Vodafone and Amazon Web Services are partnering to bring so-called “edge computing” to business customers in the U.K. Edge computing quickly analyzes bulk data — collected from, say, the factory floor, oil pumping rig or office building —before moving it out to servers in the cloud.
Reuters reported that this computing relies on the speedy data transfers enabled by 5G networks. Vodafone has conducted trials with companies in a range of areas, including sports technology, autonomous vehicles and factory automation.
“Edge Compute and 5G is a combination no other service provider can deliver in Europe, which means we can offer something unique to our customers,” said Anne Sheehan, business director, Vodafone U.K. “We have already seen new services being developed by our trialists – the potential for completely new ideas enabled by this combination is massive,” she added.
The company will initially offer “edge” services to customers in London and the surrounding area, as well as towns and cities including Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol and Cardiff.
In an interview with PYMNTS, Vodafone Americas’ Ludovico Fassati said that 5G is what makes it possible to have more things connected at a greater speed, while having better control of what types of data are connected. Fassati, who heads the Internet of Things (IoT) for Vodafone, said that 5G is a complex technological system with many moving parts that provides a foundation for the development of connected technologies.
Vodafone said that under optimum conditions, the time it takes for data to travel between points can be 7.5 times faster with 5G networks than with 4G. This speed really counts if what is being done, for example, is a surgical operation, Fassati said. With the use of IoT in medicine, he said, a patient in a rural area could be operated on by a surgeon in a major city 1,000 miles away, using a smart surgical robot connected virtually to that surgeon’s hands.