Telcos need to fill in gaps to be Edge Computing (5G, IIoT) leaders

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.”

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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.

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References:

https://www.wwt.com/white-paper/the-edge-disconnect-how-service-providers-can-change-perceptions-to-become-the-authority-in-enterprise-edge-computing

https://channelnomics.com/2020/06/09/ingram-micro-cloud-simplifies-complex-aws-world/

https://www.lightreading.com/the-edge/telcos-need-to-up-their-edge-game—report/d/d-id/761562?

 

GSMA: New Telco Edge Cloud Platform Project has 9 Telcos Participating

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.

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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.

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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 more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website at www.gsma.com. Follow the GSMA on Twitter: @GSMA.

Media Contacts:
For the GSMA

GSMA Press Office
pressoffice@gsma.com

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Addendum: 

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.

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References:

Telecom Operators Collaborate to Build the Telco Edge Cloud Platform with GSMA Support

https://www.telecompaper.com/news/gsma-unites-telcos-on-common-enterprise-edge-cloud-platform–1328319

Nine operators join forces on global edge computing, with GSMA’s support

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/10-things-you-should-know-telco-edge-compute-philip-laidler

https://siliconangle.com/2019/12/13/computing-explodes-network-edge-cloud-providers-telcos-jockey-lead/

https://mobiledgex.com/assets/resources/stl/what-edge-developers-want-from-telcos-now—final.pdf

Gartner: Telecom at the Edge + Distributed Cloud in 3 Stages

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).
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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:

Concept of distributed cloud. 

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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
the installation.

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.

References:

https://emtemp.gcom.cloud/ngw/globalassets/en/doc/documents/432920-top-10-strategic-technology-trends-for-2020.pdf

https://emtemp.gcom.cloud/ngw/globalassets/en/doc/documents/450595-top-strategic-predictions-for-2020-and-beyond.pdf

Gartner Group Innovation & Insight: Cutting Through the 5G Hype

AWS looks to dominate 5G edge with telco partners that include Verizon, Vodafone, KDDI, SK Telecom

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.

Image result for image of AWS wavelength

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.

Image result for image of AWS wavelength

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.”

Interoperability Issues:

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, TXMicrosoft 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!

 

 

References:

https://aws.amazon.com/wavelength

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20191203005910/en/AWS-Announces-AWS-Wavelength

 

Verizon CEO: 5G will require fiber optic expansion, mobile edge computing and continue to use mmWave spectrum

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:

  1.  5G mobile for businesses and consumers,
  2.  5G home broadband (see Note 1. below) —delivering home internet over the air—and
  3.  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 [1] 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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References:

Verizon to speak at Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference September 19
https://www.verizon.com/about/investors/goldman-sachs-28th-annual-communacopia-conference

https://event.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1260712&tp_key=eae790b458

https://www.barrons.com/articles/verizon-ceo-hans-vestberg-stock-5g-wireless-competition-51568906382

https://www.lightreading.com/mobile/5g/verizons-vestberg-sticks-with-mmwave-for-5g-/d/d-id/754248

https://www.telecompetitor.com/verizon-ceo-ongoing-fiber-investments-paying-dividends-including-mec/

CenturyLink CTO on Network Virtualization; Major Investment in Edge Compute Services

Andrew Dugan, senior vice president  and chief technology officer, CenturyLink, Inc. presented his company’s views on network virtualization and related topics at the Cowen and Company 5th Annual Communications Infrastructure Summit in Boulder CO., on Aug. 13th.  You can listen to the audio webcast replay here.

Dugan said he doesn’t know what AT&T means when the mega carrier says it’s virtualizing 75% of its core network by the end of 2020.   “I’d like to figure out what AT&T means by 75% virtualization,” said Dugan. “I don’t get it. The concept of virtualizing the core router or an optical platform, that’s a lot of cost of your network to provide services. We’re not working on virtualizing that stuff.

Dugan said CenturyLink is focused on virtualizing systems that enable its customers to turn up and turn down services on demand, and it’s also focused on virtualization at the edge of its network. He said the company likes the benefits of putting a white box device on the customer premises and “letting a customer turn up a firewall or an SD-WAN appliance or a WAN accelerator whenever they want.”

