Verizon, AWS take mobile edge to 30% more US metro area locations

Communications and cloud giants extend reach of mobile edge computing footprint in the US and announce deployment for drone and energy management applications

Verizon and AWS have announced added momentum in their collaboration to help developers and businesses create what they call transformational applications for use cases, offering mobile edge computing (MEC) in more US metro areas, namely Charlotte, Detroit, Los Angeles and Minneapolis.

Building on a relationship first announced in 2019 and initiated in 2020, Verizon and AWS edge computing collaboration combines the Verizon 5G Edge network with AWS Wavelength to extend AWS compute and storage services to the edge of Verizon’s public mobile network and provide access to cloud services running in an AWS region.

The intention is to minimise the latency and network hops required to connect from a 5G device to an application hosted on AWS. The partnership has also seen the creation of technology that integrates Verizon’s private 5G networks and private 5G Edge platform with the AWS Outposts managed service that is said to offer the same AWS infrastructure, services, application programming interfaces (APIs) and tools to virtually any datacentre, colocation space or on-premise facility for a consistent hybrid experience.

MEC running on private networks can create a secure, dedicated computing platform in specific areas such as factories, warehouses and large business campuses. The platform supports unified connectivity, compute and storage without the need for the customer to own extensive networking and IT infrastructure.

It is engineered to support a wide range of industrial manufacturing applications, such as autonomous mobile robots, predictive maintenance, quality assurance, near-real-time monitoring and hazard alerts, facility security, smart cars, smart cities, healthcare, and live interactive video streaming.

In August 2020, the companies announced the general availability of 5G mobile edge computing via Wavelength Zones in 10 locations across the US. That number has now been increased to 17.

Verizon has also announced new users of 5G Edge with AWS Wavelength in the industries of drone and energy management. Verizon Ventures company Fermata Energy and Easy Aerial are among the innovators who participated in the 5G Studio, a collaboration between Verizon and Newlab, a shared-workspace research lab and “hatchery” for socially oriented tech manufacturing.

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Easy Aerial is a provider of American-made, military-grade, autonomous drone-in-a-box-based monitoring and inspection services for commercial, government and military applications. With the low end-to-end latency enabled by Verizon 5G Edge with AWS Wavelength, Easy Aerial was able to collect and transfer live drone video for near real-time object detection and telemetry data for rapid processing and analysis. 5G and mobile edge computing also allowed expensive compute to be removed from the drone, reportedly saving about 10% in drone costs and increasing flight time by approximately 40%.

Fermata Energy’s vehicle-to-everything technology is designed to turn electric vehicles into mini power plants by discharging energy services from electric vehicles’ (EVs’) batteries to the home, building or energy grid.

Using a bidirectional charger connected both to an EV and a building’s energy load, Fermata Energy’s cloud-based software, running on Verizon 5G Edge with AWS Wavelength, reacted to changes in the grid and, as a result, load-balance data in near real-time with very low latency, according to Fermata Energy. This allows Fermata Energy to dispatch an EV as a valuable energy resource providing near-real-time response to the state of the grid. 

Verizon and AWS also announced that they were working with software-as-a-service providers Couchbase and Confluent to make it easier for developers who use their platforms to create applications running on Verizon 5G Edge with AWS Wavelength. Using infrastructure templates, Verizon and AWS seamlessly extended the capabilities of these providers to the edge to automate the complexity of edge networking, core compute and the software itself.

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