“Edge computing” uses augmented reality and machine learning to analyse bulk data where it was gathered – whether factory floor, oil rig or office space – before moving it to remote servers in the cloud. To work, it needs fast data transfers of the kind that 5G will provide.
The launch follows Vodafone’s trials with companies in a range of areas, including sports technology, autonomous transport, biometric security, remote virtual reality, and factory automation.
Vodafone said under optimum conditions, the latency – time required for data to travel between two points – could be as low as 10 milliseconds, compared with an average of 75 milliseconds for 4G.
“Edge Compute and 5G is a combination no other service provider can deliver in Europe, which means we can offer something unique to our customers,” said Anne Sheehan, business director, Vodafone UK.
“We have already seen new services being developed by our trialists – the potential for completely new ideas enabled by this combination is massive.”
The company will initially offer low-latency “edge computing” services to customers in London and the surrounding area, as well as towns and cities including Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol and Cardiff.
Customers in Scotland and the northern regions of England will get the service in 2022. AWS has edge services in Tokyo, Daejeon, South Korea and 10 cities across the United States.