Earlier this week, CenturyLink announced the rollout of its edge compute-focused strategy, beginning with a several hundred-million-dollar investment to build out and support edge compute services. This effort – which includes creating more than 100 initial edge compute locations across the U.S., and providing a range of hybrid cloud solutions and managed services – enables customers to advance their next-gen digital initiatives with technology that integrates high performance, low-latency networking with leading cloud service provider platforms in customized configurations.

“Customers are increasingly coming to us for help with applications where latency, bandwidth and geography are critical considerations,” said Paul Savill, senior vice president, product management, CenturyLink. “This investment creates the platform for CenturyLink to enable enterprises, hyperscalers, wireless carriers, and system integrators with the technology elements to drive years of innovation where workloads get placed closer to customers’ digital interactions.”

This expansion allows businesses and government agencies to leverage a highly diverse, global fiber network with edge facilities designed to serve their local locations within 5 milliseconds of latency. With this infrastructure, companies will be able to complete the linkage from office location to market edge compute aggregation to public cloud and data centers with redundant and dynamically consumable network.

“Digital transformation is gaining momentum as enterprises across all verticals look to technology to improve operational efficiency and enhance the customer experience,” said Melanie Posey, Research Vice President and General Manager at 451 Research. “As business processes become increasingly distributed, data-intensive, and transaction-based, the IT systems they depend on must be equally distributed to provide the necessary compute, storage and network resources to far-flung business value chains.”

Dugan said the edge compute platform plays into the company’s virtualization efforts, allowing customers the ability to turn up and turn down Ethernet services, increase capacity, change vLANs, and configure their services on-demand.

Related image

“That, to me, is where NFV and SDN comes in. We haven’t put a number on the percent of the network. We’re more focused on that customer enablement,” he said.

“When you build out an NFV platform, you’ve got the cost of the white box, you have the cost of the management or virtualization software that runs within the white box, and you have the cost of the virtual functions themselves.  If you’re running one or two applications on premise, it’s not cheaper. The real value from NFV comes in the flexibility that it provides you to be able to put a box out there and be able to turn up and turn down services. It’s not a capex reduction…It’s a reduction in operating costs because you’re not having to roll trucks and put boxes out,” Dugan added.

CenturyLink says its “thousands of secure technical facilities combined with its network of 450,000-global route miles of fiber, expertise in high-performance cloud networking, and extensive cloud management expertise make this investment in the rapidly emerging edge compute market a natural evolution for the company.”

Key Facts (source: CenturyLink):

  • CenturyLink today connects to over 2,200 public and private data centers and over 150,000 on-net, fiber-fed enterprise buildings.
  • CenturyLink’s robust fiber network is one of the most deeply peered and well-connected in the world, with over 450,000 route-miles of coverage.
  • CenturyLink is expanding access to its services by expanding network colocation services in many key markets to enable customers and partners to run distributed IT workloads close to the edge of the network.

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CenturyLink References:

CenturyLink CEO Jeff Storey: “Expanding our fiber footprint is major focus; Fiber beats wireless, whether it’s 5G or not”

IHS Markit: CenturyLink #1 in the 2019 North American SIP Trunking Scorecard

VSG’s U.S. Carrier Ethernet LEADERBOARD: CenturyLink #1, AT&T #2; U.S. CE port base grew >12%

CenturyLink offers Multi Cloud Connect L2 Service for Fiber-fed Buildings

CenturyLink/Level 3 Says Its Fiber Assets will attract SMBs

 

GSA Silicon Summit: Focus on Edge Computing, AI/ML and Vehicle to Everything (V2X) Communications

Introduction:

Many “big picture” technology trends and future requirements were detailed at GSA’s Silicon Summit, held June 18, 2019 in Santa Clara, CA.  The conference was  a “high level” executive briefing for the entire semiconductor ecosystem- including software, middleware and hardware.  Insights on trends, key issues, opportunities and technology challenges (especially related to IoT security) were described and debated in panel sessions.  Partnerships and collaboration were deemed necessary, especially for start-ups and small companies, to advance the technology, products and services to be offered in this new age of AI, ML/DL, cloud, IoT, autonomous vehicles, (fake) 5G, etc.  Companies involved in the development of next generation Mobility and Edge Intelligence systems architectures and solutions discussed what opportunities, advancements and challenges exist in those key areas.

