There are many potential advantages if enterprise and consumer solution providers push aspects of their services to edge clouds closer to their customer endpoints. This move can lead to improved latency, resiliency, security, privacy, data thinning, transport efficiency as well as being able to take advantage of bespoke 5G performance and features like network slicing. A barrier innovative Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) face in unlocking these benefits can be the different approaches taken by operators who are hosting clouds at the edge of their 5G access networks and on-network customer premises.
To overcome this, the GSMA Telco Edge Cloud (TEC) group is working with over 20 leading Operators, from all over the globe, who are collaborating to promote the deployment of cloud capabilities at the edge of their networks. TEC is aiming to align Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) business models, charging principles and commercial deployment considerations so that customers can access the service through a single, standard interface. TEC is working in partnership with the GSMA Operator Platform Group (OPG), which is creating the architecture and technical requirements to guide other Standard Developing Organisations (SDOs) in the development of specifications and reference implementations, which enable compatible, interoperable, and inter-connectable MEC solutions.
As the edge cloud topic is relatively nascent, many potential stakeholders are in a discovery phase. Most operators are exploring initial deployments and customer trials to better understand the requirements and business benefits. In December 2020, 13 operators (China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Dish, Orange, KDDI, MEO Portugal, NTT Docomo, Singtel, SKT, Telefonica, Telus, TIM, and T-Mobile US) came together to host a workshop which attracted more than 20 presentations by companies who would like to trial their use cases at the Telco Edge.
The workshop enjoyed presentations from organisations ranging from established companies with high impact to start-ups with innovative proposals, addressing more niche needs. Presentations covered a wide range of use cases; from AR/VR and volumetric video with presentations by DoubleME. Evercoast, Madefire, Spatial, XR Space Manova, to applications of AR in manufacturing with use cases provided by MondoDX, Taqtile, UbiMax and Vuzix. We also heard industrial use cases from ABB, Foghorn and SAP (with partner Digital Route) and applications in events and hospitality proposed by Lingmo, RAIN, Summit Tech and YBVR. Clear and Lenovo proposed edge solutions with wide application. Gaming will of course benefit from the Telco Edge proposition and EdgeGap brought their solution to support this, as would the automotive industry with Accedian and their partners’, Sfara and Solace, application. The use of autonomous robotics in various use cases, facilitated by the edge, was promoted by Unmanned Life and application for bodycams was proposed by Visual Labs.
The potential for the participants is an opportunity to collaborate with mobile operators in pre-commercial trials which could lead to market launches, showcasing the benefits of edge and the extensive possibilities and coverage of the Telco Edge Cloud.
If you are interested in joining a future TEC Trials session, either as an interested developer or as a GSMA member, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.