 cities as well as 16 sporting and entertainment arenas across the country, and plans to expand to more than 30 U.S. cities by the end of this year. “Continuing our tradition of bringing new technology to market first we are excited to launch a mobile edge compute service — integrating our 5G Edge platform with Wavelength to allow developers to build new categories of applications and network cloud experiences,” said Kyle Malady, CTO of Verizon. “Bringing together the full capabilities of Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network and AWS, we unlock the full potential of our 5G services for customers to create applications and solutions with the fastest speeds and ultra-low latency.”
Verizon and AWS will integrate AWS – Wavelength with 5G Edge so developers can begin testing applications on ultra-low latency networks. The plan is to connect 5G applications to AWS cloud services without the hops. The two companies will bring compute and storage closer to 5G users. Deployments are planned in Chicago for select customers in 2020 with additional locations added throughout the year.
“Varjo Technologies Oy is based in Helsinki and is creating the world’s best hardware and software for groundbreaking VR/AR/XR computing devices, merging the real and digital worlds seamlessly together in human-eye resolution. “Simulating things at the same acuity you see in real life is a game changer compared to standard VR approaches. Varjo’s unique human-eye resolution technology helps professionals save time, money, and effort,” said Niko Eiden, Founder and CEO, Varjo. “Not too far down the road, our technology will be fully wireless, collaborative mixed reality. And this workspace of the future needs to be rendered in the cloud – with millions of pixels of extremely high-resolution, uncompressed content with single-digit millisecond latencies delivered to our devices – whether on premises at carmakers or in remote sites, through 5G. Now, instead of having to develop expensive local computing services that would be impossible to run on a battery-operated device, we can use edge computing to scale the rendering power and the business of our industrial-grade VR/MR from thousands to hundreds of thousands of units. Having access to the power of the AWS Cloud, together with 5G’s high bandwidth, low latency, and increased connectivity, is vital to our ability to deliver professional immersive computing experiences and to grow our business.”
“Mapbox is the location data platform for mobile and web developers, providing building blocks to add location features like maps, search, and navigation into any experience and changing the way people move around cities and explore the world. Mapbox tools are used by more than 1.7 million live location developers to power daily experiences for people, technology, and business. “Everyone needs maps, so 600 million people touch Mapbox every month as they read the headlines of the New York Times, check the weather on Weather.com, and find great restaurants or concerts on Facebook,” said Eric Gundersen, CEO and Co-Founder, Mapbox. “Our map gets smarter every time someone touches it, using AI to constantly update traffic and new streets — AWS Wavelength’s ultra-low-latency compute can help us process billions of sensor data updates into better maps by identifying new roads as they’re built, routing drivers around traffic jams, and spotting road construction with the Vision SDK. AWS Wavelength can reduce our refresh timelines from minutes to seconds, delivering Mapbox users a truly living map.”
“SK Telecom, the largest mobile operator in Korea, with nearly 50 percent market share, has been leading the global mobile industry through constant innovations in technologies and services. As a 5G pioneer, SK Telecom is also one of the first telco providers to launch commercial 5G mobile-edge computing (MEC) in collaboration with AWS. “By combining the strengths of SK Telecom’s 5G network and AWS cloud, we are set to bring innovative changes to all individuals, businesses and industries. This collaboration enables exciting use cases like game streaming, headless robotics, Ultra High Definition interactive media, autonomous driving, and smart factories. For example, through the application of AWS Wavelength and SK Telecom’s advanced 5G solutions, a smart factory can enhance the response time of robots performing maintenance, security, and manufacturing tasks, allowing the factory to scale operations without increasing costs,” said Ryu Young-sang, Vice President and Head of MNO Business, SK Telecom. “SK Telecom and AWS are deploying 5G multi-access cloud services at the edge, helping third-party developers and enterprises improve quality of experience, create business models, and accelerate time to market for new revenue opportunities. With SK Telecom’s 5G network, we can jointly develop sophisticated cloud services that can create greater value for enterprises of any size in Korea.”
