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16 January 2020

NTT Docomo signs up with MobiledgeX for proof of concept

NTT Docomo of Japan has joined SK Telecom and Canada’s Telus in supporting Mobiledgex, the edge platform that has been created by Deutsche Telekom spin-off, MobiledgeX.

MobiledgeX aims to enhance the position of public cloud providers, and specifically telcos, in the edge computing value chain by providing a container-based software platform that enables many new applications and services. Operators can offer these services directly to consumers (such as augmented reality gaming), or can enable applications for enterprises and industrial users.

Docomo is working with MobiledgeX on a proof of concept which will be run in Tokyo this month. It will center on an augmented reality (AR) application, running on the Edge Realities platform from Polish software house 1000 Realities. The application will be distributed to Docomo’s Open Innovation Cloud edge platform, and connected to the operator’s 5G and LTE networks. It will use special recognition technology to superimpose AR content on objects and large spaces without the use of place markers.

The intensive computation required will be offloaded to the edge platform and Docomo’s low latency 5G network, which means, according to the two companies, that a full AR experience will be delivered to hardware without native AR capabilities.

Driving all this will be MobiledgeX’s Edge-Cloud R1.0 platform, a cloud-native edge platform-as-a-service (PaaS), which determines where customers need edge services and securely delivers them on-demand.

The PoC will open to the public during the Docomo Open House in Tokyo on January 23-24. MobiledgeX says it now has 13 MNO members and it is now a year since it rolled out its first public edge network with DT in Germany.

In October, the start-up announced a partnership with Dell, VMware and WWT, which highlights how a web of alliances will be needed to address the complex requirements and multiple stakeholders involved in most enterprise edge use cases. The aim of initiatives like MobiledgeX is to reduce the need for expensive integration to tie all the parts together, and instead to have open platforms that allow developers to deploy capabilities easily via application programming interfaces (APIs) or, increasingly, container-based microservices, which can be mixed and matched like Lego pieces.

But integrators will always be important to understand specific verticals and their needs, hence the important role in the edge ecosystem of WWT, an $11bn integrator which provides digital and supply chain solutions to large enterprises, and is the sole distributor for MobiledgeX’s platform-as-a-service and other offerings.

In October, it expanded this alliance to focus on simplifying the process of commercializing large-scale 5G edge services, reducing cost and time to market.

In MobiledgeX’s view, these 5G services will be delivered by applications running on MEC platforms, on a combination of nodes in customer premises and within the operator network. This highlights the shift that many players, even those with telecoms roots, are making away from an architecture that is heavily tied to operator sites, and takes a more heterogeneous approach – one where the operator will have far greater challenges to take pole position in the value chain.

To reduce time, cost and risk for deployers, MobiledgeX aims to provide a set of blueprints for integrated infrastructure solutions for industries, which will be validated in WWT’s Advanced Technology Center, a multivendor testing environment.

The first infrastructure blueprint has been produced, in collaboration with Dell EMC and VMware. Available at www.wwt.com, it runs on Dell 14G servers with Intel Cascade Lake 2 processors, Optane persistent memory and VMware Integrated Openstack. Additional blueprints will be available as they are validated in the ATC.

“Service providers across the globe are under intense pressure to deploy 5G infrastructure while ensuring they can monetize their 5G investment,” said Joe Wojtal, WWT’s CTO for global service providers. “WWT’s partnership with MobiledgeX will allow service providers to commercialize scalable MEC deployments via validated blueprints available from WWT’s global integration centers.”