With the rapid proliferation of smart edge computing devices and applications, the volume of data produced is growing exponentially. Connected, and “intelligent,” devices are predicted to grow to 200 billion by 2020, generating enormous amounts of data every single day. The business potential created by this data comes with huge expectations.  Edge devices, edge intelligence, high bandwidth connectivity, high performance computing, machine learning and other technologies are essential to enabling opportunities in markets such as Mobility and Industrial IoT.

This article will focus on Edge Computing, AI moving closer to the endpoint device (at the network edge or actually embedded in the end point device/thing), and vehicle to vehicle/everything communications.

While there were many presentations and panels on security, that is beyond the scope of the IEEE ComSoc Techblog.  However, we share Intel’s opinion, expressed during a lunch panel session, that standards for Over The Air (OTA) security software/firmware updates are necessary for almost all smart/intelligent devices that are part of the IoT.

Architectural Implications of Edge Computing, Yogesh Bhatt VP of Products- ML, DL and Cognitive Tech Ericsson – Silicon Valley:

Several emerging application (data flow) patterns are moving intelligence from the cloud to local/metro area to on premises and ultimately to the endpoint devices.  These applications include: cloud native apps like content delivery; AI enabled apps like sensing, thinking and acting; immersive apps like media processing/augmentation/distribution.

AI enabled Industrial apps are increasing.  They were defined as: The ability to collect and deliver the right data/video/images, at the right velocity and in the right quantities to wide set of well-orchestrated ML-models and provide insights at all levels in the operation.  Connectivity and compute are being packaged together and offered as “a service.”  One example given was 4K video over (pre-standard) “5G” wireless access at the 2018 U.S. Open.  That was intended to be a case study of whether 5G could replace miles of fiber to broadcast live, high definition sports events.

Yogesh Bhatt VP of Products- ML, DL and Cognitive Tech Ericsson – Silicon Valley

Image courtesy of GSA Global

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Required Architecture for Emerging App Patterns: Application Cloud, Management & Monetization Network slices, Mobile Fixed Cloud infrastructure, Distributed Cloud and Transport.   The flow of emerging apps requires computing capability to be distributed based on the application pattern and flow.  That in turn mandates cross-domain orchestration and automation of services.

Key take-aways:

  • Emerging Application patterns will require significant compute capabilities close to the data sources and sinks (end points)
  • Current Device-to-Cloud Architecture need to expand to encompass hosting points that provides such processing capabilities
  • The processing capabilities at these Edge locations would be anything but like the centralized Cloud Data Centers (DCs)

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Heterogeneous Integration for the Edge, Yin Chang Sr. VP, Sales & Marketing ASE Group:

ASE sees the “Empowered Edge” as a key 2019 strategic trend.  Edge computing drivers include: latency/determinism, cost of bandwidth, better privacy and security, and higher reliability/availability (connections go down, limited autonomy).

  • At the edge (undefined where that is -see my comment below) we might see the following: Collect/Process data, Imaging Device, Image processing, Biometric Sensor, Microphone, Sensors with embedded MCUs, Environmental Sensor.
  • At the core (assumed to be somewhere in the cloud/Internet): Compute/Intelligent processing, AI & Machine Learning, Networks/Server Processors, High Bandwidth Memory (HBM), Neuro-engine (future), Quantum computing (future).

Compute capabilities are moving to the edge and endpoints:

  • Edge Infrastructure and IoT/Endpoint Systems are growing in compute power per system.
  • As the number of IoT/Endpoint systems outgrows other categories, TOTAL Compute will be at the Endpoint.

