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Verizon, AWS launch mobile edge computing platform

The AWS, Verizon mobile edge computing offering is a managed service that combines private 5G connectivity with AWS Outposts.

Verizon and Amazon Web Services have launched a mobile edge computing platform that includes a private 5G network and AWS Outposts. The companies tout the combo as a platform for applications in factories, warehouses and corporate business campuses.

The managed service offering, launched Monday, uses Verizon's network for Outposts connectivity. Outposts is an on-premises IT system that includes computing, storage and memory options.

The platform replicates the infrastructure, services, APIs and tools on AWS. It is available in a 1U or 2U form factor for space-constrained locations.

AWS and Verizon partnered in 2019 to deliver 5G connectivity to business applications running on AWS. Gartner analyst Ed Anderson said the latest announcement is an extension of that partnership.

"You end up with a very powerful AWS-supported environment and a Verizon 5G environment all combined together," he said.

Corning has started evaluating the Verizon-AWS service for controlling autonomous mobile robots (AMR) in the company's Hickory, N.C., fiber optic cable manufacturing facilities. Gestalt Robotics, which develops software for industrial automation, is also involved in the Corning project.

An AMR is any robot that moves through a warehouse or manufacturing facility without an operator on the machine. Sensors on the AMR navigate it through an environment to perform specific tasks.

The companies said in a joint statement that Corning uses Gestalt technology to process data received from AMR sensors, and then send commands to the robots via the Verizon network. Michael A. Bell, general manager of Corning's optical communications business, said the company expects a significant increase in the efficiency of its manufacturing operations.

Corning is one of many manufacturers testing 5G to improve robotic performance on the factory floor. Heavy equipment manufacturer John Deere has started deploying private 5G networks in its Iowa and Illinois facilities.

Experts said the low latency and high bandwidth of a 5G network make it a more reliable option than Wi-Fi or an older 4G LTE network in manufacturing operations.

Competitors to AWS and Verizon include Microsoft and AT&T. The latter offers its 5G network to deliver business services running on the Microsoft Azure public cloud.

A Nemertes Research survey found that 62% of companies using or planning to use a protocol specifically for an IoT network were either committed to or considering 5G.

Polaris Market Research predicted the global market for private 5G will grow from $924 million last year to more than $8 billion by 2027.

Antone Gonsalves is the news director for the Networking Media Group. He has deep and wide experience in tech journalism. Since the mid-1990s, he has worked for UBM's InformationWeek, TechWeb and Computer Reseller News. He has also written for Ziff Davis' PC Week, IDG's CSOonline and IBTMedia's CruxialCIO, and rounded all of that out by covering startups for Bloomberg News. He started his journalism career at United Press International, working as a reporter and editor in California, Texas, Kansas and Florida. He can be found on Twitter at @AntoneG.

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