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5G service creation and monetization at the edge

Dell Technologies working with Orange Business Services, BT on edge enablement

We’re still in the early stages of 5G deployments but there’s already a strong focus on distributing computing capabilities to the network edge, whether that edge is defined as a telco central office, enterprise LAN or even a device. That’s because the real opportunity for meaningful new revenue creation for telcos comes from the type of real-time services that require the combination of 5G and edge computing–things like vehicle automation, precision robotics, mission critical AI applications and mobile virtual reality. This shift to totally new types of services is the 5G promise–a new era of enterprise enablement and connected consumer experiences. 

“Cloud services will extend onto premises of enterprise and SMB, but the central offices and backhaul aggregation sites, even the cell will become the edge of the telco network,” Kevin Shatzkamer, VP/GM of Service Provider Solutions, Dell Technologies, explained.

He continued: “I think that’s where it needs to be made – there are just some services that are not conducive to massively-scaled centralized data centers. They are too immersive, too real-time, and too data-intensive. If you look at the new services that 5G is going to enable, built on a new mobile architecture, the edge is where the play is. It’s where service providers, our partners, can differentiate themselves and it’s going to create a lot of new opportunities for them.” 

To better understand the telco view on virtualization and edge opportunities, as well the level of co-creation necessary to deliver enterprise 5G services, take a look at how Orange Business Services is working with Dell Technologies and Ekinops to develop a universal CPE platform targeted on medium- and large-sized enterprises. The idea is to use Dell Technologies OEM Embedded and Edge Solutions hardware and Ekinops middleware to simplify site connectivity and virtualized network management. The enterprise user will be able to remotely install virtualized network functions at any site and run functions, including routers, firewalls, SD-WAN and WAN optimization on the single uCPE. 

In terms of what this means for driving transformation and innovation at the edge, flexible, localized computing opens up latency-sensitive use cases like video analytics, AI or high-intensity IoT applications like robotics. “Our global enterprise customers require increased flexibility in terms of connectivity solutions and infrastructure optimization. This uCPE solution…will give enterprises further choice in terms of deployment and reinforces our ecosystem-based approach. We believe that flexible solutions such as these are essential for customers looking to run an increasing number of services at the edge,” said Anne-Marie Thiollet, Vice President, Connectivity Business Unit, Orange Business Services.

Keeping with this idea of what Thiollet called an “ecosystem-based approach,” Dell Technologies has partnered with system integrator World Wide Technology to open a 5G-focused Center of Excellence in St. Louis, Missouri. The facility will “accelerate the deployment of complex, multi-vendor, open source solutions for the service provider industry,” according to WWT. The company said the CoE will initially explore mobile edge computing, the internet of things, telco cloud, data analytics and NFV.

Implementing its enterprise-edge strategy, BT is using the Dell Virtual Edge Platform family of uCPEs–achieving hardware consolidation and service flexibility at distributed consumer locations while cutting back on the need for dedicated servers and appliances. BT will use the technology to offer manage services, including on-prem network functions virtualization and support for IoT and IT applications. Scott Cowling, global network solutions director for BT, said, with Dell’s Virtual Edge Platform, “We are providing not only choice, but also ways to de-risk technology decisions and speed up and remove complexity from their global network service deployments.” 

Shatkamer summarized the need for telcos to fully leverage edge computing in the context of 5G service delivery. “Consumers are only going to pay so much for faster mobile broadband. Where the real opportunity is on the enterprise side. Vertical industries will be transformed by the higher-speed, lower-latency, QoS-enabled capabilities that 5G networks bring. There are all kinds of verticals where [service providers] can create new services, specific applications that service those verticals. That, to me, is where the door is wide open from an opportunity perspective. We see this in connected energy, smart warehouses and logistics, healthcare and retail, as examples.” 

For a detailed examination of how edge figures into a larger telco IT/OT realignment in support of 5G service creation, check out this new report. 

ABOUT AUTHOR

Sean Kinney, Editor in Chief
Sean Kinney, Editor in Chief
Sean focuses on multiple subject areas including 5G, Open RAN, hybrid cloud, edge computing, and Industry 4.0. He also hosts Arden Media's podcast Will 5G Change the World? Prior to his work at RCR, Sean studied journalism and literature at the University of Mississippi then spent six years based in Key West, Florida, working as a reporter for the Miami Herald Media Company. He currently lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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