Challenges at the Edge will require a cost effective integration solution which will need to deal with:

  • Cloud connectivity – latency and bandwidth limitations
  • Mixed device functionality – sense, compute, connect, power
  • Multiple communication protocols
  • Form factor constraints
  • Battery life
  • Security
  • Cost High density

ASE advocates Heterogeneous Integration at the Edge— by material, component type, circuit type (IP), node and bonding/ interconnect method.  The company has partnered with Cadence to realize System in Package (SiP) intelligent design with “advanced functional integration.”  That partnership addresses the design/verification challenges of complex layout of advanced packages, including ultra-complex SiP, Fan-Out and 2.5D packages.

One such SiP design for wireless communications is antenna integration:

  • Antenna on/in Package for SiP module integration
  • Selective EMI Shielding for non-limited module level FCC certification
  • Selective EMI Shielding  – partial metal coating process by sputter for FCC EMI certification
  • Small Size Antenna Integration – Chip antenna, Printed circuit antenna (under development)

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Democratizing AI at the Endpoint, Brian Faith, CEO of QuickLogic:

QuickLogic was described as “a platform company that enables our customers to quickly and easily create intelligent ultra-low power endpoints to build a smarter, more connected world.”  The company was founded in 1989, IPO in 1999, and now has a worldwide presence.  Brian said they were focused on AI for growth markets including:

▪ Hearable/Wearable
▪ Consumer & Industrial IoT
▪ Smartphone/Tablet
▪ Consumer Electronics

AI and edge computing are coming together such that data analytics is moving from the cloud to the edge to the IoT endpoint (eventually).  However, there are trade-offs for where computing should be located which are based on the application type.  Some considerations include:

▪Applications latency & power consumption (battery life) requirements
▪Data security can be a factor
▪Local insights are trivial and non-actionable
▪Smart Sensors => rich data => actionable if real-time
▪Network sends insightful data (less bandwidth needed)
▪Cloud focuses on aggregate data insights and actions

AI Adoption Challenges:

1.   Resource-Constrained Hardware:

▪ Can’t just run TensorFlow
▪ Limited SRAM, MIPS, FPU / GPU
▪ Mobile or wireless battery/power requirements

2.  Resource-Constrained Development Teams:

▪ Embedded coding more complex & fragmented than cloud PaaS
▪ Scarcity of data scientists, DSP, FPGA and firmware engineers
▪ Limited bandwidth to explore new tools / methods

3.  Lack of AI Automated Tools:

• Typical process: MATLAB modeling followed by hand coded C/C++
• Available AI tools focus on algorithms, not end-to-end workflows
• Per product algorithm cost: $500k, 6-9 months; often far greater

For Machine Learning (ML) good training is vital as is the data:

• Addresses anticipated sources of variance
• Leverages application domain expertise
• Includes all potentially relevant metadata
• Seeks optimal size for the problem at hand

ML Algorithms should fit within Embedded Computing Constraints:

Endpoint Inference Models:

• Starts with model appropriate to the problem
• Fits within available computing resources with headroom
• Utilizes least expensive features that deliver desired accuracy

SensiML Toolkit:

• Provides numerous different ML and AI algorithms and automates the selection process
• Leverages target hardware capabilities and builds models within its memory and computing limits
• Traverses library of over 80 features to optimize selection to best features to fit the problem

A Predictive Maintenance for a Motor Use Case was cited as an example of AI/ML:

Challenges:

▪Unique model doesn’t scale across similar motors (due to concrete, rubber, loading)
▪ Endpoint AI decreases system bandwidth, latency, power

Monitoring States:

▪ Bearing / shaft faults
▪ Pump cavitation / flow inefficiency
▪ Rotating machinery faults
▪ Seismic / structural health monitoring
▪ Factory predictive maintenance

QuickLogic aims to democratize AI-enabled SoC Design using SiFi templates and a cloud based SoC platform with a goal of a custom SoC in 12 weeks!  In 2020 the company plans to have: an AI Software Platform,  SoC Architecture, and eFPGA IP Cores.  Very impressive indeed, if all that can be realized.

