Vodafone expands 5G edge computing partnership with AWS

(Image credit: Shutterstock / carlos castilla)

Vodafone and Amazon Web Services (AWS) are expanding their 5G edge computing partnership with the creation of an incubation programme to develop new use cases that rely on ultra-low latency.

5G networks promise faster speeds and greater capacity that will allow for more reliable mobile connections. However, it is the promise of lower latency that will enable the most revolutionary use cases such as smart city applications, telemedicine and mixed reality.

But in order to deliver this lower latency, operators are decentralising their infrastructure and virtualising network functions so they can be moved closer to the customer. Edge computing allows data to processed nearer to the point of collection, which lowers the time of transmission significantly.

Vodafone 5G edge

Edge capabilities can even be installed at mobile sites, allowing data processing to take place at the first point of network contact. An additional benefit is the ability to filter out traffic so operators can use their bandwidth more efficiently and reduce transmission costs.

Since an initial partnership was announced last year, Vodafone has rolled out multi-access edge computing (MEC) at the edge of its 5G networks, embedding AWS Wavelength compute and storage. Several pilot programmes have been deployed, including real time video streaming for emergency services, security applications and mapping.

Now the two firms want to expand these capabilities to more developers. The Vodafone Business Edge Innovation Program (EIP) is inviting businesses, startups and freelance developers to pitch their ideas and receive access to edge computing training and expert support to make their applications a reality.

Vodafone and AWS will choose up to 20 projects that will also receive devices, access to Vodafone’s 5G network in the UK or Germany, and AWS credits to cover the cost of the necessary cloud computing capabilities.

“Working with AWS on edge computing means we are making it simpler for both independent software vendors and our customers to experiment with this emerging technology,” declared Vinod Kumar, CEO Vodafone Business.

“We’re doing this by offering an incubation space to create and test applications that we can then industrialize and scale. And we’re already seeing some innovative applications that provide positive business outcomes from Dedrone, Digital Barriers, HERE Technologies, Groopview, and Unleash live, with so much more to come once our MEC innovation program is running.”  

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.