AWS for Industries

AWS and Vodafone Business Bring Edge Computing Closer to Organizations in Europe

During re:Invent 2019, AWS and Vodafone announced a collaboration to roll out distributed multi-access edge computing (MEC), embedding AWS Wavelength at the edge of Vodafone’s 5G networks to bring customers and key applications closer together. Now, AWS and Vodafone are working together to further accelerate 5G application development through a new incubation program, Vodafone Business Edge Innovation Program (EIP). Registration opens today for submissions.

This three-month program gives start-ups, ISVs, businesses and freelance developers exclusive access to edge computing training and expert support from Vodafone and AWS to help them develop, test and deploy a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) 5G application on AWS Wavelength and Vodafone 5G network. Vodafone and AWS will select up to 20 projects from submitted proposals. These projects will receive exclusive access to 5G devices, technical support, and expert help develop a full-fledged pilot deployment in the UK or Germany.

Technical trainings and hands-on labs start in January, and participants will receive AWS Promotional Credits to offset the cost of cloud services they would use to train and develop a Proof-of-Concept application.

In the meantime, Vodafone Business has deployed pilot programs with AWS Wavelength on the Vodafone 5G network edge to help developers build applications that require low-latency connectivity to mobile devices and end users. By embedding AWS compute and storage services at the edge of Vodafone Business’s 4G and 5G network, the two companies are enabling developers to easily build innovative applications on the AWS infrastructure and deploy them at the network node closest to their end users. This helps developers serve use cases such as change monitoring and facility security, smart cars, smart cities, health care, and live, interactive video streaming.

“Working with AWS on edge computing means we are making it simpler for both independent software vendors and our customers to experiment with this emerging technology. We’re doing this by offering an incubation space to create and test applications that we can then industrialize and scale. And we’re already seeing some innovative applications that provide positive business outcomes from Dedrone, Digital Barriers, HERE Technologies, Groopview, and Unleash live, with so much more to come once our MEC innovation program is running,” said Vinod Kumar, CEO Vodafone Business.

The rapid rollout of 5G networks around the world, combined with the benefits of MEC, is facilitating advancements for a variety of use cases. For example, several developers are leveraging AWS Wavelength pilot programs on Vodafone’s 5G network to help build new applications that require ultra-low latency. Among them are:

Dedrone, headquartered in San Francisco, provides airspace security solutions to protect people, property and information against unauthorized and malicious drone activity. Its software integrates different types of sensors and video analytics so organizations can immediately detect when a drone is in and around their assets and act fast.  A major challenge for critical sites is how to deliver new solutions, such as Dedrone’s airspace security platform, to increase security in aging and challenging environments that often have minimal or legacy network infrastructure. With convenient, high-speed network access, these sites can more easily implement Dedrone protection, and help provide drone activity alerts and insights at top speeds.

Dedrone has integrated its airspace security platform into Vodafone Business’s distributed multi-access edge computing powered by AWS Wavelength, allowing rapid drone detection, enabling quick installation and keeping facilities and people safer. Sites of critical importance now can seamlessly upgrade their security programs to protect their lower airspace. Dedrone detects, classifies and locates drones in real time and empowers customers with vital security alerts, so they have the advantage when faced with malicious or unauthorized drone interference. When it comes to responding to drone incursions, advanced sensor connectivity makes an incredible difference.

Digital Barriers, which has several sites across the UK, uses low-bandwidth live video streaming and analytics to give its first responders immediate intelligence and – with the aid of distributed MEC – real-time situational awareness, wherever the location. Its solutions enable time-critical decision-making, and help keep mobile workers safe and secure. When Digital Barriers started out 10 years ago, its key public sector customers needed tech solutions to consistently stream video and perform AI analytics from remote, large and often hostile locations. Today, Digital Barriers works with various emergency services, providing reliable information and updates when every second counts to provide first responders:

  • An accurate picture of the situation in real time;
  • Purpose cameras, which are small and light enough to be body-worn but with a reliable battery life and maximized memory capacity; and,
  • Transmit and analyze all data collected, quickly and within budget.

