HPE aims to hit right note for 5G with edge orchestrator

Tech firm says new release gives power back to telcos to offer value-added edge computing services such as AI-powered video analytics, industrial automation and VR retail services

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has launched Edge Orchestrator with the aim of helping operators drive what it says is the real 5G opportunity – within business and not consumer use cases, enabling them to monetise 5G networks and edge infrastructure by delivering new low-latency cloud services at the edge.

Available via an app catalogue, the software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based HPE Edge Orchestrator is designed to enable telcos to deploy new edge computing services to customers via IT infrastructure at the edge of telco networks or on customer premises. Using the Edge Orchestrator, telcos can extend their offerings to include a catalogue of edge computing applications from a 5G network and cloud, bringing lower latency, increased security and enhanced end-user experiences to their customers, says HPE.

It claims that the Edge Orchestrator gives the power back to telcos to offer value-added edge services in their own right, and so they can move from being primarily bandwidth providers to offering innovative edge computing applications, such as artificial intelligence (AI)-powered video analytics, industrial automation and virtual reality retail services.

HPE suggests that by being able to drive new revenue streams at the edge of networks, these services could also help to cover the significant cost of deploying new 5G infrastructure.

The Edge Orchestrator complements and follows the launch of HPE’s open 5G portfolio and introduction of the cloud-native HPE 5G Core Stack, and allows the deployment and configuration of customer applications, provided as virtual machines or containers, at geographically distributed edge locations owned by telcos, such as existing central offices or on customer premises.

Customers can access edge applications via a self-service app catalogue for simple management, monitoring and the deployment of an app to an edge device with a one-click operation, says HPE.

The Edge Orchestrator supports multi-access edge computing (MEC), with other network-as-a-service functions being added to the catalogue over time. The MEC platform enables applications to run at the edge, while delivering network services that ensure a dynamic routing of edge traffic in 4G, 5G and Wi-Fi environments, says the company.

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Providing some context, HPE said analysts expect the next decade to see the rise of edge computing where data-intensive workloads such as AI, machine learning, augmented and virtual reality apps will be hosted at the edge. It said telcos already have thousands of edge sites powering mobile and fixed networks, so they are uniquely positioned to lead the edge services market.

The tech firm cited a March IDC study that showed 40% of enterprises trust their telco to be their main provider of edge systems. But until now, telcos have not had the tools to do this themselves without relying on public cloud providers.

“Today, telcos have significant enterprise business, but they are often seen as little more than bandwidth providers, competing mostly on price,” said Phil Mottram, vice-president and general manager of HPE’s communications and media solutions business unit. “HPE Edge Orchestrator empowers telcos to move up the value chain and become trusted edge services providers, offering differentiated, high-value enterprise services as well as new edge applications for their mobile subscribers.

“Also, telcos will be positioned to compete more effectively with cloud and over-the-top competitors.”

Martina Kurth, associate vice-president for IDC’s European telco research, added: “Telcos are uniquely positioned to facilitate digital change by connecting people, enterprises and society, enabling new classes of services. Telcos need to change the way they operate and become part of the value creation with 5G and edge computing.

“New technologies like HPE Edge Orchestrator will help telcos to tap into new digital business models and play an important role in evolving enterprise ecosystems.”

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