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Empowering the Edge Panel Session:

Mike Noonen of Mixed-Com chaired a panel discussion on Empowering the Edge.  Two key points made was the edge computing is MORE SECURE than cloud computing (smaller attack surface) and that as intelligence (AI/ML/data processing) moves to the edge, connections will be richer and richer.  However, no speaker or panelist or moderator defined where the edge actually is located? Is it on premises, the first network element in the access network, the mobile packet core (for a cellular connection), LPWAN or ISP point of presence?  Or any of the above?

Mike Noonen of Mixed-Com leads Panel Discussion

Photo courtesy of GSA Global

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After the conference, Mike emailed this to me:

“One of the many aspects of the GSA Silicon Summit that I appreciate is the topic/theme (such as edge computing). The speakers and panelists addressing the chosen theme offer a 360 degree perspective ranging from technical, commercial and even social aspects of a technology. I always learn something and gain new insights when this broad perspective is presented.”

I couldn’t agree more with Mike!

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V2X –Vehicle to Everything connectivity, Paul Sakamoto, COO of Savari:

V2X connectivity technology today is based on two competing standards: DSRC: Dedicated Short Range Communications (based on IEEE 802.11p WiFi) and C-V2X: Cellular Vehicle to Everything (based on LTE).  Software can run on either, but the V2X connectivity hardware is based on one of the above standards.

DSRC: Dedicated Short Range Communications: 

  • Legacy Tech – 20 years of work, Low Latency Performance Range and reliability
  • No carrier fees; minimize fixed cost
  • Infrastructure needs; how to pay?
  • EU Delegate Act win, but  5GAA is contesting

C-V2X: Cellular Vehicle to Everything:

  • Developed from LTE-Big Money Backing
  • Cellular communications history; good range and reliability
  • Carrier fees required;  subsidy for fixed costs
  • Mix in with base stations to amortize costs
  • China has chosen it as part of the government’s 5G plan

V2X Challenge: Navigate the Next 10 Years:

For mobile use, the main purpose is safety and awareness:
• Tight message security
• Low latency (<1ms)
• Needs client saturation
• Short range

For infrastructure, the main purpose is efficiency and planning:
• Tight message security
• Moderate latency (~100ms)
• Needed where needed
• Longer range

In closing, Paul said V2X is going to be a long raise with many twists and turns.  Savari’s strategy is to be ”radio agnostic,” use scalable computing and scalable security elements, have a 7-10 year business plan with a 2-3 year product development cycle, and be ready to pounce at any inflection point (which may mean parallel developments).

May 20, 2020 Update:

ITU-R WP 5D will produce a draft new Report ITU-R M.[IMT.C-V2X] on “Application of the Terrestrial Component of IMT for Cellular-V2X.”

3GPP intends to contribute to the draft new Report and plans to submit relevant material at WP 5D meeting #36.  3GPP looks forward to the continuous collaboration with ITU-R WP 5D for the finalization of Report ITU-R M.[IMT.C-V2X].

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IHS Markit: Cloud and Mobility Driving Enterprise Edge Connectivity in North America

IHS Markit Survey: Cloud and mobility driving new requirements for enterprise edge connectivity in North America
By Matthias Machowinski, senior research director, IHS Markit, and Joshua Bancroft, senior analyst, IHS Markit

Highlights

  • By 2019, 51 percent of network professionals surveyed by IHS Markit will use hybrid cloud and 37 percent will adopt multi-cloud for application delivery.
  • Bandwidth consumption continues to rise. Companies are expecting to increase provisioned wide-area network (WAN) bandwidth by more than 30 percent annually across all site types.
  • Data backup and storage is the leading reason for traffic growth, followed by cloud services
  • Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) is maturing: 66 percent of surveyed companies anticipate deploying it by the end of 2020.
  • Companies deploying SD-WAN use over 50 percent more bandwidth, than those who have not deployed it. Their bandwidth needs are also growing at twice the rate of companies using traditional WANs.

