- Wavelength on the Vodafone 4G and 5G networks delivers ultra-low latency capabilities to UK business customers and software developers serving the UK market
- Customer trials continue in Germany, with general availability scheduled for later in 2021
- Unique combination of Multi-access Edge Compute (MEC) and Vodafone’s 5G network set to enable creation of novel services and use cases that would not be possible otherwise
Vodafone has partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to launch Multi-access Edge Compute (MEC) services delivered with AWS Wavelength for Vodafone business customers in the UK.
The launch follows Vodafone trials with companies in a range of areas, including sports technology, autonomous transport, biometric security, remote virtual reality, and factory automation. Vodafone is the only telecoms operator able to offer business customers the combination of 5G and MEC services in the UK.
The process of deploying MEC infrastructure can also be known as moving services ‘closer to the edge of the network’. AWS Wavelength brings AWS compute and storage services to the edge of Vodafone’s network, enabling applications that require increased speeds, massive bandwidth, and ultra-low latency, such as industrial automation, video analytics and machine learning inference (artificial intelligence) at the edge, and interactive live video streaming.
Hosting applications closer to the end-user means that data does not have to cross the internet to be processed in locations around the world. This approach means that lag, known as latency, can be almost eradicated as data is both captured and processed closer to the device, offering much faster response times and a much-improved experience.
There are additional advantages beyond the speed and latency capabilities of MEC, including:
- Security: Distributed deployments could minimize the impact of single cybersecurity incidents
- Cost: Processing data closer to where it is generated means enables better use of bandwidth
- Scale: Additional resources can be deployed on-demand as and where needed to increase capacity
In partnership with AWS, Vodafone can initially offer low-latency MEC services to customers in London and the surrounding area, as well as towns and cities including Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol and Cardiff. In the MEC coverage zones, in optimum conditions, latency could be as low as 10 milliseconds Round Trip Time (RTT) between the base station and MEC infrastructure. In 2022, Vodafone will deploy AWS Wavelength to serve customers in Scotland and the northern regions of England, with additional locations being added.
Anne Sheehan, Business Director, Vodafone UK, said: “We are taking our business beyond the traditional boundaries of telecoms connectivity services so that we can bring customers amazing new services. Edge Compute and 5G is a combination no other service provider can deliver in Europe, which means we can offer something unique to our customers. We’ve already seen new services being developed by our trialists – the potential for completely new ideas enabled by this combination is massive.”
George Elissaios, General Manager of AWS Wavelength and Director of Product Management, AWS, said: “By combining AWS Wavelength and Vodafone 5G, businesses and applications developers can now leverage the full breadth of AWS cloud services right at the edge of 5G networks. This enables Wavelength customers to explore new business opportunities, build applications and services that were not possible before, and transform user experiences in the UK.”
What is critically important about MEC is the ability to build and commercialise services that would not have been impossible before. New services and applications are likely to be defined by a blend of highly responsive MEC infrastructure and the high-bandwidth, high-capacity features of 5G connectivity, for example:
- Healthcare:. The introduction of MEC capabilities in the healthcare industry is a step towards more proactive and autonomous care by analysing data at the point of collection in an environment where seconds count
- Smart manufacturing/Industry 4.0: Low latency capabilities help to enable immediate responses and real-time insights. The ability for equipment to make decisions based on real-time information without human intervention or delay could be a significant advantage for an organisation
- Transportation/logistics: The optimisation of traffic routes for more effective city traffic management or logistics companies, could have significant impact on quality of life in city centres and the environment. A more intuitive and digitised transport system also sets the scene for the management of autonomous vehicles in the future
Since the partnership with AWS was announced in November 2020, Vodafone and AWS have been working with several customers through its Edge Innovation Programme to demonstrate MEC capabilities. More than 180 companies signed up to the programme, including:
- Sportable: Sports technology company Sportable provides insight using proprietary technology worn by players and embedded in balls. The distributed MEC pilot proved to be more affordable than LAN and lower latency and faster than the internet to transfer packets of data, providing real-time insight for fans, coaches and broadcasters. Latency was lowered to 36.55 milliseconds on average compared to 221.87 milliseconds for the internet
- Aurrigo: Aurrigo has piloted an autonomous shuttle bus which runs between the park and ride to the campus at Cambridge University, with MEC and 5G capabilities greatly improving safety and performance, opening the door for more smart city use cases involving autonomous vehicles, as well as the “mobility as a service” model
- Keyless: Keyless is a biometric “passwordless” security solution that makes this authentication process faster, more secure and more reliable. Distributed MEC, using Vodafone’s 5G network, handles this compute-heavy authentication process near instantly, improving the experience for consumers without compromising on security or privacy and supporting retail customers to reduce abandoned payments
- Xpllore: an interactive remote-virtual reality experience where the low-latency benefits of MEC created a smoother experience for students and teachers
- Interdigital: Using Vodafone’s 5G network and AWS Wavelength, Interdigital experienced an average upstream bandwidth above 50 Mbps and an average end-to-end latency less than 15 milliseconds. Focusing on two Industry 4.0 use cases, the detection and disposal of defects on a production line and the remote navigation of a vehicle on the factory floor, Interdigital were able to dramatically improve performance thanks to high bandwidth and low latency improvements.
