Verizon and AWS add Seattle and Denver to MEC rollout – and showcases another connected car customer

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

Verizon and Amazon Web Services (AWS) are launching their mobile edge computing (MEC) platform in Seattle and Denver, bringing the total number of cities deployed to 10.

The move, which snuck in under the radar at the very end of 2020, means Denver and Seattle join Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Las Vegas, Miami, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.

The announcement cited companies with no specific link to the two newly announced cities as customers. These were connected car technology provider HARMAN, Inception XR, a company in the extended reality applications space, and Skyward, a Verizon subsidiary which offers software and consulting for drone providers.

HARMAN is using Verizon 5G edge, alongside AWS Wavelength, to support 5G edge-based cellular vehicle to everything (C-V2X) computing capabilities. This is something of a major development in connected car technology. C-V2X, as Qualcomm puts it, ‘will serve as the foundation for vehicles to communicate with each other and everything around them – providing 360 degree non-line-of-sight awareness and a higher level of predictability for enhanced road safety and autonomous driving.’

Ram Iyer, senior director of telematics engineering at HARMAN, noted the benefits of faster edge connectivity and the combination of 5G and C-V2X ranged from safety – informing drivers of road works and accidents – to infotainment.

For Inception XR, it is all about content, delivering content rendered on a GPU much more powerfully than a mobile device GPU. “With 5G and MEC, top quality content can now be viewed in a richer, more enhanced way,” said Benny Arbel, CEO of Inception XR. “We can achieve an experience with millions of polygons streamed seamlessly with low latency giving the end user a truly unique experience.”

HARMAN is evidently the more interesting of the three customers showcased, simply because it adds to a growing number of connected car technology providers utilising 5G and MEC. As this publication reported in November, LG, Renovo and Sanari are already working with Verizon and Amazon. LG, for instance, is incorporating ‘authentication as a service’ as part of its V2X technology, with a proprietary system helping prevent malicious messages from being sent over the air to a vehicle.

AWS in particular is looking on askance at the potential opportunities afforded by the combination of 5G and edge. In predictions for sister publication CloudTech, Isabel Huerga Ayza, senior developer advocate UK and Ireland, said: “We can’t talk about 2021 without talking about all the possibilities of 5G, and moving compute and storage to the edge.

“Vodafone Business will open its first distributed multi-access edge computing and 5G commercial centre in London in 2021. This will allow industries like finance, healthcare and gaming to innovate by taking advantage of ultra-low latencies and almost real-time response times to develop new applications we have not even thought of yet.”

Photo by Thom Milkovic on Unsplash

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