AWS and Verizon bring private 5G and edge computing to life with Corning


If you’ve been following the big trends in the tech industry, you’ve undoubtedly heard a lot about both private 5G networks and edge computing. As exciting as these technologies may be, the truth is that most of the discussion about them has been more theoretical than practical. Despite all the chatter, there simply aren’t that many real-world implementations of either of them, and even fewer that use the two together. That’s why this announcement is a big deal.

Verizon and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have a real-world customer, in the form of Corning’s fiber optic cable factory, for their Private 5G Mobile Edge Compute (MEC) service with AWS Outposts. The combination of the two technologies brings the security, reliability, and speed of a private 5G network together with the increased performance and reduced latency that edge computing applications enable.

Corning is using the technology to power autonomous robots that can monitor real-time production, the movement of materials, and other processes that are designed to improve the consistency, quality, and efficiency of their demanding manufacturing methods. The company is working with Gestalt Robotics GmbH to run cloud-native “sensing as a service” applications on AWS Outpost hardware, leveraging all the standard Amazon Cloud APIs, tools and services.

It’s also leveraging the extremely low latency response times of the private 5G network that Verizon Business has installed. The speed of the interactions between the systems can translate into practical benefits such as lowering the compute, and therefore battery, capacity needed on the autonomous mobile robots, which allows them to be smaller and less expensive. In addition, the distributed computing architecture leveraged for the application can reduce the response times, resulting in more reliable and predictable operation.

It’s an interesting combination, which points to the future of a highly distributed computing world…

For Verizon and AWS, the deal builds on a relationship that they began last year with Amazon’s Wavelength offering, which brings the equivalent of “mini” AWS data centers out to a wider variety of different geographical locations through the use of Verizon’s wireless network.

It’s an interesting combination, which points to the future of a highly distributed computing world that leverages both the reach of broadband wireless networks like 5G along with the computing power and scale of major cloud providers like AWS. The difference here, of course, is that Wavelength is a public cloud offering, whereas AWS Outposts are designed for private and hybrid cloud implementations.