Analysis

Based on a survey of 292 network professionals at North American enterprises, IHS Markit explored the evolving requirements for enterprise edge connectivity, including WAN and SD-WAN. The study revealed that enterprise IT architectures and consumption models are currently undergoing a major transformation, from servers and applications placed at individual enterprise sites, to a hybrid-cloud model where centralized infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) complements highly utilized servers in enterprise-operated data centers. This process allows organizations to bring the benefits of cloud architectures to their own data centers – including simplified management, agility and scalability – and leverage the on-demand aspect of cloud services during peak periods. Respondents also reinforced the viewpoint that the hybrid cloud is a stepping stone to the emerging multi-cloud.

Changing business demographics is sparking the trend of more centralized applications: enterprises are moving closer to their customers, partners, and suppliers. They are adding more physical locations, making mobility a key part of their processes and taking on remote employees to leverage talent and expertise.

Following the current wave of application centralization, certain functions requiring low latency will migrate back to the enterprise edge, residing on universal customer premises equipment (uCPE) and other shared compute platforms. This development is still in its infancy, but it is already on the radar of some companies.

Hybrid cloud is an ideal architecture for distributed enterprises, but it is also contributing to traffic growth at the enterprise edge. Extra attention must be paid to edge connectivity, to ensure users don’t suffer from slow or intermittent access to applications. Performance is a top concern, and enterprises are not only adding more WAN capacity and redundancy, but also adopting SD-WAN.

The primary motivation for deploying SD-WAN is to improve application performance and simplify WAN management. The first wave of SD-WAN deployments focused on cost reduction, and this is still clearly the case, with survey respondents indicating their annual mega-bits-per-second cost is approximately 30 percent lower, with costs declining at a faster rate than in traditional WAN deployments. These results show that SD-WAN can be a crucial way to balance runaway traffic growth with budget constraints.

SD-WAN solutions not only solve the transportation and WAN cost reduction issue, but also help enterprises create a fabric for the multi-cloud. Features like analytics to understand end-user behaviour, enhanced branch security and having a centralized management portal all make SD-WAN an enticing proposition for enterprises looking to adopt a multi-cloud approach.

Enterprise Edge Connectivity Strategies North American Enterprise Survey 

This IHS Markit study takes explores how companies are advancing connectivity at the enterprise edge, in light of new requirements. It includes traditional WAN and SD-WAN growth expectations, growth drivers, plans for new types of connectivity and technologies, equipment used, feature requirements, preferred suppliers, , and spending plans.

SK Telecom partners with MobiledgeX for Edge Computing; Ericsson video call over SK Telecom 5G test network

  1.  SK Telecom, the largest mobile operator in South Korea, announces an agreement to partner with MobiledgeX to enable a new generation of connected devices, content and experiences, creating new business models and revenue opportunities leading into 5G (?).

    “In the 5G era, Mobile Edge Computing will be a key technology for next-generation industries including realistic media and autonomous driving,” said Jong-kwan Park, Senior Vice President and Head of Network Technology R&D Center of SK Telecom. “Based on this partnership, SK Telecom will continue to drive technology innovations to provide customers with differentiated 5G services.”

    The relationship between SK Telecom and MobiledgeX reflects an aligned vision for the future of mobile operators as key players in future mobile application development, performance, security, and reliability. This vision is shared by leading cloud providers and device makers working with MobiledgeX to seamlessly pair the power and distribution of mobile operator infrastructure with the convenience and depth of developer tooling of hyperscale public cloud and the scale, mobility and distribution of billions of end user devices.

    Deutsche Telekom created MobiledgeX as an independent company to drive strategic collaboration across the world’s leading telecoms, public cloud providers, device makers and the surrounding ecosystem – enabling a new era of business models, operating efficiencies and mobile experiences. We are particularly excited to announce SK Telecom‘s participation in this collaborative ecosystem where everybody wins. SK Telecom is a global leader in 5G which follows their rich tradition of innovation within their network, strategic partnerships and developer engagement. This new era is underway,” says Eric Braun, Chief Commercial Officer of MobiledgeX.

