Last weekend Verizon debuted a new ad campaign dubbed “Humanability.” Not surprisingly, the ad campaign focuses on how Verizon’s technology eases traffic in cities, keeps food fresh in transit, and aids advances in healthcare.
Interestingly, it’s Verizon’s Intelligent Edge Platform that is behind those consumer-friendly applications. And it is built using fundamental virtualization concepts like software-defined networking (SDN) and edge computing.
Speaking at a Barclays investor conference, Ed Chan, SVP of technology, strategy, and planning at Verizon, said the company’s intelligent edge network is basically changing how the service provider is running the network by making software the control point for the network, which means it’s easier to automate services and share different network assets. “We created this multi-services edge platform that is actually software control,” Chan said, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. He noted that this significantly alters the network by making it function more like a cloud at the core and at the network edge.
What that does is make it possible to have compute and storage capabilities at the network edge, or what Chan calls “edge cloud capabilities.” That, in turn, reduces latency by making capabilities like augmented reality and virtual reality possible.
Currently, the cloud, compute, and storage are further away from the network edge, which means the network uses bandwidth to send data back and forth, and that also adds more latency.
But what really attracted the attention of the investors at the Barclays conference was the fact that Verizon believes its intelligent edge network will significantly lower the cost of running a network.
Chan said the convergence of the core network coupled with the focus on the edge of the network will likely give Verizon a significant cost advantage. For example, Chan said when you converge the core network, combine it with dedicated edge networking devices, and add automation the end result is a very different network.
Chan also provided some more details on the company’s plans to commercially deploy 5G in three to five cities next year. He said the company worked closely with municipalities and looked for ones that were more progressive in their ideas about new technology and what it would bring to the city.
The service provider said late last month that Sacramento, California, would be the first city to receive the service but declined to name any others.
Verizon has been testing 5G in 11 markets since early this year. Those markets include Ann Arbor, Michigan; Bernardsville, New Jersey; Brockton, Massachusetts; Atlanta; Dallas; Denver; Houston; Miami; Sacramento; Seattle; and Washington, D.C.