The Telecom Infra Project (TIP) launched a new group to produce vendor-neutral APIs and software tools focused on mobile functions running on edge infrastructure. This will tie software developers more closely to edge networks being deployed by telecom operators.
The Edge Application Developer Project includes heavyweight help from Intel, German telecom giant Deutsche Telekom (DT), and the operator’s recently launched edge-focused subsidiary, MobiledgeX. Software already developed by MobiledgeX will be used by the TIP project through an Apache 2.0 open source software license model.
The group’s work focuses on developing device-, operating system-, and language-agnostic platforms for automating and autoscaling out from the application front end to the edge location nearest to the end user. This will work in concert with an application’s already established back end operating in a central cloud environment.
The group cited mobility-centric functions like identity and trusted location, predictive quality of experience (QoE), and dynamic grouping for multi-player or multi-device applications like drones. DT last week struck a deal with game developer Niantic, which created the Pokémon Go augmented reality (AR) game, to use MobiledgeX Edge servers and the carrier’s 5G network.
DT formed MobiledgeX earlier this year to provide a platform for developers to work on low-latency applications. It’s run as an independent company to attract other operators to participate, and it’s located in Menlo Park, California.
The project piles onto what has been a busy few days for TIP tied to this week’s TIP Summit event in London.
The group wrangled a partnership with operators Vodafone, Telefónica, Orange, and TIM Brasil to develop a white box gateway device for mobile cell sites. It said members of its OpenRAN group will begin trials of open RAN platforms in Turkey and Latin America. And its virtual RAN (vRAN) group released a vRAN reference solution that makes it possible for cable networks to deliver 4G LTE services over their existing networks.
TIP’s latest edge project is joining an increasingly crowded field of newly launched organizations and groups targeting the space.
For instance, the Linux Foundation recently opened up the seed code for the Akraino Project to support carrier availability and performance needs in cloud services optimized for edge computing systems and applications. That seed code was initially developed by AT&T.
Then there is the newly-formed Edgility initiative that is helping operators manage the computing resources across their networks. That group was developed by AT&T and Cloudify.
Perhaps one of the bigger initiatives casting a shadow across the space is the ETSI Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) group. That organization last year released its first package of standardized APIs to expose network information for authorized third-party applications.
Alex Reznik, chair of ETSI’s MEC Industry Specifications Group (ISG), recently told SDxCentral that a lack of maturity from any one of these initiatives is the biggest challenge for operators looking to move deeper into the edge space.
“The problem they are more likely to run into is there isn’t a mature, open source solution that plugs all of their holes rather than there being too many of them,” Reznik said. “You have this interesting situation where there is so much noise where people are saying there is too many options and I am going to wait when in reality it’s the opposite.”