AWS Announces General Availability of AWS Wavelength in the United Kingdom
First AWS Wavelength Zone in London lets enterprises and software developers build applications that require low-latency connectivity to mobile devices and end users on Vodafone’s network
Aurrigo, Immersal, InterDigital, Keyless, Net4, and Sportable among first customers to build ultra-low latency applications using AWS Wavelength
SEATTLE/LONDON – June 16, 2021 – Today, Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com company (NASDAQ: AMZN), announced the general availability of AWS Wavelength on the Vodafone 4G/5G network, allowing software developers and enterprises to build ultra-low latency applications for mobile devices and users in the United Kingdom. Customers can now deploy parts of their application that require ultra-low latency at the edge of 5G networks using the same AWS APIs, tools, and functionality they use today, while seamlessly connecting back to the rest of their application and the full range of cloud services running in the AWS Region. By embedding AWS compute and storage services at the edge of 5G networks, AWS Wavelength enables software developers to serve edge computing use cases like machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and video and game streaming. To get started with AWS Wavelength, visit: https://aws.amazon.com/wavelength.
AWS Wavelength brings AWS services to the edge of carrier networks in regions around the world with availability in Daejeon, South Korea, Tokyo, 10 cities across the United States, and now London. Additionally, customer trials are underway in Dusseldorf, Germany on the Vodafone 4G/5G network with general availability scheduled for later in 2021.
With AWS Wavelength, developers can deploy their applications to AWS Wavelength Zones (AWS infrastructure deployments that embed AWS compute and storage services within the telecommunication providers’ datacenters at the edge of the network) so application traffic only needs to travel from the device to a cell tower to an AWS Wavelength Zone. This removes the latency that results from accessing the cloud using traditional mobile architectures that require multiple hops between regional aggregation sites and across the Internet, and enables customers to take full advantage of 5G networks. AWS Wavelength also delivers a consistent developer experience across multiple 5G networks around the world, and allows developers to build the next generation of ultra-low latency applications using the familiar AWS services, APIs, and tools they already use today. By providing a common developer experience, AWS Wavelength makes it easy for developers to deploy across different telecommunications providers even if these providers have different deployment and operations semantics.
Vodafone, a leading telecommunications company in Europe and Africa, is the first European telecommunications operator to offer a low-latency edge compute solution for business customers in the UK and independent software developers who serve the UK market. Vodafone uses AWS Wavelength to bring AWS infrastructure and services closer to customers across the UK. Vodafone is collaborating with AWS to move data processing to the network edge to minimize latency for use cases that require high speed, ultra-low latency, and maximum bandwidth, such as industrial automation, video analytics and machine learning inference at the edge, and interactive live video streaming.
Developers who want to deploy their application to the 5G network edge can simply extend their Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) to include the desired AWS Wavelength Zones, and then they can start running a broad range of AWS services, including Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS), Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS), and Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS). In addition, developers can continue to use familiar and powerful AWS services to manage, secure, and scale their applications, like AWS CloudFormation, AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), and AWS Auto Scaling, making it easy to run a wide variety of latency-sensitive workloads like analytics, IoT, machine learning, game streaming, and augmented and virtual reality on 5G networks.
“AWS is excited to collaborate with Vodafone to give developers full, direct access to AWS cloud services in any region on the Vodafone 4G/5G network and to accelerate innovation across the UK. Applications traffic coming from devices transits straight from the Vodafone network to AWS cloud services instead of having to go over the internet, enabling developers to power new kinds of mobile applications requiring ultra-low latencies, massive bandwidth, and high speeds. AWS Wavelength is fully launched, available, and public, so it’s accessible to anyone who is an AWS customer,” said George Elissaios, general manager of AWS Wavelength and director of product management, AWS.
“Working closely with AWS, the commercial availability of Multi-access Edge Compute (MEC) servicesfor Vodafone business customers and independent software developers serving the UK market provides access to new cloud services,” said Vatsa Kalyanasundaram, cloud and security director, Vodafone Business. “We’re now offering businesses the ability to get real time insight for faster decision making to deliver next-generation, immersive experiences that were not possible before.”
