Verizon MEC with Microsoft Azure is Open for Business

Verizon is now offering businesses on-premises, mobile edge computing (MEC) for real-time enterprise applications through a relationship with Microsoft. The solution combines Verizon 5G Edge with Microsoft Azure Stack Edge, which brings compute and storage services to the edge of the network. The resulting efficiencies, high levels of security, low latencies and high bandwidth combine for applications such as computer vision, augmented- and virtual- reality, and machine learning, Verizon said. 

Verizon announced it was working with Microsoft Azure to bring Edge services onto its 5G network in October 2020, Inside Towers reported.

Logistics and supply chain solutions company Ice Mobility has been beta testing Verizon’s on-site 5G Edge platform, integrated with Microsoft Azure, since last year. MEC is allowing Ice to perform computer vision-assisted product packing. By gathering data in near real-time on product packing errors, the company has the potential to improve on-site quality assurance and save 15 percent to 30 percent in processing time. The company is now exploring using computer vision and automation to achieve near real-time activity-based costing, which would allow it to assign overhead and indirect costs to specific customer accounts.

“5G is ushering in next-generation business applications, from core connectivity to real-time edge compute and new applications and solutions that take advantage of AI transforming nearly every industry,” said Sampath Sowmyanarayan, Chief Revenue Officer of Verizon Business. 

The global market for mobile edge computing was estimated at $427.3 million in the year 2020, and it is projected to reach $2.2 Billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 30.8 percent, according to a market study published by Global Industry Analysts (GIA) Inc., titled “Mobile Edge Computing – Global Market Trajectory & Analytics.”

“The market is presently witnessing steady growth fuelled by aggressive investment of market players in developing cutting-edge technologies and providing more effective solutions to consumers,” GIA wrote. “Factors, including growing load on global cloud infrastructure and increase in intelligent application numbers, are also fuelling market growth for mobile edge computing.”

The GIA report also cited a growing need for enhancing quality of experience (QoE) for end users and increasing ultra-low latency applications as elements driving demand for MEC solutions.

“MEC aids real time applications in the processes of data analysis and processing,” GIA wrote. “5G network and emergence of several new languages and frameworks for IoT solutions would also offer major market growth opportunities over the coming years.” In the future, location-based services will provide the most growth for MEC, because of efficiencies, reduced costs and enhanced QoE.

The growth of MEC does have limiting factors, GIA wrote, including the cost and maintenance of on-site hardware, constant software updating and the ever-present danger of hackers planting malware for ransomware attacks. 

“There is a dearth of skilled labor needed for deploying the [MEC] technology, which is highly complex,” GIA wrote. “Lack of deployment capability and required infrastructure could also restrain growth in the market.”

By J. Sharpe Smith, Inside Towers Technology Editor

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