Vodafone has launched the Edge Innovation Programme 2.0 to offer more business customers and partners the opportunity to co-create novel services based on Multi-access Edge Compute (MEC) technology.
MEC has the power to transform the manufacturing sector by powering real time decision making and analytics for autonomous factories, intelligent machine-to-machine communications, computer vision and other futuristic applications – the extent of which we likely cannot even comprehend yet.
Using both dedicated and distributed MEC technologies, as well as Mixed Reality and Visual Inspection capabilities, the Edge Innovation Programme 2.0 will inspire the creation of innovative and futuristic services, products and applications. Alongside Vodafone’s 5G network, MEC technology can make the seemingly impossible a reality by almost eradicating the response time of apps, smart devices and cloud services.
Vodafone launched its first Edge Innovation Programme in 2021, co-creating new services with companies including Sportable, Aurrigo and InterDigital.
The 2.0 programme is open to companies of all sizes, from any industry and for any use case. Participants of the trial can apply to “try before you buy” MEC services and will also benefit from further discounts on additional services following trials, as well as working alongside Vodafone network and technology experts to bring ideas to life.
What is MEC and why is it important?
Vodafone was the first company to offer distributed MEC services to UK businesses in July 2021 and has now expanded this portfolio to also included dedicated MEC, as well as launching Mixed Reality and Visual Inspection services in 2022.
Multi-access edge computing moves services and processes closer to the devices that need them, or “closer to the edge”. Data collected by devices or apps do not have to traverse the internet to be processed in a centralised cloud (which could be in a data centre anywhere around the world), but rather can be processed closer to the customer. This means a huge reduction in lag, or latency, and enables near real time decision making and analytics.
When using 4G and hosting applications in traditional data centres, users could expect to see latency of around 200 milliseconds. However, a combination of 5G and MEC could see latency reduced to less than 10 milliseconds, which is faster than the human brain processes information.
What is critically important about MEC services is the ability to bring to life ideas that would otherwise have been impossible, such as self-driving vehicles, virtual, augmented and mixed reality, as well as buffer-free gaming and live streaming.
Edge Innovation Programme 2.0 – how is it different?
- While the first programme only focused on distributed MEC, this iteration offers the opportunity to trial ideas on distributed & dedicated MEC technology, as well as gain access to Vodafone Mixed Reality and Visual Inspection software capabilities
- Participants can apply to “try before you buy” distributed and dedicated MEC services at a discounted rate, as well as access to Mixed Reality and Visual Inspection expertise
- Further discounts available to all programme participants for future services following conclusion of trial
- Exclusive access to learning videos on Distributed and dedicated MEC, Mixed reality and Visual inspection
- Access to in-house experts and technical support, as well as industry specialists, to build the best MEC Solution
Which companies joined the first Edge Innovation Programme?
After receiving 100s of application, Vodafone partnered with more than 20 companies with viable ideas. These companies included:
- Aurrigo: Cambridge-based SME Aurrigo used MEC and Vodafone’s 4G/5G network to improve the safety and performance of its driverless vehicles, as well as enhancing security as data is not exposed to the public internet (more information here).
- Sportable: The company’s ball embedded and wearable IOT technology captures every movement on the pitch, delivering real-time insights to fans, coaches, officials and broadcasters (more information here).
- InterDigital: MEC can better support applications like ‘zero-defect’ manufacturing, to unlock huge benefits for the Industry 4.0 and smart factories (more information here)
- Keyless: Keyless is a privacy-first biometric authentication solution that makes the authentication processes for digital payments faster. MEC makes real-time multi-factor authentication a reality for all end-users, meaning business and consumers can embrace seamless
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