TM Forum teams with Bridge Alliance to simplify adoption of edge computing

Communications industry trade associations enter into collaboration to drive the advancement of industry standards on Open APIs for multi-access edge computing

Aiming to enable telecoms providers to accelerate digital transformation efforts and cash in on new business opportunities with emerging technologies, Bridge Alliance, the mobile alliance covering 34 markets, has entered into a strategic partnership with fellow mobile trade body the TM Forum to simplify the adoption of multi-access edge computing (MEC).

Bridge Alliance claims to be the leading mobile alliance for premier operators and their customers in the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, covering 34 members who serve close to 900 million customers collectively across these regions.

Its stated goal is to build group capabilities and enable roaming services and experience, offering multi-market enterprise and internet of things (IoT) solutions, and delivering savings and benefits through leveraging group economies.

The association is also driving proof-of-concept and live deployments of MEC services through its federated edge hub that connects MEC platforms across its member operators, allowing them to onboard their respective edge platforms and deliver on-demand edge computing services regionally to support their customers.

For its part, TM Forum is an association of more than 850 member companies, which includes the world’s top 10 network and communications providers, and stretches across 180 countries. It explores the integration, interoperability and service management challenges associated with MEC through its Open APIs and Catalyst rapid proof-of-concept programmes. 

The partnership will aim to advance MEC as a growth engine for the telecoms industry, taking advantage of its inherent ability to support ultra-low latency applications by processing data closer to the user instead of sending it to the cloud, enabling new business models and the growth of use cases such as cloud gaming, drones, robots, autonomous vehicles and augmented and virtual reality applications.

Through the partnership, Bridge Alliance said that its member telecom operators will be able to use TM Forum’s Open APIs to deliver open, transparent and accessible MECs at scale.

This should pave the way for interoperability and standardisation of MEC globally, meaning that operators could advance their MEC development and boost capabilities in areas such as location-based services and optimise content storage and distribution closer to their customers for faster response times. It will also allow them to be better positioned to develop mutually beneficial partnerships with hyperscalers for new business opportunities.

“MEC is an area of growth which many telecom operators are focusing on as our industry moves towards edge computing,” said Bridge Alliance CEO Ong Geok Chwee. “Given the current fragmented regional telecom market, there is a need to work towards integration and interoperability as a common goal.

“We are delighted to work with TM Forum towards standardisation and an industry-approved architecture in MEC to drive the growth and deployment of MEC use cases. By sharing knowledge and resources, we will help our ecosystem of operators and service providers evolve with the developing edge computing market and compete globally.”

TM Forum CEO Nik Willetts added: “Alongside AI [artificial intelligence] and 5G, MEC is one of a ‘perfect storm’ of digital infrastructure technologies that will unlock the potential of Industry 4.0 and exciting new B2B2x services.

“For the telecoms industry to seize these opportunities for growth, we need open standards that make it easy to partner, federate, operate and assure MEC solutions end-to-end. By working with Bridge Alliance, we have a unique opportunity to rapidly co-create, test and prove effective standards fit for the real world.”

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