Vodafone opens UK's first Edge Innovation Lab

Vodafone opens UK’s first Edge Innovation Lab

Vodafone has opened a new Edge Innovation Lab at MediaCity, Salford – the first of its kind in the UK. The lab will support the development of Manchester and the surrounding region into a digital powerhouse of the North.

The Edge Innovation Lab at HOST, the home of skills and technology, will provide the opportunity for businesses, academics, software developers and public sector organizations to see and test the possibilities of the next generation of network – Multi-access Edge Compute (MEC).

Software developers and innovators in the Greater Manchester area will have access to these technologies from the earliest stages of development. This head start will create a global center of excellence for real-time mobile applications in the region, supporting the growth of digitally-led businesses and industries in the region, as well as across the rest of the UK.

Living at the Edge: What is Multi-Access Edge Computing? Vodafone has announced the launch of multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) services for UK business customers from spring 2021.

Learn more MEC technology enables real-time data processing at the network edge, enabling the creation of low-latency services that would not be possible on today’s traditional network infrastructure. This offers innovators in the Greater Manchester area the opportunity to be at the forefront of next-generation digital services.

By setting up dedicated servers with Vodafone or at customer facilities, apps are able to respond to orders much faster. Application response time, known as latency, is a barrier to next-gen innovations that require near-instantaneous reactions or are powered by artificial intelligence. When combined with 5G, latency could be reduced to speeds faster than the human brain processes information.

MEC-enabled use cases include autonomous vehicles, autonomous factory operations, immersive augmented and virtual reality, remote medicine, cloud gaming, and drone transportation.

Vodafone has deployed dedicated MEC servers at the Edge Innovation Hub and launched a distributed MEC zone in the Manchester area in partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS). Vodafone will also introduce mixed reality and visual inspection services to the lab.

Vodafone has partnered with Kyndryl to offer its customers professional and managed services for dedicated MEC as well as broader cloud managed services.

This builds on Vodafone’s four-year partnership with HOST at MediaCity, where the lab will be located. HOST combines startup skills, innovation and growth services under one roof, with an inclusive community that helps businesses learn, grow and succeed. It focuses on key sectors, including data science, AI, cyber and immersive technologies, so individuals and businesses can explore the pioneering opportunities available in these areas. HOST is also home to the UK’s Unity Center of Excellence and Skills City’s Digital Skills Bootcamps.

Alongside the launch of the lab, Vodafone is also running the Edge 2.0 innovation program.

Using both dedicated and distributed MEC technologies, the Edge Innovation Program 2.0 will inspire the creation of innovative and futuristic services, products and applications. Trial participants will be able to “try before you buy” MEC services and will also receive a voucher for additional discounts on additional services after trials and proofs of concept, as well as work alongside network experts and Vodafone technology to bring ideas. live.

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Vodafone has already worked with over 20 companies to test new MEC services, including:

Aurrigo: Cambridge-based SME Aurrigo has used MEC and Vodafone’s 4G/5G network to improve the safety and performance of its driverless vehicles, as well as to enhance security as data is not exposed to the public Internet.

Sportsman: The company’s in-car, wearable IOT technology captures every movement on the pitch, providing real-time information to fans, coaches, officials and broadcasters.

InterDigital: MEC can better support applications such as zero-defect manufacturing, to unlock huge benefits for Industry 4.0 and smart factories.

Keyless: Keyless is a privacy-focused biometric authentication solution that speeds up authentication processes for digital payments. MEC is making real-time multi-factor authentication a reality for all end users, so businesses and consumers can adopt seamless biometric technology.

Nick Gliddon, UK Commercial Director, Vodafone
MEC enables the creation of digital services and platforms that would otherwise be impossible to provide. The lab offers innovators the opportunity to experiment with next-generation technologies and bring to life ideas that could revolutionize the way we do business and deliver public services. It will put Manchester and the surrounding region at the center of the next stage of the digital revolution.

Tosca Colangeli, President, Kyndryl UK&I
We are delighted, as part of our strategic partnership with Vodafone, to support the Edge Innovation Lab in Salford and to use the facility as inspiration and co-creation for our joint engagements with our customers. We expect advanced technologies to increasingly become an enabler of business results; enabling end users (and machines) and industries, including manufacturing and energy, to enjoy the benefits of traditional cloud computing while enjoying benefits such as reduced data latency, better data autonomy and enhanced security.

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