MobiledgeX and SK Telecom executives hold up their respective copies of a memorandum of understanding between the two companies to jointly develop mobile edge computing applications. (SK Telecom)

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MobiledgeX is focused on delivering developer-facing edge cloud services and bringing mobility to those services, dynamically placing application back-end as close to mobile devices as possible and removing them when not needed. MobiledgeX, Deutsche Telekom and Intelhave partnered with Telecom Infra Project (TIP) to form an Edge Application Developer project group (see here) to ensure the gained insights and supporting source code are available to all. This is a new opportunity for everyone presented as a consequence of $2 trillion of CAPEX investment in network infrastructure over the past 10 years and the virtualization of the network from the central offices to the towers.  MobiledgeX is building a marketplace of edge resources and services that will connect developers with the world’s largest mobile networks to power the next generation of applications and devices. MobiledgeX is an independent edge computing company founded by Deutsche Telekom and headquartered in Menlo Park, California.

References:

https://mobiledgex.com/press-releases/2018/12/12/sk-telecom-partners-with-mobiledgex

https://www.fiercetelecom.com/telecom/sk-telecom-and-mobiledgex-join-hands-mobile-edge-computing

Separately, SK Telecom said it will comply with the IoT Security Guidelines proposed by GSMA for the safe usage and expansion of IoT networks.

 

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  1.   Ericsson video call over SK Telecom’s 5G test network:

Ericsson and SK Telecom have conducted a video call over the operator’s live 5G test network, the latest milestone in a long-running partnership.

On this occasion, the companies used 100 MHz of 3.5-GHz spectrum, marking the first time that so much spectrum in this band has been used in a field test. SK Telecom used Ericsson’s commercial radio equipment, based on the 5G New Radio (NR) standard. Ericsson also supplied a test device equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon x50 5G modem. As well as a video call, SK Telecom also demonstrated streaming via a 5G data session.

As has been well documented, South Korea is pushing hard to be a frontrunner on 5G, which might explain Ericsson’s keen involvement with SK Telecom’s research and trials. The two companies have been at the forefront of testing out network slicing, where an access network is subdivided into virtual partitions, with the parameters of each one tailored to meet the requirements of specific services, from low-bandwidth massive IoT connectivity, to low-latency, high-throughput A/VR services. Ericsson and SK Telecom have also trialled multi-vehicular 5G trials in partnership with BMW.

Another explanation for Ericsson’s close involvement with SK Telecom might have something to do with Samsung. The Korean vendor missed the boat on 4G when it backed WiMAX instead of LTE, but it is making a concerted effort to not be left out of 5G. Last year, it unveiled its end-to-end 5G portfolio, and it has struck important partnerships and supply deals, including with SK Telecom, Telefonica, and Verizon.

With South Korea expected to be among the first movers when it comes to 5G commercialisation, Ericsson will want to make sure SK Telecom’s network is adorned with as much of its equipment as possible.

Alex Jinsung Choi, CTO and Head of Corporate R&D Center, SK Telecom, said:

“5G will offer much more than just faster data speeds. It will serve as a true enabler for a whole new variety of powerful services that deliver unprecedented value to customers. Today’s demonstration of 5G-based connected car technologies marks the very first step towards achieving fully autonomous driving in the upcoming era of 5G.”

The test environment was realized by using an Ericsson 5G field trial network. It consists of multiple radio transmission points on 28GHz frequency band to cover the entire track and one user equipment installed in every car. The trials showed consistent Gbps-level throughput with a few millisecond latency. Uninterrupted connectivity, using beam tracking and beam transfer across the different transmission points at speeds exceeding 100 kilometers per hour is also achieved. The performance shown enables multiple connected car use cases such as augmented and virtual reality, obstacle control and vehicle to vehicle communication, based on a system solution including radio and core network infrastructure from Ericsson.

Thomas Norén, Head of Product Area Network Products, Ericsson, said:

“Ericsson is working with leading operators and ecosystem players to drive the realization of 5G – both with today’s pre-standard field trials, and through standardization activities along with global standards bodies and industry groups. The trial takes a step closer to 5G technology and commercialization, especially for connected vehicle applications.”

