Vodafone Group has bolstered its edge computing credentials with the launch of a new innovation programme offering customers the ability to develop novel services on the technology and its 5G network.
The Edge Innovation Programme 2.0 follows the first iteration of the initiative, introduced in 2021, and will focus on dedicated and distributed Multi-access Edge Compute (MEC) technology, along with mixed reality and visual inspection capabilities.
In a statement, Vodafone explained it wanted “to inspire the creation of innovative and futuristic services, products and applications”, and working in tandem with 5G, MEC could “make the seemingly impossible a reality by almost eradicating the response time of apps, smart devices and cloud services”.
The 2.0 programme is open to companies of all sizes, from any industry and for any use case, while participants are able to apply for “try before you buy” MEC services. In the original innovation programme, Vodafone partnered with more than 20 companies, including InterDigital and biometric company Keyless.
Vodafone UK claimed to become the first company to offer distributed MEC services to UK businesses in July 2021. Vodafone Business has also pushed MEC services in Germany, outlining plans for innovation hubs focused on the technology.
The operator claims MEC services means data collected by devices or apps do not have to traverse the internet to be processed in a centralised cloud, and can instead be processed closer to the customer meaning a reduction in lag and latency as well as enabling near real-time decisions.
Aside from latency benefits, Vodafone added MEC has the ability to bring self-driving vehicles, VR, AR, MR and live streaming to life.