With 5G poised to break into the mainstream in 2020, all eyes are turning to multi-access edge computing (MEC). 5G MEC promises to open providers up to a range of new commercial opportunities for edge computing services across cloud gaming, smart factories, autonomous driving and more.
Earlier this year, Bridge Alliance’s Global MEC Task Force met for the first time in Seoul, South Korea to discuss cooperation in 5G MEC. The task force, comprising of members from SK Telecom, Singtel, Globe, Taiwan Mobile, HKT and PCCW Global, aims to establish a global 5G MEC ecosystem within Asia, harnessing various use cases of edge computing to capitalize on monetary opportunities.
But what exactly is 5G MEC and how can it be utilized by telcos? We explore the future of 5G technology below.
What is 5G Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC)?
5G multi-access edge computing is a form of edge computing that brings the capabilities of cloud computing into telcos’ points of presence, as opposed to the traditional cloud which is housed in remote data centers.
MEC enables developers and content providers to access cloud capabilities and IT service at the edge of the network, lowering costs and improving user experience through content delivery or IoT solutions; while powering flexible and rapid deployment of new applications and services.
5G MEC offers wide-ranging use cases across multiple industries:
- Autonomous driving. Rather than interfacing with central cloud servers, MEC allows vehicles to directly access and share crucial information on vehicle and road conditions, as well as potential hazards.
- Connected smart factories. On-site MECs can support remote workers using AR and VR for maintenance and repair tasks, enabling data to be processed off devices rather than on headsets or machinery.
- Cloud gaming. As the demands for online gaming increase, MEC moves the rendering and processing from a dedicated console or data center to the edge of the network, providing gamers with the same quality of game anywhere and on any device.
Beyond these gaming, smart factories and cars, 5G MEC also holds potential real-time drone detection, video analytics, real-time enterprise collaboration, and many other use cases.
SK Telecom: Leading 5G MEC technologies
During Bridge Alliance’s Global MEC Task Force meeting, one of our members, SK Telecom introduced its innovative 5G strategies to the task force. A global telco leader, SK Telecom was one of the first to launch 5G in April 2019 and amassed over 1 million subscribers within 140 days of launch.
Today, SK Telecom has kickstarted its journey to develop its own MEC platform. Through providing both the computing environment and end-solutions, SK Telecom helps users access new services such as smart factories and cities at a reduced time to market; lowers costs for providers and developers by reducing 5G backhaul traffic and core network load; and optimizes the user experience with ultra-low latency, ultra-high proximity and reliability.
Collaboration: Key to innovation in 5G MEC
In addition to harnessing the latest technologies, partnerships are essential to realize the vision of distributed MEC platform services and unlock the potential of edge computing.
Collaboration through partnerships like the Bridge Alliance help operators push for greater standardization across the region, enabling growth of emerging business segments and services while allowing regional customers to plug in to monetization opportunities. In addition, the shared know-how of the major telcos helps drive innovation forward within the ecosystem, offering new values based on cloud infrastructure.
Elements of this post were taken from “SK Telecom: The Road to the World’s First 5G MEC Platform”, a report by STL Partners, which features a case study by Dell and SK Telecom. To read the full report, click here.