The trial simultaneously implements new key 5G capabilities with multi-site, multi-transmission point, MU-MIMO, and with multiple devices operating in the millimeter wave frequency band. It demonstrates beam tracking and beam mobility between different 5G access points, at high mobility.

https://www.ericsson.com/en/news/2018/12/sk-telecom-qualcomm-and-ericsson-collaborate-on-5g

https://www.mobileworldlive.com/asia/asia-news/skt-makes-5g-video-call-on-3-5ghz-band/

IHS Markit: Video to Drive Demand for Edge Computing Services

Edge computing will get its primary propulsion from demand for video services, IHS Markit found in a survey. The Linux Foundation commissioned IHS Markit to identify the top apps and revenue opportunities for edge compute services.  Video content delivery was cited by 92% of respondents as the top driver of edge computing, while augmented/virtual reality, autonomous vehicles and the industrial internet of things (IIoT) all tied for second place.

During a keynote address at this week’s Layer123 SDN NFV World Congress at The Hague, IHS Markit’s Michael Howard, executive director research and analysis, carrier networks (and a long time colleague of this author), presented some of the results from the market research firm’s survey of edge compute application survey respondents.

“The edge ‘is in’ these days in conversations, conferences and considerations—and there are many definitions,” Howard wrote in an email to FierceTelecom. “Our conclusion is that there are many edges, but as an industry, I believe we can coalesce around a time-related distance to the end user, device or machine, which indicates a short latency, on which many edge applications rely.  The other major driver for edge compute is big bandwidth, principally video, where caching and content delivery networks save enormous amounts of video traffic on access, metro, and core networks.”

IHS Markit defined edge compute as being within 20 milliseconds of the end user, device or machine. When compared to Internet Exchanges, telcos have an advantage at the edge because they are much closer to the users via their central offices, cell sites, cell backhaul aggregation, fixed backhaul and street cabinets.

Integrated communications providers and over-the-top providers have partial coverage for edge compute with distributed data centers that are within the 20 milliseconds to 50 milliseconds range, while telcos can hit 5 milliseconds to 20 milliseconds.

Among the top services that are driving edge compute, video content delivery, which included 360 video and venues, was first at 92% followed by a three-way tie among autonomous vehicles, augmented reality/virtual reality and industrial internet of things/automated factory all at 83%. Gaming was next at 75%, with distributed virtualized mobile core and fixed access in another tie with private LTE at 58%.

Other findings from the survey:

  • Surveillance and supply chain management each garnered 33%, while smart cities was last at 25%.
  • When it comes to which edge services will garner the most revenue, distributed virtualized mobile core and fixed access, private LTE, gaming, video content delivery and industrial IoT all tied at the top of the survey results.
  • Supply chain management, autonomous vehicles and AR/VR tied in the next grouping while surveillance and smart cities tied for last.
  • Consumer-driven revenue at the edge includes gaming and video content delivery networks while enterprise-driven revenues will include private LTE, industrial IoT and supply chain.
  • Overall, many of the edge deployments will initially be justified by cost savings first followed by revenue-bearing applications.
  • Edge compute apps will start out in limited or contained rollouts with full deployment taking years and investments across several areas, according to the survey.

Although edge compute brings services closer to end users and alleviates bandwidth constraints, it’s complex. Even a single edge compute location is complex with elements of network functions virtualization, mobile edge computing and fixed mobile convergence technologies that can spread across hundreds of thousands locations.

There are also authorization, billing and reconciliation issues that need to be addressed across various domains, which could be resolved using blockchain to create virtual ledgers.

Further, there’s a long investment road ahead to fully deploy edge compute. Areas that comprise the top tier of investments for edge compute include multi-access edge compute, integration, edge connectivity (two-way data flows, SD-WAN services, low latency and bandwidth), 5G spectrum and engineering.

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Earlier this year, AT&T Foundry launched an edge computing test zone in Palo Alto, California, to kick the tires on AR, VR and cloud-driven gaming.  As part of the second phase, AT&T Foundry is expanding its edge test zone footprint to cover all of the San Francisco Bay Area, allowing for increased application mobility and broader collaboration potential.

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