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GSMA takes standardisation to the edge

The GSMA has announced a new working group to develop an Edge Compute architectural framework and reference platform.

With China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, EE, KDDI, Orange, Singtel, SK Telecom, Telefonica and TIM joining forces, the aim will be to develop an interoperable platform to make edge compute capabilities widely and easily available. The edge has long been championed as a means to drive additional revenues and differentiation, though if the telco industry is not sharp enough it will lose the initiative to the internet giants.

“Operators are very well placed to provide capabilities such as low latency through their network assets,” said Alex Sinclair, CTO at GSMA. “It is essential for enterprises to be able to reach all of their customers from the edge of any network. Based on the GSMA Operator Platform Specification, Telco Edge Cloud will provide enterprise developers and aggregators with a consistent way to reach connected customers.”

One of the issues which has been facing progress in this emerging segment is interoperability. Fragmentation is the enemy of the telco world and the GSMA is hoping these specifications will address these challenges.

“Edge Cloud is a promising opportunity to enable the development of services that need low latency connection and to meet various service demands from enterprise customers,” said Yoshiaki Uchida, Executive Director, Technology Sector at KDDI. “The innovation of telecommunication services will be accelerated by the enhancement of service quality and the customer experience in real-time applications such as cloud XR and cloud gaming.”

Edge cloud and computing is an opportunity to deliver new services based on the low-latency advantage which the 5G era can offer. While this is a clear opportunity to add additional value and work with more enterprise customers for mission critical services, the profits are being threatened by the internet giants.

The likes of AWS, Microsoft and Google have been beefing up their cloud services team with new hires and the creation of new services to make good on this promise also. This is a promising new segment for the connectivity world, a chance to offer genuinely new services, though the telcos will have to duke it out with the internet giants.

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