Aurrigo is an autonomous vehicle technology company, specializing in first- and last-mile transportation, by engineering and deploying a range of self-driving vehicles that offer on-demand mobility in urban areas, shopping malls, airports, and university campuses. Aurrigo is an innovation leader in connected and autonomous vehicles by using AWS Wavelength on Vodafone’s 5G edge to support a new shuttle service in Cambridge, UK. This service transfers park and ride customers to and from the the Cambridge University Science Park. “AWS Wavelength and Vodafone 5G and MEC technologies provide our vehicles with ultra-lowlatency and expansive bandwidth, which lets us to monitor our autonomous vehicles in real time, via safe and secure communications. The assured high-bandwidth connectivity between multiple vehicles, the central control room, and our servers, supports critical uses such as remote supervision and first-person video feeds. AWS Wavelength’s high-connectivity availability enables the excellent quality of service critical to our future plans,” said Simon Brewerton, chief technology officer, Aurrigo.
Immersal enables customers use AR to build massive environments, such as city and retail spaces, airports, movie theatre chains, exhibition centers, art galleries, and public areas, and to transform how people work, play, shop, and interact with the world around them. Immersal uses AWS Wavelength to power its AR Cloud SDK so that users can merge digital and physical realities with spatial mapping and immersive digital content to support use cases like indoor navigation, city mapping, gaming and ads, and industrial maintenance. “Producing large-space AR applications for something that’s commercially viable and works with real customer requires ultra-low latencies, massive bandwidth, and high-speed network connectivity with 5G-enabled devices. AWS Wavelength and Vodafone enable Immersal to support accelerated development of applications that use data-enriched visual imagery and information such as location mapping and overlaying real-time updates for consumers,” said Anttoni Vesterinen, CEO, Immersal.
InterDigital develops mobile and video technologies at the core of devices, networks, and services worldwide. Solving many of the industry’s most critical and complex technical challenges, InterDigital invents solutions for more efficient broadband networks, better video delivery, and richer multimedia experiences years ahead of market deployment. InterDigital uses AWS Wavelength for smart factory use cases such as zero-defect manufacturing and augmented robotic telepresence, which require instantaneous analytics and decision making at the network edge to support near-real-time remote control of physical devices within a factory. “By integrating AWS Wavelength into the Vodafone 4G/5G network, our team at InterDigital was able to deliver the environment that enables our use cases. The success of emerging smart factory use cases depends on the edge being integrated within the 5G network, and partners to bring these technologies together,” said Alain Mourad, director of engineering R&D, InterDigital.
Keyless is a deep-tech cybersecurity firm pioneering privacy-first passwordless authentication and personal identity management solutions. Keyless combines multi-modal biometrics with privacy-enhancing technologies on a SaaS platform, utilizing machine learning and a distributed cloud network. Its proprietary technology eliminates the need for businesses to centrally store and manage passwords, biometric data, and other personally identifiable information. “By leveraging Vodafone 5G and AWS Wavelength when performing distributed biometrics, it we are able to greatly improve speed and authentication latency time, which in turn provides an optimum user experience without compromising on user privacy and security. We’re excited to see how this technology can help customers across areas from education to mobile payments,” said Gal Steimberg, VP of product, Keyless.
Net4 provide IoT solutions, such as its ProFusion platform, for rapid on-boarding and integration of sensors so that customers and partners can remove complexity and the time required to take new IoT capabilities to market. Net4 uses AWS Wavelength and 5G for video analytics at the edge of the network, ensuring reliable connectivity powered by Inseego’s 5G Fixed Wireless Access solution. Net4’s video analytics platform enables a wide and evolving range of use cases that can be deployed quickly and at scale. “We are using AWS Wavelength with Vodafone 5G and MEC to support the use of analytics on existing cameras and the deployment of new cameras. Machine learning is deployed into the 5G network to analyze video streams in real time from the camera, providing a wide and growing range of use cases including personal protective equipment (PPE) usage, stock management, spill detection, age verification, office occupancy and health and safety. Extremely high network quality of service enabled by AWS Wavelength’s ultra-low latency and the high-speed Vodafone 5G network will come to the fore as video resolutions increase and more locations are added. This enables new solutions to be deployed and reduces the cost of ownership compared to traditional edge compute architectures.” said Alex Taylor, CEO, Net4.
Sportable is a data analytics company that solves critical shortcomings in data collection and analysis in contact sports such as Rugby and American Football. The data drives new insights that elevate team strategy and improve the broadcasting experience, as well as help officials make calls that are more accurate. The result is that teams get better and fans are more engaged. Sportable’s technology enables sports broadcast leaders such as Sky Sports, SuperSport and ITVSportto instantly provides audiences with an enhanced understanding of what is happening on the pitch, without missing insights or losing time. Sportable uses AWS Wavelength to relay sensor data in real time to the cloud to enable exciting insights to be visualised through onscreen graphics and keep commentators up to date with what is happening on the pitch. “We’re helping our customers remove on-premises data storage and compute equipment and ad hoc networks so that they can further reduce costs and deployment time. We are also helping customers use machine learning to provide deeper insights and to speed up data collection times. Both of these initiatives require substantial speed, bandwidth, and quality of service, and we are turning to AWS Wavelength and 5G to remove costly equipment and increase our data delivery speeds,” said, Dugald Macdonald, CEO and co-founder, Sportable.
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