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5 minute read

04/07/2022

Vodafone’s Edge Innovation Programme: Making the Impossible a Reality

 

Vodafone has launched ‘Edge Innovation Programme 2.0’, where businesses can test new use cases and roll out smart services and products using Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) technology. Powered by our award-winning network for business*, the programme aims to revolutionise the way we live, work and play.

What is MEC and its market share?

Multi-access Edge Computing brings services and processes closer to the user, 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 in the world), but rather they can be processed closer to the customer.

This means a huge reduction in latency and network usage, enabling near real-time response (i.e., 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 20 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.

Multi-access Edge Computing is a new and growing market. Gartner predicts that by 2023 more than 50% of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside of the data centre or cloud, up from 10% in 2019**. This is a strong indication of the mainstream adoption and use of MEC in future technologies and industries. With its MEC Portfolio, Vodafone’s Edge Innovation Programme and its customers are at the forefront of this market and innovation in Europe.

Vodafone was the first company in Europe to offer Distributed MEC services, launching to UK businesses in July 2021, and has now expanded this portfolio to include Dedicated MEC, as well as Mixed Reality and Visual Inspection services in 2022. Vodafone’s Edge Innovation has been recognised by the National Technology Awards 2022 winning the Mobile Innovation of the Year 2022

How is MEC important for business?

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 is designed to make the seemingly impossible a reality by reducing the response time of applications, smart devices and cloud services (known as latency) to as low as <20 milliseconds.

Vodafone launched its first Edge Innovation Programme in 2021, increasing market awareness and understanding of innovative technology by hosting webinars and workshops as well as running a pilot programme that resulted in multiple successful use cases. Companies included Sportable, Aurrigo, and InterDigital.

Pilot participants can apply for subsidised “try before you buy” MEC services and could also benefit from further discounts on additional services following trials and proof-of-concepts, as well as working alongside Vodafone network and technology experts to bring ideas to life.

The 2.0 programme is open to companies of all sizes, from any industry and for any use case. Register here or continue reading about how MEC has helped other businesses.

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 both Distributed and 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 MEC, Dedicated MEC, Mixed Reality, and Visual Inspection services at a discounted rate
  • Further discounts are available to all programme participants for future services following the conclusion of a Proof of Concept
  • 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

This successful first year of the Edge Innovation Programme not only increased market awareness about the game changing nature of MEC, and Vodafone’s important role within this; it also provided valuable insight about the capabilities of Distributed MEC, experience that has now been implemented to improve the service.

Look out for further articles about the use cases Vodafone has enabled in both Edge Innovation Programme 1.0 and 2.0, and what has been learnt, as we work with our customers and partners to shape the future of MEC.

Which companies joined the first Edge Innovation Programme?

After receiving hundreds of applications, Vodafone partnered with 30 companies in the UK and Germany 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 does not travel over the public internet (more information here)

Aurrigo powers autonomous vehicles in Cambridge with Distributed Edge Computing

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)

Sportable deliver game-changing real-time insights for rugby using Distributed Edge Computing

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 biometric technology (more information here)

Aurrigo

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 does not travel over the public internet (more information here)

Aurrigo powers autonomous vehicles in Cambridge with Distributed Edge Computing

Sportable

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)

Sportable deliver game-changing real-time insights for rugby using Distributed Edge Computing

InterDigital

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

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 biometric technology (more information here)

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*Best Network for Business: Vodafone Business won the Best Network for Business at the Mobile Industry Awards 2021, as awarded by TechRadar Pro. Details: https://www.vodafone.co.uk/business/awards

**8 Source: Gartner Top 10 Trends Impacting Infrastructure & Operations for 2020

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