AT&T has announced they are teaming up with Microsoft Azure to further bring network edge computing capabilities into its 5G network. In a proof of concept, AT&T is testing NEC solutions pertaining to drones. This process will take place at AT&T’s Foundry in Plano, Texas in collaboration with Vorpal Ltd., to improve drone detection and safety.
Flying drones near airports or around stadiums can be a serious safety hazard. Additionally, Vorpal expects drone usage, particularly commercial drone usage, to increase in the upcoming years. Although Vorpal’s drone detection and geolocation tracking technology can help mitigate the risks of drones in restricted airspace, it can be challenging to scale. Loading Vorpal’s VigilAir application into Microsoft Azure, while using AT&T LTE and 5G connectivity for drone sensors, decreases latency and improves network routing that doesn’t require on-location hardware.
Additionally, this is part of AT&T’s broader edge compute strategy that includes AT&T Multi-Access Edge Compute (MEC).
AT&T is also testing NEC solutions to reduce latency and improve user experience by deploying cloud services in geographic locations that are closer to key business sites. The advantages to this will be important for the low-latency cloud and IoT solutions used by retail, healthcare, public safety, manufacturing, and entertainment sectors.
“We’re creating new ways for our customers to directly access a multitude of cloud options closer to where they do business,” says Mo Katibeh, chief marketing officer, AT&T Business. “Using the blazing speeds of our fiber, LTE and 5G mobile connections, we’re paving the way for how low-latency pathways to cloud services like Microsoft Azure can accelerate business transformation – for both enterprise and small business applications.”
AT&T believes these services will impact businesses in the long-run and be an important integration.
According to Gartner, “Edge computing requirements will change the shape of infrastructure for almost all enterprises, shifting information processing from highly centralized to a mix of centralized and distributed. The number of locations where enterprise information processing will take place will grow rapidly, creating both business opportunities and tremendous challenges and risks.”