Multi-access edge computing (MEC) is expected to be highly sought after 5G network becomes fully available in most countries. Considered the next step for boosting capabilities in areas such as the metaverse, multi-access edge computing works by processing data and storing it at the network’s edge, significantly reducing latency.
While 5G networks are expected to perfect MEC, several tech companies are already offering MEC platforms for enterprises. The MEC market is expected to reach revenues of US$ 7.23 billion by 2024.
Despite 5G being an enabler for MEC, telcos have already been implementing MEC in 4G networks. The agnostic nature of the MEC reference architecture also allows MEC deployments in the 4G network to be repurposed to run 5G applications and services alike, serving as a testbed for 5G edge deployment while allowing network operators to keep the investments made in 4G deployment.
In Singapore, Singtel will launch the first Microsoft Azure Edge Zones integrated with Singtel’s 5G network, delivering multi-access edge computing for enterprises in Asia. The solution combines the speed, hyperconnectivity, and high bandwidth of Singtel’s 5G network with Microsoft Azure services, enabling developers to deploy and manage mission-critical applications that require high throughput and low latency.
It will boost business capabilities in areas such as metaverse-based real-time simulations, and live video analytics in a multi-tenant environment. Customers will be able to use their existing Azure subscriptions.
According to Bill Chang, Chief Executive Officer, Group Enterprise at Singtel, the collaboration is a key milestone for edge computing in Asia.
“We’re always looking for ways to support enterprises in leveraging the potential of 5G for digital transformation to drive innovation for the benefit of consumers, business users, and entire industries. This solution enables enterprises to streamline the integration of 5G and MEC into business operations, facilitate the development of new solutions, and scale and transform their business,” added Chang.
In addition to running low-latency applications at the edge using Singtel’s 5G network, the solution has the potential to transform operations in sectors such as public safety, urban planning, healthcare, banking, civil service, transportation, and logistics. It also offers public sector customers high security and better performance for end-users, enabling new intelligent edge scenarios.
Customers can leverage these capabilities, only paying for the amount of compute and storage they use for the duration which they use it, replicating the cloud consumption model at the network edge, and saving on additional operational overhead.
Dr. Yousef Khalidi, Corporate Vice President Azure for Operators, Microsoft said, “With Azure for Operators, Singtel empowers its customers to unlock business value at the network edge. The integration of Azure compute services with Singtel’s 5G network will enable enterprises and developers to provide low-latency applications across industries such as public sector and healthcare.”
Available in the second half of 2022 for Azure customers through the Azure portal, the solution will rapidly develop, test and deploy 5G applications, This includes autonomous guided vehicles, drones, robotics, and virtual, augmented, or mixed reality, at the edge of Singtel’s 5G network.
Government agencies and enterprises of all sizes that have built their business applications and operations on Microsoft Azure’s plug-and-play cloud computing service can conveniently leverage the benefits of 5G and MEC as well.
With Singtel’s 5G ecosystem proving to be successful, enterprises should have access to a greater range of capabilities and solutions to hone their operations, especially with more edge computing providers joining the ecosystem as well.