Vodafone Distributed Edge powered by AWS Wavelength brings a broad portfolio of powerful cloud services that enable Digital Barriers to connect first responders with immediate intelligence in the vicinity of incidents or emergencies, empowering the responders to make better critical decisions. For example, hospital staff can prepare better for a patient’s arrival if vital information about their condition is made available, and clinicians and trauma teams can make informed decisions by obtaining a full picture of the situation as events unfold. This information can also be shared at local, regional and national levels across multiple agencies for real-time situational awareness, as well as a coordinated and timely response to incidents. Having a view of officers on the ground and their location allows command and control to allocate the most appropriate person based on location and the skills required.

Groopview, with headquarters in Philadelphia, Penn., was born approximately three years ago, when one of the founders was inspired by his nieces watching TV and chatting online to friends at the same time. From that original ‘a-ha moment’, the company created a collaborative social viewing platform that brings people together, even when they are physically apart. Football fans may not be able to watch their team on the same screen, but they can cheer together when their team scores through Groopview’s synchronization technology. Users can chat, watch and react to TV in real-time, almost as though they’re sitting side-by-side on the sofa. Using a fusion of social media and TV viewing, the Groopview app synchronizes all of the users viewing experience and enables users to video chat, watch, text, send emoji’s and react to TV in real-time, almost as though they’re sitting side-by-side. The app continues to grow in popularity as more people have gone online to stay in touch. Groopview’s platform also enables companies to get more eyes on their content and increase engagement by providing an exceptional user experience.

Video content is sensitive to latency and needs high bandwidth to work. Any buffering and delays to the streamed video content and community chat interactions erodes the customer experience.

To help customers connect with friends to enjoy shared viewing experiences wherever and whenever they want, Groopview turned to Vodafone and AWS. With Vodafone Business’s Distributed Edge Computing powered by AWS Wavelength, Groopview has real-time access to the combined technologies it needs to enrich and socialize viewing.

HERE Technologies, headquartered in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, is a leading location data and technology platform that equips businesses with an extra dimension of location data; that of real-time obstacles and hazards, in order to assist drivers and even enable large-scale automated fleets. HERE Technologies’ solutions help vehicles to detect obstacles ahead, and to send targeted messages to other road users to warn them. For example, if a pedestrian walks out into the road, not only would the driver receive an alert, but the cars behind would receive warning of the car ahead braking. This kind of real-time hazard predictability helps maximize the efficiency of each journey by helping avoid road incidents that might cause disruption and downtime. The ultra-low latency provided by distributed edge computing helps reduce lag between detecting information and delivering insights.

To accomplish this, the Vodafone Business Distributed Edge with AWS and the HERE location platform will detect information with devices and sensors, process this information on the edge, and distribute necessary instructions to nearby road users through intelligently coordinated messages. To provide warnings in real time so that drivers can take immediate action, the HERE location platform employs a low-latency, high-bandwidth, low energy consumption environment and will be powered by AWS Wavelength on the Vodafone Business Distributed Edge.  Because the information will be kept on the edge, it’s always hyperlocal which means it’s always hyper fast, enabling HERE to lead the way to a more autonomous and safer world.

Unleash Live is an AI powered video analytics platform offering a cloud-based solution that repurposes existing camera installations and connects them to real-time AI analytics solutions at the edge. Available as an on-demand, subscription-based service, the software platform puts live video feeds into structured data sets by applying a range of different algorithms. Unleash live works across many different applications, from wind turbine inspections, to conveyor belt analysis, to infrastructure and cities.

With more people working from home and on-going travel restrictions, Unleash live looked at ways to apply their solution to transform the commuter and passenger travel. Some of the challenges to overcome were:

  • Planning for different commuter volumes and varying commuting patterns, especially when they may be subject to changing government guidelines and restrictions.
  • Reducing risk of infection to passengers.
  • Maintaining and improving customer service during an ongoing health crisis.
  • Detecting accidents and incidents, and alerting the appropriate services to improve railway safety for passengers, as well as detecting unidentified or abandoned baggage.
  • Monitoring crowd patterns.

With Vodafone Business’s Distributed Edge Computing powered by AWS Wavelength, Unleash live can provide real-time insights to transport network personnel, analyzing data at the network edge to provide instant guidance. Ultimately, this means transport networks can offer safer, more reliable journeys that passengers feel comfortable making, as well as benefiting from efficient, accurate resource planning, and supply and demand planning.

We invite you to join a growing list of innovators on the 5G Edge Computing journey to improve how we live, work, and play. To learn more, see AWS Wavelength and the Vodafone Business Edge Innovation Programme.