AWS follows up India edge push with Verizon 5G plug

Following up the beginning of a new partnership between AWS and Bharti Airtel in India, the cloud giant and Verizon have announced 5G mobile edge compute is live in Boston, USA.

With the network edge becoming more important to the digital economy, the cloud computing giants are jostling for an advantage. New hiring programmes have been launched, acquisitions made, and partnerships signed. These two announcements add more momentum for the AWS crusade to find profits on the network edge.

Starting in India, AWS has partnered with Bharti Airtel to deliver cloud and edge computing solutions to the telecoms operators enterprise customers. India has been rapidly progressing through its own digital transformation programme, and the nation with the world’s second largest internet usage is certainly an area of interest for the cloud computing companies.

5G edge services going live in the US links back to an older partnership, however.

The tie-up between AWS and Verizon was announced in December at the annual re:Invent conference. The aim is to deliver new low-latency services for 5G devices, with trials including companies such NFL and Bethesda, developer of the Fallout and Elder Scrolls online games.

“Bringing together the full capabilities of Verizon’s 5G Ultra-Wideband and AWS, the world’s leading cloud with the broadest and deepest services portfolio, we unlock the full potential of our 5G services for customers to create applications and solutions with the fastest speeds, improved security, and ultra-low latency,” said Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg at the launch.

After eight months, it seems the duo have made attractive progress. Verizon has promised its 5G network can deliver speeds 10X faster than 4G, while it can support more than a million devices per kilometre, all with lower latency. Whether these promises live up to reality remains to be seen, but there are already some happy customers as a result of the trials.

“Identifying cancerous polyps is difficult,” said Raj Nair, CEO of Avesha, a company using AI to help speed up the diagnosis of cancer.

“Machine learning inference is an invaluable tool to help physicians make that diagnosis, but it requires near-real time analysis, comparing a live video feed to a dataset of several hundred thousand polyps. AWS Wavelength on Verizon’s 5G Edge provides that intelligence to doctors during the exam improving the patient experience and potential outcomes, and fundamentally changing the diagnostic process.”

Boston is one of the first cities to see the launch of 5G edge services with Verizon, but the telecoms operator has promised expansion through the US over the remainder of 2020.

While there is no silver bullet for 5G ROI, the telecoms operators are increasingly looking to partnerships to expand expertise and develop new products. Yes, there is a risk the telecoms operators will be relegated to connectivity partner, a more commoditised segment of the relationship, but it enables the companies to work with customers in new ways. This is the promise of 5G, a new way engaging digital, new revenues and diversified business models, and Verizon is making impressive progress here.

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