“Vodafone Group is one of the world’s leading telecoms and technology service providers, with extensive experience in connectivity, convergence and the Internet of Things, as well as championing mobile financial services and digital transformation in emerging markets. Vodafone Business and AWS will provide multi-access edge computing capabilities to developers, Internet of Things (IoT), devices and end users by bringing the AWS cloud closer to the devices that need it, and running AWS Wavelength in strategic locations within Vodafone’s 5G network. “With Europe’s largest 5G network across 58 cities and as a global leader in the Internet of Things (IoT) with over 90 million connections, Vodafone is pleased to be the first telco to introduce AWS Wavelength in Europe,” said Vinod Kumar, CEO of Vodafone Business. “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.”
“KDDI, a leading telecommunications provider in Japan, offers services that include both mobile and fixed-line communications, and Internet services. KDDI, which plans to launch commercial 5G services in Japan by March 2020, is actively developing its 5G network to enable enhanced Mobile Broadband in both densely populated metropolitan areas and rural areas. “In preparation for our 5G service launch, KDDI has been successfully proving that 5G can be delivered with reliable service quality in Japan in metropolitan and rural locations. We have achieved successful trials, like 5G handovers for high-speed racing cars and trains, a real-time, free-viewpoint video stream at a baseball stadium, and 4K video communication at a major station,” said Makoto Takahashi, President, KDDI. “Having the power of the AWS cloud processing and storage services available at the edge of the KDDI 5G network enables us to accelerate IoT innovation for applications like high-definition VR video streaming, VPS (visual positioning service), smart factories, autonomous vehicles, and more. AWS Wavelength provides Japanese businesses and consumers immediate access to these services over the KDDI 5G network. This will also enable us to address some of Japan’s pressing societal issues, such as revitalizing economies in areas facing population decline, rebuilding infrastructure, and improving prompt reaction to natural disasters.”
The tight coupling of 5G networks with edge computing raises challenging interoperability questions. Currently, it appears that a U.S. end user wanting to use an application that relies on a AWS Wavelength Zone would have to be a Verizon 5G Edge customer with a Verizon 5G end point device. That’s not how we usually think about “the cloud,” which today can be accessed from a wide range of different vendor devices over a wide range of connectivity providers.
At MWC 2019, A&T announced it was working with Microsoft Azure to bring network edge computing (NEC) closer to the end point. We wrote in February 2019 that 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, TX. Microsoft provided new details of its Azure – AT&T 5G partnership on November 26th:
Microsoft Azure cloud services are being integrated into AT&T network edge locations (closer to customers). This means AT&T’s software-defined and virtualized 5G core – what the company calls the Network Cloud – is now capable of delivering Azure services. NEC will initially be available for a limited set of select customers in Dallas. Next year, Los Angeles and Atlanta are targeted for select customer availability.
That implies if you are an AT&T 5G customer you will, at some point in time, likely have access to Microsoft Azure cloud services via NEC. However, AT&T customers won’t be able to access NEC for any other cloud provider, i.e. AWS, Google Cloud, etc.
Hence, you only get the advantages of edge computing (with much lower latency) if you are locked in to a pair of 5G network and cloud providers that have an edge computing partnership.
And what about roaming or truly mobile, such that a 5G endpoint device (in a train, car, bus, ship, etc) moves from one Wavelength Zone or 5G network to another? Will there be any sort of hand-off between providers and will the 5G device be able to operate on more than the 5G network it subscribed to?
Once again, this issue can only be solved once the complete suite of IMT 2020 standards are finalized and implemented by 5G network operators and endpoint device makers!
Verizon 5G Overview:
Verizon’s 5G network strategy is centered on three deliverables with fiber optics for backhaul playing a huge role in all of them:
- 5G mobile for businesses and consumers,
- 5G home broadband (see Note 1. below) —delivering home internet over the air—and
- Mobile edge computing, which is essentially miniature data centers distributed throughout the network so they’re closer to the 5G endpoints.
The company’s CEO Hans Vestberg said that a total of 30 5G mobile cities will be launched by Verizon this year. He also plans to restart Verizon’s fixed wireless 5G Home service  later this year. 5G Home currently is in four U.S. markets.
Note 1. There is no standard for 5G fixed wireless and none is even being worked on. It is not an IMT 2020 use case within ITU.
Fiber and Mobile Edge Computing:
The U.S.’s #1 wireless carrier by subscribers will continue to install fiber at a rate of 1,400 miles per month in support of its 5G network builds for between two and three years. Verizon will begin to provide mobile edge computing [aka Multi-access edge computing (MEC)] during the upcoming quarter, Vestberg said at a Goldman Sachs Communacopia investor conference on Thursday, September 19th. Verizon fiber deployments are critical to supporting a mixture of services, Vestberg said.
As part of its Fiber One project, two years ago Verizon signed a $1.1 billion, three-year fiber and hardware purchase agreement with Corning to build a next-generation fiber platform to support 4G LTE, 5G, and gigabit backhaul for 5G networks and fiber-to-the premise deployments to residential and business customers. Also in 2017, Verizon also announced a $300 million fiber deal with Prsymian Group to provide additional fiber for its wireline and wireless services.
“The whole Intelligent Edge Network was basically all of the way from the data center to the access point we have one unique network for redundancy. And then, of course, in between fiber to the access point and then you decide if its 5G, 4G, or fiber to the home or fiber to curb, or fiber to the enterprise,” Vestberg said. “In that, the fiber deployment for us was extremely important.”
“One part of the whole intelligent edge network was that . . . all the way from the data center to the access point you have one unique network with a lot of redundancy and, in between, a lot of fiber to the access point and then you decide if it’s 3G, 5G, 4G or fiber to the home or fiber to the curb or fiber to the enterprise,” he explained.
Vestberg said: “You have one unique network with a lot of redundancy and, in between, a lot of fiber to the access point,” he said of edge computing, which has become a priority for many wireless and wireline network operators.
mmWave for 5G:
Verizon will continue to deploy millimeter wave (mmWave) for its 5G network for the foreseeable future, Vestberg told the investor conference audience. High frequency band mmWave has great download speeds but its range is very limited, which requires many more small cells.
“Maybe you have 50 to 70 megabits per second on a 4G network today, when you get 1 gig [on 5G] it’s a totally different experience and what you can do with it,” Vestberg said. “What we saw in the 4G era was enormous innovation coming with that [greater] coverage and that speed [over 3G]. It’s going to be the same with 5G for sure,” he added.
“Now we have 2 gigs [gigabits per second] on the phones,” Vestberg said. The range, however, can veer from 2,000 feet to 500 feet and the network can’t deliver flashy streaming videos — or, in fact, any kind of service — indoors. Verizon is the only US carrier solely dedicated to the highband (28GHz) approach to 5G for now. AT&T and T-Mobile plan to launch low and mid band 5G networks next year, along with limited mmWave deployments. Sprint has mid band 5G launched so far.
“We can launch nationwide with millimeter wave,” the Verizon CEO insisted. “Any spectrum will have 5G in the future,” Vestberg noted. Verizon will also offer dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) in the future. DSS will allow operators to share spectrum instantaneously and simultaneously between 4G and 5G networks. But not for mmWave, since that doesn’t share spectrum with any 4G networks.
Vestberg said Verizon has all the spectrum it needs now to do a nationwide network on mmWave, and that adding more antennas in a given area or making software adjustments are also options for increasing capacity on existing spectrum bands.
Vestberg insisted that the mmWave-based service will be “self-install.” This would be more economical than the “white glove” — a.k.a. professional — installation model that 5G Home started with in October 2018.
Verizon’s mobile network:
A growing percentage of Verizon’s mobile subscribers are on unlimited data plans, with about half today. “This is a way for us to continue to see that our customers have a great journey from metered plan to Unlimited (data) plans and then they can move up…to 5G,” Vestberg said.
“We think that we are best equipped to leverage the best network and continue to partner with [media companies] rather than us managing it. Others might have better qualities for doing that but we don’t, Vestberg said.
Verizon to speak at Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference September 19